Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO), a Zambian NGO, has been working for many years to achieve conservation results through community engagement, agricultural practice improvement, and fair trade in Eastern Province, Zambia. This history set the stage for a unique GHG offset project, combining reduced deforestation (REDD+) and soil improvement through enhanced farming practices (SALM). Brinkman Earth Systems worked with COMACO and C-Quest Capital to assess the potential GHG benefits of the project, quantify the soil carbon dynamics of agriculture practice enhancement methods, and complete broad project structuring and design.
The COMACO approach to enhancing smallholder agricultural returns uses a combination of nitrogenous tree species, composting, reduced tillage, and other practices to significantly enhance per hectare productivity of core local crops such as maize and ground-nut. These practices increase both nutrient and organic matter inputs to the soil. Brinkman Earth Systems and C-Quest Capital undertook a paired site study of soil conditions in treated and untreated areas. Based on this and other data, they then developed an economic model and work plan for the project.
With funding assistance from the Royal Norwegian Embassy, US AID, the World Bank Biocarbon Fund and others, the project is now in validation through the VCS, and is expected to produce its first GHG offsets in 2017.