4th February 2014
Kenyan farmers in the west of the nation are now capitalising on carbon credits generated by improving farming techniques. These smallholder farmers are the first to enjoy such credits under the sustainable agricultural land management (SALM) carbon accounting methodology.
The Kenya Agricultural Carbon is aiming to support more productive, sustainable and climate-friendly farming. It is investigating the lives of 60,000 farmers on 45,000 hectares.
Researchers noted that due to years of land degradation, many farmers found it difficult to grow enough food for their families.
In order to solve this problem, they are now attempting to increase the organic matter in soils, using a number of different methods. This is intended to improve the soil’s water absorption as well as its nutrient supply and biodiversity, and also help to prevent erosion.
In the long-term, it is hoped these actions will improve soils in order to raise farm yields, thereby increasing food security and making agriculture more resilient to climate change.
January 16th marked a landmark in the project. On this date it issued its first carbon credits under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) for sequestering carbon in soil.
These credits represent a cut of 24,788 metric tons of carbon dioxide. This equates to vehicle emissions from 5,164 automobiles over a year.
Diarietou Gaye, World Bank Country Director for Kenya, commented: “This is an inspiring example of how agricultural practices that improve the productivity and livelihoods of smallholder, subsistence farmers can also be climate-smart.
“This project demonstrates synergies between climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in agriculture.”
Mr Gaye underlined that carbon credits are creating a revenue stream that improves the extension services provided to farmers. He noted that these services are “critical” when it comes to the adoption of these practices to increase crop yields, and subsequently farmers’ incomes.
The expert noted: “This also improves their food security, which is now more important than ever given the vulnerability to climate change.”