Carbon credits payment launched in Sebei region

A section of coffee farmers from the eastern region of Sebei has been paid for practicing agroforestry at the launch of carbon credit payments in the country.
The project seeks to support farmers to mitigate the negative effects of climate change in their respective communities and the country as a whole.
At least 1000 farmers underwent a pilot assessment leading to the payment of 368 farmers who qualified for the carbon credits in the Sebei and Bugisu sub-regions.
Officials from Solidaridad East and Central say that the money that the farmers are going to receive is to support their families and also re-invest in agro-forestry to increase their annual reward under the programme dubbed ‘From Climate Victims to Climate Heroes.’
The project targets 50,000 smallholder coffee farmers in Kenya and Uganda to increase coffee production as well as mitigate Climate change effects through carbon farming.
Joseph Maberi, a project associate with Solidaridad East and Central Africa said that the payment is given under the project code-named “From Climate Victims to Climate Heroes” which targets farmers who practice agro-forestry.
The project seeks to promote carbon farming, carbon pre-financing, and carbon trading.
“We want to see farmers practice smart agriculture on their coffee gardens whereby they plant trees on their coffee gardens that complement the coffee and also support them with firewood when they grow,” said Maberi.
He added that under carbon pre-financing, there are farmers who have coffee but  do not have trees in them and therefore  the project will support them to procure seedlings that are going to be shaded in their coffee gardens
According to Maberi, with carbon credit, when the farmers practice carbon farming or coffee agro-forestry, their trees, and coffee take in carbon.
“When you see a tree growing in size, it means it takes in carbon and releases oxygen for human beings. The carbon that the trees take in, is what affects climate change.”
“When the farmers plant trees and coffee, they grow, and our partners; Acorn and RaboBank carry out an assessment of the amount of carbon called Carbon reduction Units (CRUs) that has been taken in and they do this by use of satellite and transfer the data and each tonne of carbon produced, a farmer is paid some money called carbon credits,” he said.
Rabo Bank Accounts Manager Margret Muiebelt commended the farmers and disclosed that the arrangement would soon start carbon harvesting to yield more economic benefits.
She added that the project is implementing agro-forestry due to its benefits to unlock the carbon market for farmers adopting the carbon farming.
“The trees that you will plant or have recently planted will take up carbon from the atmosphere, store it in their trunks and branches and release oxygen that we need. The stored within the trees are actually the carbon credits,” she said.
She said that each year, farmers will be compensated for the growth of the carbon but warned that if the trees are cut, they would stand to lose the payments until the trunks regenerate.
“We have completed the first cycle of tree planting, measuring the growth in carbon, selling these Microsoft and paying out the proceeds to the farmers on whose plots this growth was measured,” she said at the launching of the carbon credits payment in Kapchorwa District.
William Toboswo of Kapchesi village in Kween District, one of the beneficiaries of the programme said that the benefits of agroforestry are far beyond his expectation yet he planted trees to provide shade for his garden.
“By getting this chance, I got encouraged and I will mobilise my neighbours to do the same to improve our climate. When you intercrop, the trees provide shade and the leaves become a mulch for the coffee and my coffee production has since gone up,” said the 68-year-old farmer.
Toboswo said: “I started in the programme in 2021 and from this arrangement, the coffee yields have gone up, I get firewood, timber for construction and fencing my farm and also I have been supported to plant more trees which has resulted in payment. It has reduced the cost of weeding the garden and I intend to sensitise many people to also tap into these benefits.”
Mirika Khisa, another beneficiary farmer from Kween District narrated that when she started intercropping coffee with trees, she realized increased harvests in addition to firewood from the trees as well as manure from the leaves that fall from the trees.
“With the trees, the coffee plants do not get a lot of heat, pruning is also easy and it has simplified the farming, it has helped me to reduce the rate at which coffee bellies fall, it has reduced the heat affecting my other crops, the environment is cool,” she said.
Khisa further revealed that her household income increased and as a result, her livelihood has also improved that she is currently constructing a new house resulting from the income I get from coffee after increased production
“My coffee harvest increased from 10 to 18 bags a year from my 2-acre piece of land. These trees are a benefit to me, I do waste a lot of time looking for firewood, I get poles to fence my garden to prevent encroachers.”

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