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Carbon Credit For Farmers In Punjab And Haryana For Adopting Sustainable Agri-Practices

By Outlook Planet Desk February 19, 2024

Farmers in Punjab and Haryana are eligible to receive carbon credits for adopting sustainable agriculture practices as part of a Grow Indigo initiative that will incentivise farmers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve soil fertility

Carbon Credit For Farmers In Punjab And Haryana For Adopting Sustainable Agri-Practices
The farmers registered with the programme could earn one carbon credit annually per acre. Shutterstock
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In a first-of-its-kind initiative to incentivise farmers to adopt environmentally sustainable agriculture practices in India’s rice and wheat-growing states, farmers in Punjab and Haryana will soon be awarded carbon credits for adopting practices such as direct seeding and low tillage.

The carbon farming programme has been initiated by a private entity, Grow Indigo (GIPL), a joint venture between domestic seed major Mahyco and US-based Indigo.

According to Umang Agarwal, head of carbon at Grow Indigo, the audit of the programme has been completed under the carbon standard (Verra) protocol, a global voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction programme. Based on certification by Veera, the carbon credit will be awarded to farmers in the next couple of months.

With over 300,000 acres currently enrolled under the programme, the company aims to expand to 1.5 million hectares over the next few years. 

The company will aggregate the credit and sell it to buyers, while 75 percent of revenues earned from the credit flow back to farmers.Carbon credits from farmers can be purchased by those industries, especially aviation, mining, or manufacturers of fertiliser, who are not in a position to reduce their carbon footprints because of the very nature of their business. 

The farmers registered with the programme could earn one carbon credit annually per acre. Currently, the value of one carbon credit is $ 40, equivalent to a reduction of one tonne of CO2 emissions. 

Farmers who adopt farming techniques like direct seeded rice and no-tillage practice, which conserves soil organic biomass before planting paddy and wheat, can register for the programme to get carbon credits.

Currently, the company has taken up four projects covering crops such as rice, wheat, maize, cotton, sugarcane, and agro-forestry across 15 states, including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra.

The Indian Agricultural Research Institute is providing its expertise in remote sensing technology for satellite monitoring of paddy and wheat fields registered by farmers under the project to validate claims of their adoption of sustainable practices. Scientists have found that microbes in flooded rice fields emit methane into the atmosphere. 

Recently, the agriculture ministry released a framework for a voluntary carbon market aimed at bringing all the stakeholders together, and its objective was to shift current practices and help mitigation efforts.

Because of the intensive farming system adopted after the Green Revolution, soil fertility has dropped sharply. If paddy straw is not burned and put back into the soil, the organic carbon content of the soil gets enhanced, thus improving fertility.

India is the world’s second-biggest rice producer after China, with an estimated production of 135.7 million tonnes (mt) in the 2023–24 crop year (July–June). India continues to be the world’s biggest rice exporter, with estimated exports of 22 MT in FY23.

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