Before studying agriculture, my understanding of food production from childhood was rather simple: 1) plant a seed in the soil, 2) water the soil and 3) something eventually grows. Although I now understand that it is a bit more complicated than that, I had the basics right. Two natural resources that play an important role in food production are soil and water, and this blog will focus on them.

As I get more comfortable with my understanding of agriculture, I have come to notice that South Africa has some rather interesting plot twists. Water is scarce and soils are degraded. The water challenge is easy to understand – no rain, hello water restrictions. The soil challenge, not so much. Though abundant, not all of it is arable. Soil is only as good as its health status. That is, is the soil healthy enough to support plant growth? To further thicken the plot, how will food production continue with dwindling natural resources?

The answer is simple:  our farming systems need to be more sustainable. Sustainable farming practices are implemented with many end goals in mind, one of them being to limit natural resource depletion. On the farms we work on, we encourage farmers to use water as efficiently as possible (Read blog: Fighting the good fight for water) – making more water available for other uses. By implementing holistic management practices for the soil, our farms preserve their soils and strive to keep it in a healthy state (Read blog: Healthy soils equal healthy milk).

With a stable reserve of natural resources achieved through implementation of sustainable practices and your support (read blog:Support your local farmers), food production can be kept at optimal levels.

Anele Madlala

Anele is a sustainability researcher, having joined the team in January 2016. She has an honours B.Sc degree in Soil Science from the University of the Free State. She is passionate about natural resource management, with a particular interest in the soil and water relationship.

As an enthusiast of the arts, in her spare time, Anele enjoys painting and watching theatre productions. She loves visiting South African towns with rich histories, diverse cultures and beautiful landscapes. If she's not outdoors, you'll find her eyes glued to the National Geographic channel.

Keen to get in touch? E-mail Anele on or connect with her on LinkedIn
LinkedIn: Anele Madlala