First carbon credits for smallscale farmers (Kenya)

A project bringing together thousands of small-scale farmers in western Kenya has become the first to earn carbon credits using a new sustainable farming accounting system, according to the World Bank. Financed by the bank’s BioCarbon Fund, the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project recently issued 24,788 credits under the Verified Carbon Standard. It was the first such issuance under the new carbon accounting system for low-carbon agriculture approved in 2011. The success of the initiative in Kenya could give a boost to other programmes across the globe seeking to cut greenhouse gas emissions from farming. Agriculture accounts for about 14% of global emissions, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Heat-trapping gases from agriculture and livestock reached 4,69bn tons of carbon dioxide in 2010, the most recent data available, according to Worldwatch Institute, an environmental think tank based in Washington, US. That was 13%vabove 1990 levels. The World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund will buy some of the credits earned by the Kenyan project, investing $600,000 by 2017.
The project in Kenya includes a range of low-carbon farming techniques that increase organic matter in the soil and the amount of carbon sequestrated or held in the ground and out of the atmosphere.
About 45,000ha of farmland has been involved in the project so far, according to the institutions working with it. Swedish NGO Vi Agroforestry was responsible for the implementation of the programme. The French Development Agency and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, based in Switzerland, are also supporting the project. – Reuters