On-farm carbon credits
Farming carbon credits
Conservation and Regenerative Agriculture (CA/RA) are principal ways in which the farmers can contribute to global efforts to mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while also improving a farm’s resilience to the future impact of climate change. Besides the GHG emission and carbon sequestration benefits of CA/RA, the additional benefits of improved water holding capacity and consequent sustained crop yields in dry spells, are especially important in agricultural, as many areas are subject to increased frequencies and intensities of droughts. Carbon sequestration, together with significant savings in fuel, fertiliser and lime, through the adoption of CA/RA can deliver a broad set of benefits to South African farmers, such as the possibility of generating carbon credits.
Also see the Farmer's Weekly article by Lindi Botha from
15 October 2021 p. 38 - 40, interviewing Dr Hendrik Smith on Cultivating Carbon and farming for carbon credits.
The Cultivating Carbon value proposition
70% of carbon revenues generated will flow through to participating farmers. In return for its 30% share, Cultivating Carbon will bear the cost of carbon development, monitoring, evaluation and verification through an international carbon standard as well provide access to direct technical assistance for farmers. The intention is to remove the technical and financial barriers to entry that are often associated with carbon markets, to develop a project at scale that reduces the cost per farm and maximises returns for each farmer.
As an example, at a carbon price of R142/tCO2e (USD10/tCO2e and a ZAR/USD exchange rate of R14.20), it is expected that a farmer implementing CA could earn an additional R187/ha/annum of carbon income through reduced CO2e emissions from the decreased consumption of diesel, lime and nitrogenous fertilisers as well as an increase in soil organic carbon. This is in addition to the R872/ha of savings in input costs for diesel, lime and nitrogenous fertilisers.
Cultivating Carbon takes care of:
Cultivating Carbon will seek verification through Verra’s Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). VCS is an internationally recognised standard and is generally preferred by international carbon offset buyers as well as locally (where it is one of only two standards recognised under South Africa’s Carbon Tax regulations).
Emission reductions due to a decrease in fuel, fertiliser and lime usage as well as the carbon sequestration will be verified on an annual basis based on accurate biophysical modelling and activity-based monitoring, with supporting field measurements once every five years. Remote sensing and further spatial data will be provided by GeoTerraImage , which has substantial experience in mapping agricultural systems in South Africa. In a similar manner, the analysis of soil samples will be done by an accredited national laboratory in a cost-efficient manner. The estimation of changes in GHG emissions due to a decrease in diesel, fertiliser and lime use will be based on existing annual financial reporting done at a farm scale.