Organic farming avoids the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers by using a range of techniques that help sustain ecosystems and reduce pollution. There are an estimated 250 farms on 45 000 ha of certifiedland in South Africa. Organic crops include various cereals, vegetables, roots and tubers, herbs and spices, fruit, nuts and rooibos tea.
As a follow-up to the commitments made in 2011 at the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change (better known as COP17), the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will promote climate-smart agriculture such as the adoption of sustainable production systems, namely organic farming, agro-ecology and conservation agriculture.
Regarding conservation agriculture, pilot projects have been implemented in several provinces. This was done in collaboration with the Agricultural Research Council and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.