Five billion rand is an enormous amount of money, right? That is the current estimate as to just how much the Western Cape drought is going to cost the agricultural sector, and this amount could go up. This is a major knock for farming in South Africa, as well as the country’s economy as a whole. That is why we need innovative and responsible solutions like the following, for the good of the entire country.
Mulching is a natural process that has been adopted by farmers for centuries, and it is still relevant in situations such as the Western Cape drought. Mulch is a layer of natural materials like bark, mowed grass, dung and many other natural leavings found all over farms.
Many farmers turn this ‘waste’ into a handy source of compost. Mulch can helping farming in South Africa through dry spells because it locks in the soil’s moisture by acting as a barrier against evaporation. So while your seedlings are growing, the moisture being given to them is locked down, and at the same time the mulch will decompose and add nutrients to the soil.
This addition of nutrients is also beneficial because it helps to improve the health of the soil, and healthy soil holds moisture much better than soil with poor nutritional value.
As the Western Cape is a coastal part of farming sector in South Africa it is presented with a unique opportunity. Even if the water from the ocean cannot be used directly at present, the proximity to the ocean results in regular fog conditions.
By setting up giant polypropylene nets facing the coast, when the fog blows in across these nets it will begin to condensate. Once the fog has condensed it can run down the netting into large pipes that line the bottom side. From there, these ‘tank’ pipes connect to irrigation pipes which act as hoses to carry the water either straight to thirsty crops or into storage tanks.
This amazing system is actually fairly simple to make, and most of the materials can be picked up from your local farming irrigation suppliers. This method has proven to be highly effective around the Atacama Desert, the driest location on Earth, so it should definitely be able to make a difference for farming in South Africa.
Aside from the mulch, everything you need to be more-water efficient is readily available from farming irrigation suppliers. These suppliers will also have advice on all sorts of handy tricks and methods, and whatever else you need you can get by contacting agricultural services and product providers in the AgriFoodSA Directory.
Check it, and get started on making the difference that only you can make!