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The Nakivale Biochar Project Launch Webinar @ COP 27, November 8, 2022.
Bionerg, C-Capsule and OpenAir are partnering with Uganda's Nakivale Refugee Settlement to pilot a new biochar monitoring and revenue model that aims to unlock income for subsistence farmers, improve soil productivity, and draw down carbon from the air.
- The project objective is to enable farmers to gain access to and earn revenue from international carbon markets using a mobile-based biochar monitoring and verification technology and methodology.
- Open-source designs will enable local manufacturing, maintenance and continuous improvement of small distributed biochar kilns anywhere in the world.
- A growing practitioner network will allow implementing farmers to exchange best practices and continuously learn and improve methods through peer-to-peer exchange.
With your help this campaign will fund the manufacture and installation of three biochar kilns in the Nakivale camp.The kilns will be equipped with Bionerg's monitoring and verification technology. The pilot will enable the project partners to begin producing biochar locally, and to monitor and optimize design and operations. If successful, this pilot will help validate the model and establish a replicable, high magnitude farming and carbon removal solution that can ultimately be driven by rural farming communities all over the world.
THE OPPORTUNITY: SOIL RESTORATION, CARBON REMOVAL, ECONOMIC SECURITY.
Biochar is a charcoal-like material that’s made by burning organic biomass from agricultural and forestry wastes in a process called pyrolysis. To the naked eye it's unremarkable; but looks can be deceiving.
This incredibly versatile waste byproduct holds the potential to enhance depleted soils and increase agricultural productivity on the local level, while durably removing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help combat global climate change.
Within the context of the Global South, the potential benefits of biochar for smallholding subsistence farmers are enormous. And this promise, if realized on a large scale, can lock down billions of tonnes of CO2 in the coming decades. Once established, local biochar production can create significant and truly sustainable livelihood benefits to help mitigate the economic insecurities and resource constraints that define the lives of subsistence farmers.
And nearly all of the core elements needed to make biochar happen - from biochar kiln manufacturing, to training, production and application - can be achieved within local rural communities. Further, under the right conditions, these practices have the potential to spread and self-replicate, peer-to-peer, through local, regional, national and even global networks.
THE CHALLENGE: SMALLHOLDER FARMERS NEED CAPITAL AND REVENUE CERTAINTY TO START.
But needless to say, access to capital is a critical barrier to making this possibility a reality. To move forward, farmers need access to funds to build and purchase biochar kilns, and greater revenue certainty to minimize economic risks.
As international carbon markets grow and increasingly center on durable carbon removals as a core product, they offer a potential pathway beyond this constraint. And carbon removal credits from biochar, backed by sophisticated verification methodologies, are already well established on leading marketplaces.
However conventional certification programs for biochar - upon which participation in carbon markets depends - are not optimally structured for smallscale biochar producers operating on a small scale with very little capital. In short, certification is very expensive and involves a complex process requiring significant capacity. This puts the opportunity out of reach for billions of potential biochar leaders in the global south.
THE SOLUTION: MOBILE-BASED BIOCHAR MONITORING & PEER-TO-PEER FINANCING.
To overcome this barrier and open up the biochar opportunity for millions of smallscale farmers in Africa and Asia, Bionerg has paired an open source kon-tiki biochar kiln design, with an integrated mobile-based monitoring solution that capturers and reports biochar production data in real time. In partnership with C-Capsule, a carbon removal certification platform, Bionerg has developed an MRV methodology for smallscale biochar production using this technology combination.
In combination, these innovations in monitoring and methodology, can be the key that allows distributed, low income rural farmers to directly gain carbon revenues for biochar production. Such a link would creates a strong incentive for adoption, and could rapidly accelerate and expand biochar implementation. Further, if it is clearly established that distributed, rural biochar can generate consistent revenue, both conventional financing from cooperatives and rural lenders, as well as peer-to-peer financing via global lending platforms, could quickly follow, making this solutions truly scalable.
THE SETTING: THE NAKIVALE REFUGEE SETTLEMENT, UGANDA.
Nakivale, located in Southwest Uganda, is the oldest refugee settlement in Africa. 122,000 refugees from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Somalia call it home, and it is widely viewed as one of the most effective, humane and productive settlements of its kind in the world. The settlement supports multiple innovative livelihood development programs that aim to diversify and expand the local economy. However, the farming residents of Nakivale face considerable land and resource limitations, making sustainable increases to productivity per hectare a fundamental and immediate need - challenges that biochar can help overcome.
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