Two organisations have banded together to offer farmers in Africa support in adopting climate-resilient farming practices. FSD Africa, a UK-supported and Nairobi-based non-profit, is teaming up with Rabobank Acorn/Rabo foundation, a Dutch multinational banking service, to give farmers access to carbon loans.
The project intends to support and encourage small-scale farmers in Africa to implement the agroforestry farming method, which involves interspersing their fields and pastures with woody perennial plantings.
The initiative will track and compile the “carbon removal units” (CRUs) that come from the trees storing carbon as they grow using remote sensing technologies. The marketplaces for carbon credits can then trade these units. Acorn assists in the start-up and growth of agroforestry projects through local implementation partners, and then facilitates the trading of the CRUs produced as a result of the carbon sequestered, providing farmers with an additional source of revenue.
Acorn supports local implementation partners by initiating and developing agroforestry projects, and will also assist farmers in trading their CRUs as an additional income stream. On a smallholder farmer’s property, the biomass produced by CO2 as the trees grow will be monitored with the aid of remote sensing equipment, such as satellite images.
Creating ‘green jobs’
“The Acorn program has a great potential for improving farmers’ income through the sale of carbon credits and other income from the agroforestry project,” commented FSD Africa chief executive officer, Mark Napier. “It will create green jobs, address vulnerability by improving food security and by all those means will lead to the poverty reduction.”
To encourage smallholder farmers to make improvements to their operations and make the switch to agroforestry, carbon loans will be made available through the pilot projects. The farmers will pay back the loans with future money from the proceeds of the sale of carbon credits. Between 80 – 90% of the sales proceeds will go back to the farmer.
“Using the proceeds of the carbon removal units for repaying the loan, we have introduced an innovative financial solution that has the potential to create a paradigm shift in financing rural development,” said Jelmer van de Mortel, head of Acorn.
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