Man-made greenhouse gas emissions stimulate climate change. This threatens the livelihoods of African smallholders – already the world’s most vulnerable farmers. Soil degradation also continues in Sub-Saharan Africa, further aggravating food insecurity. Tackling climate change and soil degradation requires a reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Sustainable farming practices can sequester carbon and improve soil health at the same time. Crop rotations, reduced tillage, green manure, and agroforestry all increase carbon sequestration in the soil and/or perennial vegetation. Longer-term, they can also increase farm revenue. However, smallholders have not yet widely adopted such practices. One major reason is their need for an immediate return on investment. The challenge is, therefore, to bridge the gap until farmers begin to benefit financially.
Payments for ecosystem services can encourage them to adopt more sustainable practices. Our approach is to use carbon credits as an additional source of income. Therefore we have long been engaged in projects with the World Bank`s BioCarbon Fund in Zambia and Kenya. The Fund supports sustainable land use, forestry, and conservation programs in developing countries.
Based on the experience gained in the long-standing partnership with the World Bank, we want to continue incentivizing farmers to take up practices that sustainably increase farm productivity and also lead to environmental benefits such as healthier soils or carbon sequestration.