Portfolio of smallholder climate projects

Having resolved to assist our members in a hybrid market development and commercial role, we solicited a first round of applications from our members for pre-feasibility project proposals and projects where CASH could help a member overcome a barrier to scale. 

We received five applications, and we are pleased to extend support to each in the form of targeted funding and technical assistance from two carbon experts we have retained. Project proposals from Digital Green, Forest Trends, Proximity Designs, and Root Capital will be supported with grants of $50,000 each plus technical assistance to complete pre-feasibility assessments. A fifth project proposed by SEKEM is already generating revenue through carbon credits. An award of $30,000 will support SEKEM to support actions to address specific bottlenecks undermining farmer onboarding and measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV). The grant to SEKEM will also support the development of a case study about the development and roll-out of SEKEM’s EOL Standard to communicate insights about the process of developing a smallholder standard and taking a project to market for the benefit of CASH’s learning agenda and the field more broadly.

Subjecting these projects to pre-feasibility assessments is not a box-checking exercise in which we identify ‘winners’ to progress toward project registration. It is more about identifying and developing projects that reveal existing barriers and frictions to smallholder participation in climate finance and project development and new pathways that enable more smallholders – and smallholder-serving organizations – to access climate finance. We expect to learn a great deal from projects that pass easily through the assessment phase as well as those that struggle and do not advance in the existing structure of carbon markets and its enabling environment

Pre-feasibility, feasibility, and project development activities and assessments will be leveraged for learning to inform future project development and advocacy work. As a coalition, we will use this learning for problem-solving, to push markets to be more responsive to smallholder needs, to create transformations in existing markets to expand access to climate finance streams, and to initiate new sources of income supportive of smallholder climate action and ecosystem services.

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As detailed in the descriptions below, the five projects in our current portfolio represent a diverse set of entry points to carbon work across various contexts, value chains, and ecosystem services. Three of the five grants support the actions of smallholder-serving organizations that have not yet developed carbon projects. 

We are excited and motivated by the launch of a portfolio but recognize how arduous the carbon journey is and the many obstacles inhibiting smallholder participation. We will be extremely pleased if these projects make it through pre-feasibility, feasibility, project development, and execution, but know this is unlikely. At an aggregate level, if implemented, these projects will impact 45k farmers and regenerate 377k hectares of land, remove over 560k tons of carbon, and avoid over 5.3 million tons of carbon emissions over thirty years. Over the same implementation horizon, assuming a carbon price of $25 per ton for removal and $12 for avoidance, the portfolio will generate $77.6 million in revenue. 

These awards are a significant outcome for the CASH Coalition in its first year of operations and a direct consequence of our collective actions and ambition to create a portfolio of smallholder-focussed carbon projects and reward smallholders for climate action.

Determine if it is feasible to measure and verify the carbon emission mitigation levels on fields of no-burn rice farming practice adopters in Myanmar.

Member: Proximity Designs

Location: Delta agro-ecological region in Lower Myanmar 

Size: 2,500 farmers who own and manage more than 5,000 hectares of rice-growing land

Type of intervention: REDD

Project information

Advancing Conservation, Agriculture, and Livelihoods in Oromia (ACAL)

Member: Digital Green Foundation 

Location: Belete Gera Forest (Gera, Gomma, and Shebe Sombo Woredas), Jimma Zone, Oromia Region, Ethiopia.

Size: 3,336 hectares of agroforestry

Type of intervention: Agroforestry

Project information

The Zoró REDD+ & Reforestation Project: carbon mitigation and strengthening of seed bank for supporting indigenous livelihoods, biodiversity conservation and climate stewardship in the Brazilian Amazon

Member: Forest Trends

Location: Zoró Indigenous Territory, Northwest of Mato Grosso state, Brazil

Size: The total size of Zoró Indigenous Territory is over 355,000.00 hectares. The project focus area is 2,000 hectares, where the generation of carbon credits and restoration co-benefits will be assessed.

Type of intervention: REDD

Project information

Agroforestry for carbon and climate resilience: Building the capacity of local farmer businesses as carbon project partners

Member: Root Capital 

Location: Peru and/or Uganda

Size: 2,000 hectares

Type of intervention: Agroforestry

Project information


Economy of Love

Member: SEKEM (aka Egyptian Biodynamic Association)

Location: Egypt

Size: 12,000 ha

Type of intervention: Sustainable agriculture (soil carbon)

Project information