Reduced deforestation and Improved Food Security by Carbon Green Africa
Reduce deforestation and land degradation and improving food security and rural livelihoods through community based projects for the long term to mitigate climate change.
In recent years Zimbabwe has suffered hugely due to economic collapse resulting in over 80% unemployment which has caused people to look to other means of survival. This has come at the expense of the country’s natural environment where large numbers of people have been forced to eke out a living in rural areas as small scale subsistence farmers, putting massive pressure on the natural environment thus becoming the main drivers of deforestation. This has caused the deforestation rate in Zimbabwe to soar to over 350 000 hectares of forests being clear every year placing the nation as having one of the highest deforestation rates in the world.
Every year more and more land is being cleared through slash and burn practices for the sake of trying to find more fertile soil. Carbon Green Africa intends to provide alternative activities to the rural communities through improved land management practices with a focus on climate smart agricultural and cattle grazing techniques in a manner whereby these 2 activities are interdependent of each other for the benefit of all the participants and improve the state of the natural environment through reduced soil capping through managed cattle grazing which improves grass growth and reduce the need to clear more land for cropping by improving soil fertility on a smaller manageable land area and increasing yield. This in turn is aimed at reducing deforestation and land degradation whilst at the same time improving food security and livelihoods and reducing the overall greenhouse gas emissions.
What actions do you propose?
• Conduct farmer field school training and empower people with the knowledge on the principles of climate smart agriculture integrated with climate smart cattle grazing so as to become less dependent on foreign aid and become more self sufficient.
• Establish an initial pilot project whereby crop farmers and cattle owners work together to improve the soil condition and fertility thus increasing grazing quality and condition and improving crop yields.
•This will be done by implementing a free range grazing plan based on a rotational basis in a given area over a period of time annually according to the seasons to avoid over grazing. The cattle will be breaking up all the soil capping whilst at the same time fertilizing and allow for better grass seed germination resulting in more grazing the following season.
•Crop farmers then allow the cattle to be contained on the intended field for cropping at night to fertilize and break up the soil. This reduces the need to use inorganic fertilizer whilst at the same time improving yields. Any surplus grain can be supplement fed to the cattle thus improving the quality of beef and attract a more competitive price from the open market.
•As grazing improves then so can the cattle carrying capacity increase accordingly and more cropping farmers can be incorporated to meet the numbers of cattle resulting in greater yields all round and therefore more food production and greater food security.
•These communities would benefit from working together being dependent on each other for their needs and create a macro economy within their rural areas creating their own economic incentives which would be independent of other broader economic woes or failures.
•Excess manure can be collected to feed a communal biogas digester for gas production which can be used as an alternative fuel for cooking thus reducing further deforestation.
•The by-product from the manure in the biogas digester is a very rich organic fertilizer which can be used by the communities for their crops.
•Many other farming practices can be incorporated into this scheme for e.g. nutritional gardening and beekeeping. The gardens would benefit from the manure/organic fertilizer and beekeepers would benefit from more food available for their bees due to increased crop production and natural food plants.
•Due to the increased importance of grass for grazing there will be a reduction of wild uncontrolled fires which contributes to around 30% of greenhouse gases. Less frequency of fires in itself further reduces deforestation and land degradation and increase the chance of seedlings to grow to their full potential.
•Where droughts and floods are becoming an increasing reality and the effects thereof being more noticeable more so by poor rural communities, the benefits of such activities will provide further incentives and bring about changes in behavioral norms encouraging further adoption by other communities.
Who will take these actions?
These actions will be facilitated by Carbon Green Africa, supported by local government and owned by the local communities.
Carbon Green Africa will ensure that the correct training and implementation requirements are carried out correctly.
Local government as the planning and development authority will support this on the ground with the knowledge and understanding of the much need benefit which such activities will bring.
Communities will play the main roles of implementation as they are the custodians of the land and their future depends on it and should take ownership of the project.
Where will these actions be taken?
This program will be implemented across for districts in the northern parts of rural Zimbabwe. The positive effects of such a program could be easily adopted, replicated and scaled up by other communities in the country or regionally, even internationally depending on the geographic location and environmental conditions.
How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?
All the relevant details in regard to this section can be found following this link; http://www.vcsprojectdatabase.org/#/project_details/902
What are other key benefits?
In addition to the benefits already mentioned above under the section “What actions do you propose?” other key benefits would be;
•Improved general health and wellbeing as a result of greater food security.
•Increased mental alertness and learning capabilities due to improved health and improved diets.
•Increased access to safe potable drinking water through greater rain water infiltration thus improving the underground water table and increasing the strength of boreholes.
•Improved economic incentives
•Fewer occurrences of wild fires
•Increased vegetative ground cover which will reduce soil erosion and runoff.
•Increased source of meat protein from cattle reducing pressure on wildlife.
What are the proposal’s costs?
The projected costs to implement the proposed integrated climate smart agriculture and cattle grazing plan to cover the majority of the land area available within each district is difficult to calculate at this stage. However it is estimated based on current running costs that the implementation of a pilot project will cost in the region of $50 000.00. A more accurate cost of the long-term requirements would be available once a pilot project has been implemented.
No negative side effects of the project proposal are foreseen.
•Short term – 3 to 4 pilot projects (1 in each district) can be implemented and initial results realized within 5 years. Given the nature of the project it would require a minimum of 3 seasons to see the real impact and results and compare it to the before/without project scenario.
•Medium term – significant scaling up to more communities and include other rural farming practices. This scaling up and replication will be due to a natural adoption of the project by other communities once the visual benefit is there for all to see.
•Long term – Given the benefits as already described above the project life time has every reason to continue making positive impact to direct and indirect participants and beneficiaries. With positive results, by this time the successes of this project will be well known and documented and should therefore be supported in the long term.
Sufficient references should be found in the link already supplied in the proposal text.