1. Agriculture World

Rice Farmers to Earn Incentives Via Carbon Credit for Sustainable Agriculture

The carbon standard (Verra) protocol, which is a global voluntary GHG reduction program, will be used to certify the program, according to Zehr. The carbon credit will be granted to farmers based on certification. GIPL will also assist farmers in selling their produce at a higher price.

Binita Kumari
Farmers in important rice-growing region may be eligible for carbon credits if they implement sustainable measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost soil carbon absorption.
Farmers in important rice-growing region may be eligible for carbon credits if they implement sustainable measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost soil carbon absorption.

A collaborative joint sector program is being launched in a first-of-its-kind initiative to encourage small farmers to adopt environmentally sustainable agriculture practices, particularly in rice-growing regions of the country. Farmers will be able to earn carbon credit for using low tillage and direct seeding techniques.

Grow Indigo (GIPL), a joint venture between seed giant Mahyco and US-based Indigo, is spearheading the carbon farming initiative. Initially, the scheme would focus on rice-growing areas in Punjab and Haryana, before expanding to include Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.

Farmers in the important rice-growing region may be eligible for carbon credits if they implement sustainable measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost soil carbon absorption.

"We've brought 4,000 hectares into the carbon farming program in Punjab, and an MoU with Haryana will be signed soon," Usha Zehr, GIPL's executive director, told FE. The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) will contribute its expertise in remote sensing technology to the project's satellite surveillance of rice fields registered by farmers to verify their claims of using sustainable methods.

The carbon standard (Verra) protocol, which is a global voluntary GHG reduction program, will be used to certify the program, according to Zehr. The carbon credit will be granted to farmers based on certification. GIPL will also assist farmers in selling their produce at a higher price.

"Efforts by farmers to adopt regenerative agriculture practices would be appropriately rewarded through this unique initiative," said Ashok Kumar Singh, director of the IARI. This idea, according to Singh, might develop a market for carbon trading for Indian farmers.

Farmers' carbon credits can be purchased by companies such as aviation, mining, and fertilizer makers who are unable to minimize their carbon footprints due to the nature of their business.

Estimates say that the value of one carbon credit is around $10.

With an expected production of 127.93 million tons (mt) in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June), India is also the world's second-largest rice producer behind China, while India remains the world's largest rice exporter with estimated exports of more than 17 mt in 2021-22.

Microbes in flooded rice fields produce methane, according to scientists, part of which is discharged into the atmosphere. Soil fertility has plummeted as a result of the intensive farming practice adopted after the Green Revolution. If paddy straw is not burned and instead returned to the soil, the soil's organic carbon content increases, boosting fertility.

In a recent statement, agro digital platform nurture.farm said it had sold 20,000 carbon units made from agricultural waste, marking the first time an Indian company had joined the global carbon market through agriculture.

Nurture.farm's Business Head and COO, Dhruv Sawhney, stated. Because it is the world's second-largest producer of critical staples such as rice, wheat, fruit, and vegetables, India is well-positioned to pioneer agriculture-related carbon credit trading. Sawhney added, "India is also the world's third-highest emitter of greenhouse gases."

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