May 1

Embracing Regenerative Agriculture for a Sustainable Tomorrow


Modern farming practices and systems draw the environment closer to deterioration every day. Together with climate change, they are having a devastating effect on the natural ecological balance, our crops, livestock, insects and water bodies. We have a ever more pressing collective responsibility to protect all these elements of the ecosystem. 

Regenerative agriculture demonstrates possibilities for addressing these crises. It provides a holistic approach to rebalancing our ecosystems by placing a high priority on protecting and enhancing soil health. A healthy soil promotes biodiversity—the range of organisms present and the reduction of carbon emissions—and yields more food and nutrition. Inspiring us to adopt sustainable practices for the sake of our world, let’s explore the substantial impact of regenerative agriculture, from its urgent need to its revolutionary potential.

Adopting a regenerative method

The underlying characteristics of our biodiversity are in danger due to the persistent use of large machinery and synthetic fertilizers. According to Regeneration International, if we continue using current farming methods, in 50 years time the earth will have suffered depleted soil fertility and the nutritional value of our crops will reduce, posing a threat to our food system and public health in general. There has never been a more pressing need to switch from deteriorating to regenerative farming techniques. Some of these techniques, including but not limited to cover cropping, no-till farming, intensive rotational grazing, and water retention methods are all prioritizing systems that support rather than harm our priceless ecosystem.


Cover cropping 

Planting cover crops at periods when cash crops are not grown helps retain soil nutrients. In addition to improving soil fertility, cover crops help prevent leaching and soil erosion. Common cover crops such as grasses like rye and oats produce ground cover and prevent unwanted grasses like broad-leaved weeds from thriving off the soil nutrients. Also, instead of leaving the field bare, growing legumes like vetch and clover will fix nitrogen in the soil. Cover cropping is also a water retention technique and therefore growing plants like alfalfa is a great approach to retaining moisture in the soil. In situations where the soil is depleted of nutrients, growing wheat for example will improve potassium in the soil whereas vetch, nitrogen.


No-till farming 

This method avoids disturbing the soil with tillage or ploughing. It contributes to the preservation of soil mechanisms and erosion prevention by reducing the number of activities done on the soil. By encouraging the growth of microorganisms in the soil and letting organic matter build up, this technique improves soil health. How can farming be undertaken without the soil being disturbed? The process of mulching covers the soil's surface with natural materials such as wood chips, straw, or leaves. Mulching aids in controlling soil temperature, weed suppression, and moisture retention. it also reduces weeding and watering time and generally protects the soil surrounding the plants. In regions where there is too much sunlight, mulching protects plants from too much exposure. The 2021-2025 HortiNigeria program funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands adopted the methods of mulching for Nigerian farmers which is inexpensive, uses minimal labour, and is also favorable to harsh weather conditions. Some testimonies from farmers who adopted the method were recorded to have helped with their crop production. The program is estimated to reach an annual incremental production value of 9.7 million Euros by 2025. Crop rotation is another farming method that involves no-tillage. It is the practice of planting several crops on the same plot of land in a predetermined order. Crop rotation contributes to maintaining soil fertility, enhancing soil structure, and disrupting pest and disease cycles. Crop rotation can also aid in the gradual balancing of soil nutrient levels since different crops have different nutrient requirements.


Intensive Rotational Grazing 

Livestock has been utilized by farmers for generations to clean up agricultural fields, graze uncultivated sections, explore forests, and use their wastes as manure. Commonly, grazing by sheep, chickens, cattle, and horses improves the soil system by keeping weeds, brushes, and debris under control while their manure leaves the soil and plants with nutrients like potassium. Integrating animals into the farming system reduces the exposure of synthetic fertilizers to the earth, the cost of using heavy machinery, and generally reduces the cost involved in animal farming and labour. 



This is the intentional inclusion of trees and shrubs into agricultural systems. This can be a mixture of foliage and trees to supply food or wood, feed livestock, collect carbon, or all of it. Agroforestry has four components [Intentional, Intensive, Integrated, and Interactive]. It is a conscious effort to simultaneously grow trees and crops [silvopasture] to produce a variety of harvestable food items, all the while offering a host of ecological and conservation advantages. A combination of trees, crops, and/or animals are purposefully maintained to operate together to generate numerous goods and benefits. Some of these benefits include trees serving as a windbreak and a cooling system for livestock, especially in places like sub-Saharan Africa where there is excess sunlight. It also controls soil erosion and mitigates deforestation. The intercropping method is a great approach to retaining soil health. To preserve their protective and productive qualities, agroforestry methods are developed and closely monitored. They frequently entail cultural activities including planting, fertilizing, watering, pruning, and thinning.

Regeneration for a sustainable food supply

Regenerative farming methods are designed to improve soil health, biodiversity, and overall agricultural resilience. Farmers may fully realize the benefits of regenerative agriculture by integrating animals, avoiding soil disturbance with deep ploughing, and optimizing crop diversification. There are several examples that clearly demonstrate the advantages of adopting regenerative practices. For example, the Unilever Water and Soil Management project in 2022—specifically the tomato plantation in the Badajoz area in Spain and the reduction of water pollution and greenhouse gas emission in Lombardy, Italy—saw a decrease in cost and water consumption, as well as in pesticide and fertilizer usage. Also in Talensi, a dry land district of northern Ghana, 24 villages were included in the second phase of the Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) Project, which was carried out between 2013 and 2017 by World Vision Ghana and World Vision Australia. The project's main objective was to address the problems of water retention and soil erosion. Low-cost agroforestry and water retention methods were used to regenerate and restore trees from the stumps of previously chopped down but still living trees, which resulted in restoring hundreds of hectares of degraded land. These positive examples highlight how regenerative practices [agroforestry, field mulching, no-tillage farming] can substantially slow down harm to the environment and promote sustainable food production.

Individual and group participation in regenerative farming practices can have significant impacts in promoting sustainability.

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Our collective responsibility

Individual and group participation in regenerative farming practices can have significant impacts in promoting sustainability. The adoption of retention, recycling, and reusability strategies is essential, as is supporting businesses and farmers that are dedicated to soil health and biodiversity. Regenerative farming techniques need to be prioritized by leaders in the agriculture sector to protect food production for generations to come as we work toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

We can only create a sustainable future by restoring ecological balance and soil health priority. It is not an option. As stewards of the planet, let's answer the call to action and make sure that the seeds of a healthy and prosperous tomorrow are sown by our deeds today.

Will we take this opportunity to shape the systems we have created towards a sustainable future? Give your feedback in the comments below.

About the author 

Abigail Mends

Abigail Dela Mends is a Research Assistant at the office of Parliament of Ghana, with a specialization in political research and administrative support for Members of Parliament. Abigail is currently an MSc in Corporate Communication and Public Affairs student at Robert Gordon University and also an intern at Better2Earth.


agriculture, farming, water quality

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