Apr 25
April 25, 2014

How Farmers Are Benefiting From Carbon Credits in Nine Photos


Smallholder farmers in Malawi are increasingly threatened by environmental changes, deforestation, and poor land management which lead to diminishing economic opportunities. The Clinton Development Initiative established the Trees of Hope project in 2007 to address these negative effects of climate change and improve the livelihoods of rural farmers in the Dowa and Neno districts of Malawi. Trees of Hope encourages farmers to plant trees through providing strategic land use systems which reduces deforestation and allows rural Malawians to profit from sequestered CO2 in the form of carbon credit sales. With extra income generated through the Trees of Hope program, rural smallholder farmers can gain access to things such as livestock, transportation, household improvements, savings, and pay for an education for their children.

Check out nine photos on how Trees of Hope is helping improve smallholder farmers’ livelihoods.

In Malawi, 90% of the country lives on less than 800 kwacha, or $2 USD per day. The Trees of Hope project provides farmers with ecosystem, climate, and livelihood benefits. The added incomes generated through the project greatly benefits the rural population.

The annual deforestation rate in Malawi is 3.9%. Reforesting farmland is an essential part of the Trees of Hope framework. This citrus field is still young, but will soon grow into a fruit-bearing orchard and provide farmers with crops to both sell and use as a food source.

This woman is holding wood that she has harvested from a  Gliricidia sepium woodlot near her compound. In Malawi, women spend an average of three hours a day collecting firewood for their daily needs. Planting woodlots near the villages reduces that time it takes to harvest wood.

Through their participation with Trees of Hope, these farmers have increased their purchasing power and have opened bank accounts in their names. The World Bank has noted that only 10% of all Malawians have access to formal financial services.

This farmer was able to purchase a pig to improve her family’s food security with her increased income through the sale of carbon credits from Trees of Hope. A mature pig cost about $112 USD, almost 20% of the annual household consumption in kwacha per capita for this farmer’s family.

With the extra income earned from the Trees of Hope, this female farmer  has able to purchase a kid goat which is providing her with a secure source of food.  Food security and access to animal source protein is limited throughout rural villages in Malawi.

Electrification rates in Malawi are said to be the lowest in East Africa, with only 9% of the population having access to this resource. The percentage is even lower in the rural villages. From earning extra income through Trees of Hope, this farmer was able to purchase a solar panel to charge his electronic devices.

This man has intercropped his mango orchard with groundnuts. As the trees are still young, they have not yet shaded out the groundnuts. Intercropping provides the farmer and his family with two sources of food (mango and groundnut) from the same field. The brownish leaves on the mango trees indicate healthy new growth.

In Malawi, school fees are very expensive. Most people pay 48,000 kwacha a year per child, or $120 USD. This man was able to pay the school fees for his two boys, and have money left over to buy an umbrella and a radio.

This weekend, CDI will be highlighting its projects that are working to combat climate change while providing farmers with livelihood benefits. Join us at the New York City Green Festival® on April 26th and 27th at Pier 94 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The Green Festival® is a sustainability event where companies and organizations converge to showcase their green products and services, and where individuals go to learn how to live healthier, more sustainable lives. The Festival provides the opportunity for the public and organizations to meet and work towards building awareness and relationships around sustainable living practices.