In January 2014, some of Kenya’s poorest farmers became the first in the world to receive carbon credits for improved management of their land. The Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project targets parts of western Kenya where arable land is becoming scarcer and less productive, leaving farmers hard-pressed to feed their families. Starting in 2007, the project has introduced sustainable agricultural land management (SALM) techniques to enrich the soil and boost yields. These include a variety of technologies and practices such as low-till cropping, composting livestock manure, the planting of trees and the addition of nitrogen-fixing legumes. As a result, plants and soil sequester more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Many of these practices also help to protect against floods and droughts, while increasing productivity. Results so far have been very promising. The carbon credits issued in 2014 alone represent a reduction of 24,788 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, yields have increased by up to 15–20%. In all, 60,000 households on 45,000 hectares will benefit from this project (World Bank 2014; 1 Neate 2013; 2 Shames et al. 2012 3).
CCAFS Big Facts - Carbon finance to restore Kenya's crop fields: https://ccafs.cgiar.org/bigfacts/#theme=evidence-of-success&subtheme=landscapes&casestudy=landscapesCs2
World Bank. 2014. Kenyans earn first ever carbon credits from sustainable farming. Press release, 21 January 2014.http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2014/01/21/kenyans-earn-first-ever-carbon-credits-from-sustainable-farming NAIROBI, January 21, 2014 – Smallholder farmers in western Kenya are now benefiting from carbon credits generated by improving farming techniques. These are the first credits worldwide issued under the sustainable agricultural land management (SALM) carbon accounting methodology.
Neate P. 2013. Climate-smart agriculture success stories from farming communities around the world. Wageningen, Netherlands: CCAFS; Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).https://cgspace.cgiar.org/rest/bitstreams/24750/retrieve To ensure a food-secure future, farming must become climate resilient. Around the world, governments and communities are adopting innovations that are improving the lives of millions while reducing agriculture’s climate footprint. These successful examples show the many ways climate-smart agriculture can take shape, and should serve as inspiration for future policies and investments.
Shames S, Wekesa A, Wachiye E. 2012. Institutional innovations in African smallholder carbon projects. CCAFS Report 8. Case Study: Western Kenya Smallholder Agriculture Carbon Finance project: Vi Agroforestry. Copenhagen: CCAFS.https://cgspace.cgiar.org/rest/bitstreams/20187/retrieve This paper synthesizes the insights of six African agricultural carbon project case studies and identifies institutional innovations among these projects that are contributing to long-term project success while maximizing benefits and minimizing risk for participating farmers. We review project organization and management, the structure and role of community groups within the projects, costs and benefits for managers and farmers, strategies to manage risks to farmers, and efforts to support women’s participation. Projects have developed organizational systems for financial management, agricultural extension, and carbon monitoring. All of these were managed by project management entities, with farmers implementing practices and supporting monitoring systems. Most projects engaged farmers in small groups and larger clusters of groups, which enabled broad participation, efficient contracting, timely communication, provision of extension services, benefit-sharing, and gender-focused activities. Direct carbon payments to farmers were low. Consequently projects needed to manage expectations around benefits carefully, support more efficient systems of aggregation and ensure non-cash benefits for farmers. Managing power dynamics within and among farmer groups was a significant challenge to ensuring equitable decision-making and participation. Mechanisms for settling conflict over land and benefits were also critical. We present action research questions that emerged from the first phase of this work and discuss the future of the initiative. Case studies about each agriculture carbon project from which our analysis is drawn can be downloaded along with the main report.