The Key Principles of Regenerative Agriculture
The Urgency of Changing Conventional Agriculture
Since the arrival of mechanization and chemical products, our western agricultural model has been depleting the soil at a rapid rate.
Its negative impact on the environment, on productivity and on people is no longer to be proven. Indeed, many pollutions are generated (water, soil, air pollution) and the short or long term impacts (destruction of biodiversity, soil erosion, contamination of drinking water, increase of greenhouse gases, etc.).
We are now experiencing an unprecedented ecological crisis that requires a radical change in our practices and our approach to
practices and our approach to agriculture.
For our ambitious agricultural project, we have chosen regenerative agriculture.
The principle of regeneration
Regenerative agriculture is a revolutionary agro ecological approach. It proposes an alternative to the conventional system by having a strictly positive impact on its environment. It aims above all to restore the health of the soil, i.e. to put life back into the soil. Microorganisms, fungi, bacteria, algae, insects, earthworms, and others, participate in the functioning of an ecosystem favorable to productivity. Once a certain balance is reached, this life replaces the mechanical work of tractors and the use of chemical fertilizers.
This virtuous model is based on the combination of several agroecological practices, in particular agroforestry:
Not plowing the soil (to preserve the soil structure)
Associating several crops on a plot (to benefit from their mutual services)
Covering the soil all year round with plants (to preserve the soil)
Integrate livestock co-products (to use organic fertilizers)
Planting trees and shrubs between plots (to improve agricultural performance, preserve the soil, etc.). This is agroforestry.
The synergy of these practices has the following impacts :
Improving the health of the soil,
To store more carbon,
Increase above and below ground biodiversity,
Improve water retention and infiltration,
Reduce the risk of erosion,
Improve soil resistance to extreme weather events.
Thus we reduce the use of tractors and chemicals, considerably reducing the costs of mechanical and chemical interventions (compared to the conventional system).
The system ensures colossal yields compared to the majority of food crops in the Central African Republic, and thus yields comparable to those of conventional farming.
Regeneration: a simple solution to global challenges
1. Feeding 9 billion people in 2050
According to the FAO, it will be necessary to increase food production by 70% to feed the human race in 2050. This will require the adoption of agro-ecological techniques, proposed by regenerative agriculture. This agriculture is sustainable because it controls and supports limited resources. It is simple to implement in all types of climates. Productive, it meets the growing nutritional needs.
Existing subsistence agriculture in the Central African Republic maintains poverty and does not cover the nutritional needs of the population. On the other hand, conventional intensive agriculture is not sustainable and depends on the chemical industry.
Regenerative agriculture is a powerful lever to ensure food security by preserving natural resources.
2. Act against climate change!
Regenerative agriculture takes care of the soil. Soil has the power to store excess carbon from the atmosphere. Along with the ocean, it is indeed the best carbon sink.
The 4 for 1000 project, initiated for the Cop21, has shown that if all cultivated soils in the world absorbed 0.4% more carbon, two-thirds of annual global CO2 emissions would be compensated (6 Gt C per year).
This increase can only be achieved through the adoption of agroecological practices. Just like forests, cultivated soils become an asset in the fight against climate change.
Regenerative agriculture is a powerful lever to respond to the climate emergency.
3. Rescuing biodiversity
Whether they are in the soil or on the ground, millions of animal and plant species are threatened by human activities on a global scale. We have a duty to protect them and give them a habitat within the cultivated land. Increasing the organic matter in the soil allows to feed the living beings in the soil. Biodiversity is thus incredibly stimulated and ecosystems regain a natural balance.
Regenerative agriculture is a powerful lever to address the biodiversity crisis.
4. Better manage water resources
Agroecological techniques modify the soil structure. It becomes more porous thanks to the multiple roots for a better water infiltration. The additional organic matter and the activity of microorganisms allow for better water retention. This synergy makes the soil more resilient to droughts and floods.
Regenerative agriculture is a powerful lever to address the threat of water scarcity.
5. Stopping soil degradation
Worldwide, 33% of land is degraded due to erosion, acidification or chemical pollution. In Africa, this is more than 45% of land, a great threat to food production (Le et al., 2014).
Soil erosion is the biggest cause of agricultural land loss. The first few inches of soil are the most important to ensure fertility.
Through the agroecological practices we implement, we are actively involved in reducing erosion. Keeping the soil covered all year round, improving the soil structure, limiting ploughing... All these practices are levers to preserve the agricultural potential of African soils in a sustainable way.
Regenerative agriculture is a powerful lever to stop the loss of cultivable land.