Contextual Definitions

Organic agriculture

Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects.

Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.


Agroecology is an integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of food and agricultural systems.

It seeks to optimise the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment while taking into consideration the social aspects that need to be addressed for a sustainable and fair food system. Agroecology is an applied science and bringing ecological principles to bear can suggest new management approaches in the agroecosystem. It is said to be a science, a practice and a social movement.

Conservation Agriculture

Conservation Agriculture is a farming system that can prevent losses of arable land while regenerating degraded lands. It promotes maintenance of a permanent soil cover, minimum soil disturbance, and diversification of plant species.

There are four conversion steps addressing minimal tillage culminating in zero tillage, then two steps of addressing going from high to low inputs culminating in organic Conservation Agriculture using no quantities of external artificial inputs.

Regenerative Agriculture

Regenerative Agriculture is a conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems. It focuses on topsoil regeneration, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle, enhancing ecosystem services, supporting bio-sequestration, increasing resilience to climate change, and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil.

Regenerative Agriculture is not a specific practice itself. Rather, proponents of regenerative agriculture utilise a variety of other sustainable agriculture techniques in combination.

Ecological Organic Agriculture

Ecological Organic Agriculture at its core is aimed at training of farmers in sustainable organic agriculture which focuses on experiential learning, practical work, on-farm experimentation and demonstrations to improve the skills of farmers in specific areas.

The six strategic pillars across the African Union are
1) Research, Training and Extension
2) Information and Communication
3) Value Chain and Market Development
4) Networking and Partnerships
5) Policy and Programme Development
6) Institutional Capacity Development

Biodynamic Agriculture

Biodynamic Agriculture is a holistic method of natural farming that works with cosmic and earthly rhythms and where soils, plants and animals are integrated, and biodiversity is encouraged. Demeter is the trademark for certified biodynamic agriculture which follows strictly the standard of the Biodynamic Federation Demeter International.

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