Our journey to support smallholders with sustainable farming
Agoro Carbon Alliance is proud to be launching our farmer-centric sustainable agriculture platform in India. The unique conditions in the country, where approximately sixty percent of the population are involved in farming, make it an ideal proving ground for the smallholder carbon farming model we’ve developed. After all, the model itself was born from the sustainable agriculture techniques already practiced by many smallholder farmers.
Our aim is to support farmers in monetizing these sustainable practices through carbon financing. Rolling out this model successfully in India would be a powerful step toward mapping out a more sustainable future for agriculture in the whole of the Global South. Our ambitious mission can also count on the support of our founder company Yara, a world leader in crop nutrition and soil science. Collaborating and leveraging Yara’s 115 years of agricultural expertise, strong partnerships in the sector, and great knowledge of the Indian market will be fundamental in achieving our shared aims.
A sustainable smallholder model
“Indian smallholder farmers make the perfect Agoro Carbon partners because, in many cases, they are already well-acquainted with what we understand today as conservation farming techniques,” explains Prithviraj Sen Sharma, Managing Director of Agoro Carbon Alliance India. “They are known the world over for their pragmatic approach and innovative spirit, facing challenging conditions while often farming with limited resources. They’ve already been at the forefront of major agricultural revolutions. Now, we want to help them spearhead the next one – the sustainable revolution.”
This revolution would be nothing, however, without the support of the farmers and the communities around them. “We are fundamentally a grower success platform,” continues Prithviraj. “We’re providing farmers with the scientific and economic tools to help them connect to the global market and unlock carbon financing. As well as offering them this new source of income, we also give the farmers agronomical and financial incentives to improve the quality of their fields’ soil. That means better crops, better financial returns, and a positive impact on the environment. If we want these changes to take root, we need to show the farmers and their communities how much value Agoro Carbon’s model can bring them.”
Piloting the change
With this goal in mind, the team has been busy meeting potential partners and initiating pilot projects all over the country. And the model is catching on fast. Work has already begun on a multi-season planning approach in the high-yield regions of Punjab and Haryana, along with similar projects in Madhya Pradesh. “This approach will give the farmers more long-term economic stability,” explains Prithviraj. “Agoro Carbon Alliance is working to prove this, to build credibility with farmers and growers across India.” And from the evidence, it’s working.
“We are really excited to farm with the Agoro Carbon team,” says Sukhchain Singh, a farmer in Amritsar, northern Punjab. “They’ve helped us to understand the science behind soil health, and how we can optimize our farming practices to improve it. The wheat sown with Agoro Carbon’s guidance has been much better in quality than the wheat grown using standard farming practices.”
In the south-central state of Telangana, Yara Fertilizers India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Telangana State Agricultural University. This has led to the formation of numerous focus groups, in this context, we are collaborating on a pilot project to work on the decarbonization of rice production in association with the Telangana state government.
“This combination of top-down work with government and academia and community-level engagement with farmers and growers allows us to have a meaningful and durable impact on agricultural practices,” says Prithviraj. “It means we can test to find out which methods work best and, hopefully, apply them at scale.” Based on the results of the rice project, we hope to share our learnings with as many farmers as possible across the state. Since rice is one of the most important crops in the Telangana region, this has the potential to bring significant financial and environmental benefits.
A sustainable agriculture future in India and beyond
Launching in India is a key milestone in our strategy, both because it is a vital market, and because it provides a springboard for launching our model elsewhere. “Honing an effective smallholder model in this country would mean a huge step forward on Agoro Carbon’s journey to decarbonizing agriculture worldwide,” concludes Prithviraj. “If we can perfect the smallholder model in India, it’s something we can roll out across the Global South. That would mean important gains both in terms of climate safety, farmer welfare, and crop production.” We look forward to supporting more farmers in India, forming more partnerships, and initiating more pilot projects in this essential market. The next phase of sustainable agriculture is moving forward!