UGANDA – The OCP Foundation, in collaboration with the African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI), an affiliation of Morocco’s science innovation hub Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), has inaugurated an initiative to support green-financed agronomy projects in Uganda.

The initiative aims to increase coffee production and boost the income of smallholder farmers working with Ankole Coffee Producers Co-operative Union Ltd (ACPCU) by leveraging green carbon finance to improve agronomy for smallholders cultivating coffee grains in the East African country.

Dubbed “Green Carbon, Livelihoods and Resilience in Ugandan Smallholder Coffee Systems,” the initiative will objectively conduct farmer-led experimentation for improved coffee yield and quality, diversification of coffee systems, and researching the potential for additional carbon credits created through adequate soil management practices.

A carbon credit is a tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit a set amount of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of different greenhouse gas (tCO2e).

The type of credit is a financing tool that sustainable project holders can use to finance future products. This means a holder of a sustainable project that reduces emissions can sell the carbon credit to other companies to help them reach their carbon reduction goals.

According to a statement from UM6P, the project involves a long list of stakeholders from the public and private sectors, including Uganda’s Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), and ACPCU.

Additionally, the National Agricultural Research Organization in Uganda (NARO), UM6P, the international NGO Producers Direct, and the Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (Ecotrust) are also part of the stakeholders.

Under the initiative umbrella, researchers and practitioners from the partner institutions met in Kampala and Mbarara, Uganda, between February 1 and 4 to deliberate on the project’s implementation and to share experiences on best practices.

The participating institutions hope the project will improve the know-how of stakeholders along the coffee value chain, address challenges related to climate change, and improve the production of ACPCU farmers in Uganda through NARO.

During the deliberation meeting, Bamuhangaine Nicodemus of ACPCU said: “The project comes at a time when coffee production is stressed with issues of climate change and its farmers are in strong need of adaptation strategies. The project will support efforts to, “avert the effects” of climate change on coffee production in Uganda.”

 “It is also important because it focuses on diversifying the incomes of farmers in a way that conserves the environment. Our project is designed to support farmers’ aspirations for their farms and to address the different shocks they often experience along the coffee value chain.”

Commenting on the initiative, OCP Foundation’s International Portfolio Lead, Hassina Moukhariq said apart from strengthening the collaboration among farmers leading to improved markets and better agricultural practices, the project will also “accelerate the diversification of opportunities.

According to Moukhariq, the diversification will strengthen the coffee system and new agriculture systems, helping Uganda “become an inspiring model for many other countries.”

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