The South African AgriCarbon Programme FAQ’s
1. What data does the farmer need to share to participate in the programme?
Farmers will be required to share information about their farmland management activities on the enrolled fields throughout the year. This information is used to verify and audit their change in practices and to calculate the total GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emission reductions.
Data to be submitted to CNG will include the following:
- Details of soil type and quality (texture, carbon content, etc.)
- Soil sampling depth
- Harvest information (crop, yield, etc.)
- Tillage practices
- Cropping practice (intercropping, crop rotation, etc.)
- Grazing systems and techniques
- Handling of crop residues
- Organic and inorganic fertilizer use data (types, quantities, methods of application etc.)
- On farm fuel and water consumption
2. What is in it for the farmers when they share their data with CNG?
With the submitted data, CNG can calculate the carbon potential of the farmers agricultural land with respect to their change in practices. Based on the calculated potential CNG will be able to determine the famers eligibility to join the programme and the period the farmer can be credited for. Going forward, the data provided by the farmer will then serve as the baseline.
3. Which improved practices should farmers adopt?
Adopting regenerative agriculture takes time and effort but the benefits are significant. The key is in first appreciating the power of diversity on the farm and then understanding that the farmers must learn how to work with it and still make a profit. Each farm has a unique set of challenges when transitioning to regenerative agriculture. Each transformation journey is different. Staying engaged and creative is of utmost importance because there is no simple formula fit for all. So, farmers are encouraged to work closely with technical service providers (agronomists, soil health specialists, soil testing laboratories etc.) to get advice on what changes best suit their needs.
Key methods adopted by farmers in our programme include
- No-till cropping and precision agriculture + moderate use of agrochemicals
- Diversifying annual cropping systems to include legumes, perennial crops and forages in rotations;
- Cover crops in conjunction with row crops;
- Re-integrating grazing animals into cropping systems;
- Applying biotic fertilizer formulations boosting soil microbial systems and mycorrhizal function
- Improving grazing management, converting marginal and degraded cropland to permanent pasture and forests, and restoring wetlands
To get an in-depth understanding of how farms are included you can review the “Methodology for improved agricultural land-use” here: VM 0042 methodology
4. How does the farmer know that their emission reductions and soil carbon sequestration are verified?
All farmers included in the AgriCarbon Programme have an individual contract with CNG. The farmers sustainable farming practices and the corresponding farm management data are verified on an ongoing basis before the credits are issued. This is done through the support from our technical partners, an independent international expert verification body SCS Global who ensures that the credits are real, valid, and approved in line with the VERRA global standard. It is of utmost importance for this whole process to be robust and well documented. That is why we have experienced local and international partners supporting the data collection process and verifying the programme.
5. When do I have to change my farming and land management practices to participate in the programme?
Farmers are encouraged to register at the start of their growing season based on improved land management practices that begun after the last harvest and before initiatives have begun for next year’s harvest.
It is important to note that section 3.5.16 of the VM 0042 methodology (Inclusion of New Project Activity) New project activity instances shall:
7) Be eligible for crediting from the start date of the instance through to the end of the project crediting period (only). Note that where a new project activity instance starts in a previous verification period, no credit may be sought for GHG emission reductions or removals generated during a previous verification period (as set out in Section 3.4.4) and new instances are eligible for crediting from the start of the next verification period.
This means that farmers with historical soil data will only be able to generate carbon offset revenue if their data is included in the first round of verification.
6. When will farmers receive their payment?
Farmers will receive payment within 30 days of the sale of the Verified Carbon Units (VCU’s) by Climate Neutral Group, or by the 31 December annually ie: farmers in this first round of verification will be paid by 31 December 2022 at the latest.
7. How much does the farmer get paid?
The minimum price paid to the farmer is R60 per ton of carbon for the first year enrollment. However the payment rate is a percentage of the sales price realised by CNG, as such higher sales prices mean more carbon income to the farmer.
8. Can my farm consultant/technical support help me get started?
CNG has partnered with several agricultural companies and service providers who we can assist farmers depending on their needs. These programme partners are already working with several other farmers who you can learn from, and who can help with advice, planning and implementation. We have made sure that we partner with entities that are well equipped to help you get started, and are aware of how the programme’s data management works. If your consultant is not enrolled and equipped to guide you, please share their contact information, and we will help them get started.
However, as long as data is well managed, farmers need not rely on consultants to secure their inclusion in the programme.
9. How long do I have to commit?
Farmers are encouraged to commit to the programme for at least 5 years by paying them out a loyalty reward at the end of the term, with automatic 1 year renewal thereafter. However, programme membership can be unsubscribed at any time, but the farmers risks losing some carbon revenue.
10. What does it cost to participate?
Signing up for the programme is free. However, the farmer is responsible for providing the required soil test results for all the enrolled fields. Wherever possible, soil sampling and testing should be done according to CNG guidelines, using reputable laboratories and international sampling & test methods and practices.
11. How does CNG ensure that the farmer gets paid the right amount for the credits they generate, and that the calculations thereof are correct?
A combination of soil testing, soil organic carbon modelling and other GHG data quantification methods will be used to calculate the credit volumes. The quality of these calculations is ensured by many initiatives such as 3rd party verification and validation of activities and data, checking for additionality and deducting uncertainty calculations. Various local agriculture service providers are also actively involved in some stages of this process. CNG, an appointed independent auditor SCS Global and the VERRA standards body ensure that all parameters count and weigh in correctly in the equations used so that the carbon potential is not overestimated. All this is done to ensure that farmers in the programme have a valuable and reliable product that they can count on yearly.