The agricultural industry in South Africa is incredibly diverse and is heavily relied upon by the population – approximately 630 000 people are employed directly by the agricultural industry and even more rely on it to feed themselves. However, as climate change is at the periphery of all our minds, there is always the question about how sustainable South Africa’s crops are.
At Wild Coast Wagyu, we employ only the most sustainable farming methods that prioritise both the health of the land and our animals. We want to explain why Wagyu farming is sustainable.
What is sustainable agriculture?
In a paper by PhD students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, R.H. Khwidzhili and S.H. Worth, sustainable agriculture is defined to be “a philosophy based on human goals and understanding the long-term impact of human activities on the environment and, consequently, on other species.” The knowledge of this philosophy is then the guiding force for all agricultural practices. It is also the rejection of modern farming techniques that aim to increase productivity but compromise the natural environment.
What makes Wagyu farming more sustainable than other farming methods?
There are a variety of factors that give Wagyu farming a reputation of sustainability, both environmentally and socioeconomically. However, the main element that sets it apart from other cattle farming methods is that Wagyu farming yields a higher margin and makes use of environmentally friendly production methods.
Wild Coast Wagyu and Sustainability
Wild Coast Wagyu founder and director, Gerald Dreyer, had ethical and sustainable farming methods at the forefront of his mind during the farm’s inception. As well as being sustainable for the environment, it is also sustainable economically, where Gerald explains that “as a high value product it provides farmers with a level of income that can be life-changing.” In addition to this is that the Wild Coast Wagyu emerging farmer partners will “be able to educate their children in top quality schools and to afford the equipment necessary for sustainable farming.”
Turning to Wagyu farming and the environment, the impact is much less than other farming methods and actually contributes to the farm’s fauna and flora. Wild Coast Wagyu focuses on “beef fed on natural and irrigated pastures which support a myriad of species such as Oribi, Reedbuck and Common Duiker as well as breeding pairs of the endangered Blue Crane,” Gerald explains.
How the Wild Coast Wagyu Cares for Both Cattle and the Environment
The cattle on the Wild Coast Wagyu farm are taken care of to the fullest extent until their ethical end. They are fattened on pastures which avoids the use of high concentration feedlots which have inherent problems of disease and excessive waste. The nutrient cycle is maintained on the land, which increases carbon fixing – this is the conversion process of inorganic carbon dioxide to organic compounds by living organisms. This results in an explosion of biodiversity and a reduction in Greenhouse gasses which are more rapidly taken up by a higher plant density and diversity. Importantly, Wild Coast Wagyu avoids the use of growth hormones and antibiotics – typical of intensive feedlots – which makes Wagyu a healthier option for consumers.
Overall, Wild Coast Wagyu promotes sustainable farming through its protocols which are designed to protect the environment. To find out more about our responsible farming practices, head over to our website.