Degraded soil affects nearly one third of the Earth's land area, impacted in part by poor management practices, population pressures on the land and use of expensive chemical fertilisers and labour-intensive organic nutrients. This results in enormous costs environmentally, and economically to the farmers.
Our goal is to protect and restore degraded soil. Our primary efforts are focused on supporting and educating smallholder farmers in better land management and farming practices. Over the year our business has delivered education and training to 268,000 farmers on best soil practices.
We have implemented programmes to tackle issues such as soil erosion and improving soil moisture, to help farmers protect and rejuvenate their land.
In 2021, our cotton subsidiary SECO introduced a four-part soil health improvement plan, focused on analysis, erosion control, composting, cover crops and green manure. By linking soil health to yield and crop quality, the plan is teaching communities the importance of soil management.
We are investing in by-product conversion for our own farms and plantations, replacing tonnes of chemical fertiliser with organic matter.
Our farmer training programmes include how to reduce evaporation by planting agroforestry trees for shade and intercropping with leguminous trees and food crops.
We train farmers on how to apply inorganic fertilisers and increase access to these and other inputs. This improved knowledge alleviates overuse which can lead to soil damage and unnecessary costs to the farmer.