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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Ng’arua Co-operative seeks to benefit from carbon credit

By Bob Aston

Kenya launched its National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) last year. The plan addresses the options for a low-carbon climate resilient development pathway as Kenya adapts to climate impacts and mitigates growing emissions. Since then farmers have been trying to benefit from carbon credit. Ng’arua Fruits Organic Farmers Co-operative Society Limited is now among those who will soon start benefiting from carbon credit money.

The Co-operative which was formed in 2010 currently has 67 active members majority being women. They have partnered with Biodeposit Africa, Restore Hope Foundation and Musoni Kenya Ltd to ensure that members start benefiting from carbon credit money.
Farmers being capacity built
Currently one gets credited to the extent to which one is emitting less carbon as per the standards fixed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).

Samwel Nyaga, Secretary Ng’arua Fruits Organic Farmers Co-operative Society Limited said that the objective for which the society was established are: to organize and promote the welfare and economic interest of its members, to arrange the operations marketing, processing, grading, packaging and transporting the members produce and to arrange the purchase and resale of bio-deposit fertilizers and bio-deposit agro for organic farming establishment in Ng’arua.
“Members have immensely benefited through various capacity building trainings organized by Biodeposit Africa and Musoni Kenya Ltd. They now understand a lot about carbon credit and how one can improve his economic livelihood through it,” said Samwel.
Samwel said that many benefits are oncoming for example receiving carbon credit money which will be disbursed together with castor oil cookers.
“Carbon credit money will be received thrice a year. This will be through planting trees, when one does not use chemical fertilizer when planting and also through burning methane gas,” said Samwel.
Samwel said that one tonne of carbon dioxide is equal to one credit. Credit will also depend with the prevailing market forces. This will be equated to between 40 dollars per credit. On average one tree will consume between 10-12 kgs.
Samwel said that one hundred trees will earn a farmer close to 40 dollars. Trees like eucalyptus will earn a farmer more as they absorb a lot of carbon.
The Co-operative is awaiting delivery of castor seeds from Biodeposit Africa. The castor seeds will cover half an acre and will be able to mature after four months. Members will then be able to earn from sale of the castor seeds after every month.
Restore Hope Foundation has already promised them that they will buy mature castor seeds from the Co-operative at Ksh 30 per kilo.
Farmers being capacity built
Some of the co-operative members have already started using bi deposit fertilizer. They said that bio deposit fertilizer can help plants withstand dry conditions. Some members managed to harvest as much as forty (40) bags of maize in a one acre piece of land.
“I have planted kales using bio deposit fertilizer. Production is high compared to using chemical fertilizer,” said Samwel.
The Co-operative members have also planted grafted passion which they received from Biodeposit Africa. They now expect to start harvesting passion fruits from July.
Samwel said that one of the challenges that they face is lack of established market for organic products. They are now looking for partners who can assist them find market for their crops.
The Co-operative is also trying to get youths to be more actively involved in organic farming. Most of the members are elderly people.
“We do not have youths among the members. We are currently trying to recruit more youths. They are the future farmers of this country,” said Samwel.
Samwel said that their future plans include having a factory for processing fruits as well as a company for processing castor oil.
“We are after green revolution and at the same time we are ensuring that our members practice sustainable agriculture,” said Samwel.
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