Carbon Markets, A Catalyst Advancing Conservation Agriculture.

In the pursuit of a sustainable future, agriculture assumes a pivotal role in mitigating climate change and establishing resilient pathways. This Letter explores the convergence of carbon markets and conservation agriculture as a synergistic approach towards achieving these goals.

Even though, Climate change has not received an official classification as a "global disaster" through specific international declarations. Nevertheless, it stands universally recognized as a paramount and immediate global challenge.

This acknowledgment finds expression in various international agreements, with the Paris Agreement of 2015 being a seminal example within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Paris Agreement emphasizes the imperative for coordinated global efforts to mitigate the rise in global temperatures and adapt to the multifaceted impacts of climate change.

At the start of every year, strategies and evidence-based initiatives are crafted to curb greenhouse gas emissions, with a focus on collaborative efforts within food supply chains. Conservation agriculture emerges as a transformative practice, aiming to revolutionize conventional farming methods and foster food abundance and diversification.

Conservation agriculture, characterized by minimal soil disturbance, permanent soil cover, and crop diversification, offers a cost-effective and time-efficient alternative to traditional farming practices. This approach mitigates the reliance on inputs such as inorganic fertilizers and aligns with the principles of sustainable land use.

Kenya for example, is facing challenges in crop productivity due to factors like droughts and erratic rainfall, seeks sustainable alternatives. Conservation agriculture presents a viable solution by enhancing resilience to climate-related shocks, ensuring economic stability, and bolstering food security.

Despite its potential benefits, the adoption of conservation agriculture faces financial barriers. The Landscape of Climate Finance for Agrifood Systems Report underscores the inadequacy of climate finance in agrifood systems, urging a seven-fold increase from 2019/20 levels for effective transition.

Carbon credits emerge as a crucial incentive to drive the adoption of climate-smart measures in agriculture. FSPN Africa is actively promoting measures like agro-forestry and minimum tillage, leveraging carbon credits to reward farmers embracing lower-carbon emission practices now through its project, The Carbon Farming for Agricultural and Environmental Sustainability and Profitability (CAFAeSUP) Project supported by our valued donors. Kenya, positioning itself strategically, leads in carbon credit supply in Africa and is in the process of regulating its carbon market.

To ensure the integrity of the carbon credit market, the Kenyan government is set to impose substantial fines on unauthorized carbon credit transactions. The Climate Change (Carbon Markets) Regulations bill 2023 aims to regulate the market, addressing concerns of illegal practices and lack of oversight.

Conservation agriculture aligns with SDG 13 (Climate Action) and SDG 15 (Life on Land). SDG 13 emphasizes urgent action against climate change, with agriculture's mitigation potential reaching up to 7.5% of total global emissions. SDG 15 focuses on sustainable terrestrial ecosystem management, which aligns with conservation agriculture's goals.

Conservation agriculture emerges as a key enabler in achieving sustainability goals within the agricultural sector. By leveraging carbon markets and aligning with SDGs, it presents a holistic approach to address challenges while fostering environmental conservation, economic stability, and food security.

References:

1.           Landscape of Climate Finance for Agrifood Systems Report,

2.           Climate Change (Carbon Markets) Regulations bill 2023

3.           Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) documentation.