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Focusing on soil fertility, form of farming insurance says Advanced Agri

Advanced Agri director, Frank Winder says farmers should prioritise investing in soil fertility as insurance.
Focusing on soil fertility, form of farming insurance says Advanced Agri
© A. Singkham –

Farming insurance is a vital investment for farmers and goes a long way in ensuring that the farming industry continues to prosper, even when farmers encounter financial burdens.

Specifically in South Africa, with the recent droughts, farmers have had to make sure that they are insured to survive the damning weather conditions. The changing regulatory environment puts farmers’ risk and cover requirements beyond the standard crop, livestock and forestry cover that’s traditionally provided for. In 2012, for example, claims received as a result of the Western Cape farm strikes amounted to more than R50m while media reports put the economic cost at over R100m, with many affected farmers uninsured.

Working with machinery, dealing with problems relating to livestock production, maintaining outbuildings and managing staff are some of the daily issues with which farmers must deal. As much as financial losses can be incurred because of bad weather, unforeseen occurences like animals contracting illnesses or staff going on strike can occur at any time and without warning. Insurance helps to protect farmers from some of the negative impacts of these occurences.

Insuring in soil fertilisation

According to Winder, “there are several things that can go wrong when soil is not fertile. By working towards creating the conditions for successful farming, farmers are being as responsible as possible in terms of their farming practices and protecting their livelihoods”.

“Especially during times of uncertainty and economic difficulty, farmers must look to new farming techniques and soil products to increase the usage of land without stripping it of all its nutrients, while ensuring optimum uptake of nutrients into the crops.”

Through the use of effective products, farmers will be contributing to both the economy and food security through the cost-effective production of food, timber, oil, and fibre while limiting the environmental impact.

Soil fertilisation and crop cycles

Along with soil fertilisation, it is necessary to evaluate cropping cycles to ensure the full benefits of this practice are achieved. “Crop rotation is a critical feature of farming that goes hand-in-hand with soil fertilisation and an overall successful farming model,” explains Winder.

He adds that growing an appropriate crop on a particular piece of land potentially refurbishes the soil and negates the negative impact of planting a single crop-type season after season. There may also be benefits such as ‘nitrogen fixing’ that is associated with the planting of legumes.

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