First agroforestry project registered under VCS
The first project which sequesters carbon through agroforestry has been registered under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).
Paris-based project developer Eco-Carbone’s agroforestry project was registered for the voluntary offset programme last week.
The project aims to assist rural communities in Mali to adopt sustainable practices for their jatropha curcas plantations. The grains will then be processed into either oil or fertiliser, and sold to the local community.
Eco-Carbone, through its Malian joint venture JMI, is working in partnership with 3,500 farmers and has developed an agroforestry system in the Kita region of Mali, with more than 4,000 hectares of plantations. Eventually, 15,000 hectares will be planted, said the developer.
While JMI provides technical assistance, training and the guarantee that all the jatropha seeds will be bought, the farmers will manage the establishment, maintenance, harvest and seed sales from their own plantations.
Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis has agreed to buy all of the carbon credits, including those for future plantations, for an undisclosed amount.
“Although the carbon credits from the Malian project have already been purchased by
Novartis, we are convinced that this success will pave the way for our extension in Africa, and also for similar schemes and partnerships for our other projects in Laos, Vietnam and Indonesia,” said Olivier Kreiss, CEO of Eco-Carbone.
As well as generating carbon credits, the project creates a source of revenue for participating farmers, protects their land, improves food cultivation and gives the farmers better access to energy through the eventual development of jatropha oil-fired power generating facilities, said Eco-Carbone.
Eco-Carbone initially submitted the project for validation under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in 2008, but chose to withdraw it. Thomas Bouzanquet, a project manager at the company, said it was impossible to validate all geographical areas of the project at that stage, and the firm deemed the standard CDM approach was not suitable.
Another reason is that the size of the plantation areas in this project are smaller than what the CDM recognises as a threshold for reforestation, said Benjamin du Peloux, project developer at the Eco-Carbone. This project falls under revegetation, which is an eligible method under the VCS but not under the CDM.