The Nyanza and Western provinces of Kenya have suffered from years of land degradation which has had a serious impact on soil productivity. As a result, farming communities have struggeled to grown enough food for their families.
The Kenya Agricultural Carbon project aimed at addressing the issue of land productivity through the promotion of sustainable agricultural land management practices (SALM) on approximately 45,000 ha of land in the Nyanza and Western provinces of Kenya. Through the project, over 1000 smallholder farmer groups and primary level cooperatives (small-holder farmers and small-scale business entrepreneurs) have been trained to date in cropland management and land rehabilitation, increasing crop yields up to 20 percent as a result.
SALM was developed by the BioCarbon fund and is one of the first methodologies to account for emission reductions from sustainable agricultural land management. Practices under SALM cover cropland management (i.e cover crops,crop rotation, mulching, improved fallows, compost management, green manure, agroforestry, organic fertilizer, residue management) and rehabilitation of degraded land.
It is the first project in the world to successfully issue emission reductions under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). BioCarbon fund purchases these emission reductions on behalf of its investors. The project is implemented by a Swiss NGO Vi Agroforestry which focues on benefits of improved living conditions for small-scale farmers via increased yields arising from improved cultivation techniques. Vi Agroforestry is well know in the Lake Victoria Basin for participatory approaches leading to increased farm productivity and sustainable management of natural resources.
Practices adopted in this project have helped to enhance the resilience to climate variability and climate change. Soil resilience to drought and their ability to capture more carbon has been possible through the sustainable land management practices.
As a result of this project crop yields have increased which has improved the income of the farmers. The carbon revenue generated from the project serves as an additional income for the farmers who are also directly involved in monitoring and data collection. Agroforestry practice that is adopted as part of the SALM has helped to provide the needs for fuelwood and fodder. It is expected that from this project, small-holder farmers in Kenya will be able to access the carbon market and receive additional stream of carbon revenues through the adoption of productivity enhancing practices and technologies that also contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gases.