Carbon farming opportunities for crop cooperatives in Uganda. Practices, Impacts & Credit Schemes

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A. Migadde | J.W. de Vries

Year : 2020

Country: Uganda


Cooperatives are fundamental organizations in smallholder agriculture in developing countries. With the rising and immeasurable effects of climate change effects in such economies, cooperatives urgently need to compete as more ecologically as compared to their current economic and social targets. 

With the deteriorating living conditions for agricultural dependent households owing to the declining productivity, quality and quantity of agricultural land resources carbon farming interventions provide a promising outlook for small holder farmers and their cooperatives to adopt and scale up carbon farming practices within their farming systems. 

However, they have not been adopted widely nor implemented properly which poses a dilemma for promotion and scale up. This study seeks to investigate various carbon farming practices, economic and ecological effects and trade-offs while exploring opportunities for financial compensation from carbon farming applicable credit schemes, methodologies, entry requirements and risks for cooperatives. 

Using a mixed method approach, this study examined documented carbon farming practices, effects and trade-offs from different climate and geographical areas and benchmarked them with the current practices implemented in the Ugandan context amongst cooperatives across 19 districts of the country. The study discovered that at least each of the organic, conservation and integrated farming practices examined were practiced by smallholder farmers. Compost, crop rotations and intercropping were most reported and applied CFPS respectively. 

The study also discovered combinations amongst conservation farming practices had the highest results compared to organic and integrated farming practices. The study reveals farmer bias towards more tangible economic benefits such as yield, income and reduced input. The most reported ecological benefits were soil quality, water holding capacity and pest, disease and weed control. Intangible ecological effects such as carbon sequestration and biodiversity were not a part of the farming life. 

Consequently, Voluntary carbon credit schemes such as Verra and the Gold standard were identified as the most suitable standards and methodologies which can be used and blended for cooperatives implementing carbon farming. This study opens up opportunities for in-country national compliance schemes to support carbon farming. The study finally reveals that with more economic investment comes more ecological benefits although this requires small holder behavioral change in the transition. 

This study provides clarity in form of knowledge and a blueprint for Agriterra and the community of practice for promoting and scaling up carbon farming practices and carbon credits integration with cooperatives in Uganda. Grounded studies in prospective areas and cooperatives are required for precision about zonal agroecological, carbon stocks and social-environment impact assessments prior to implementation.

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