The city of Lagos is working to reduce the levels of greenhouse gases emitted from their landfills using a state-of-the-art composting facility. This facility is dramatically reducing the volume of waste ending up in landfills by 10-20 percent.

It is Nigeria’s first composting project to be registered as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), earning the nation carbon credits that can be cashed with the World Bank.

Carbon credits, also known as carbon offsets, are becoming a fresh incentive for countries to become more environmentally sustainable.

As a financial instrument representing a tonne of CO2 (carbon dioxide) or CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent gases) removed or reduced from the atmosphere, the greener a nation’s industries are, the more financial carbon credits the nation will amount.

Since Nigeria’s industrial and commercial centers are home to more than 17 million, Lagos City’s population is expected to grow steadily to more than 21 million by the end of 2015, bringing an increased amount of unsorted waste.

Unfortunately, the city already has a problem with its landfill management practices, including poorly regulated methane emissions.

Still in the phase of its first verification, the project is expected to have approximately 30,000 carbon credits issued by the end of 2015. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the project. While operating at maximum capacity, the compost facility can process 1,500 metric tons of mainly organic waste per day. It has been projected that over the course of the next 10 years, greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by 253,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year as a result.

That translates to a lot of money through carbon credits for the Nigerian government to work on other sustainable development throughout the nation, benefiting all levels of society. But the monetary benefits of the carbon credits project are intended to stretch beyond the government, and trickle down in particular to the industrial and agricultural working classes.

In the industrial sector, the project is anticipated to create approximately 90 jobs at landfills throughout the city. In the agricultural sector, the byproduct of composting organic waste in landfills is extremely nutrient-rich soil. This soil is cheaper and more environmentally sound than the chemical fertilizer alternative that Nigerian farmers currently have available to them.

This increase in organic farming has been proven to improve soil quality and crop yields, increasing the productivity and profitability of farming throughout the region. As harvests improve and stabilize, there is a strengthening of national food security and increase in the region’s sustainable development.

Claire Colby

Sources: Carbon Planet, World Bank
Photo: Pixabay

Kenya’s Rural Farmers Profiting from Carbon Credits

Agriculture comes second as the indicator creating the most of Kenya’s GDP, which is 30.3 percent. Carbon dioxide makes up 74 percent of greenhouse gases emitted in 2004. As of 2014, there were 16,728,251 rural inhabitants living in poverty. The mission of the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project (KACP) is to teach profitable skills to small-scale farmers.

Carbon finance exposes smallholder farmers to the carbon market. Practices implemented by sustainable agricultural land management (SALM) can increase yields by 15-20 percent.

These practices enhance soil fertility and trap carbon. In 2012, Kenya’s fertilizer consumption rate was 44.3 kilograms per hectare, and 9.8 percent of land is arable.

A Swedish nongovernmental organization named Vi Agroforestry implemented KACP by receiving funding from World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund, the French Development Agency and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture. Since Vi Agroforestry’s enactment in 2007 with financial support from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), maize yields have tripled since 2012.

Thirty thousand smallholder farmers adapt new techniques to profit from carbon credits issued under SALM carbon accounting. Nitrogen fertilizers are used to increase durability when planting and harvesting crops and trees. These practices keep carbon trapped in the ground.

Working with 45,000 hectares in Nyanza and Western Provinces of Kenya, farmers working with KACP have stored 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide. These farmers traded in their carbon credits for $65,000, which is paid for by the BioCarbon Fund.

In 2014, KACP began using carbon credits within regulation of the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). Kenya achieved a reduction of 24,788 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equal to a yearly amount of gas emitted by 5,164 automobiles.

Along with environmental progress, the quality of life for smallholder farmers reflects the project’s achievements. Farmers expand their income beyond their crop yields adopting practices by KACP. With climate change making districts vulnerable to rainfall, droughts, and soil degradation, food security decreases without diversifying farming practices.

With agriculture alone creating 14 percent of global emissions, using organic substance to increase yields will benefit the soil’s water absorption and nutrient supply. This enhances food security and improves crops’ resilience to climate change.

In addition, the districts of Kisumu and Kitale suffered with land degradation, water degradation, deforested areas, chemical pollution and urban waste. With minimal government outreach, Vi Agroforestry promoted various practices including water harvesting, crop rotation, pest and disease management, and the usage of certified seeds in 2012.

Farmers are expected to one day increase 50-100 percent of their yields. Kitale’s maize yields rose by 70 percent from 2009 to 2011. Without dependency on non-organic fertilizers and pesticides, this adds to a stronger income that benefits production. Vi Agroforestry pushes responsibility to community leaders who will provide information to groups and engage in monitoring activities to collect data.

In 2010, 4.69 billion tons of carbon was cultivated in heat-trapping gases emitted by agriculture. The BioCarbon Fund plans to purchase more carbon credits from Kenyan farmers totaling $600,000 by 2017.

Katie Groe

Sources: World Bank 1, Reuters, World Bank 2, Rural Poverty Portal, EPA, New Agriculturalist
Photo: Flickr