Intellecap, part of the Avishkaar Group and the Transform Rural India Foundation (TRIF), on Monday announced the launch of a national carbon finance platform that will help Indian smallholder farmers leverage climate/ carbon finance for sustainable agro-forestry, climate smart agriculture and other activities that can result in carbon sequestration and mitigation.

The platform will bring together more than one million smallholder farmers, who will be provided support and training for climate smart agriculture and agro-forestry, Intellecap said in a statement.

Globally, there is a growing demand for carbon credits from projects that provide co-benefits such sa community economic development, improved health outcomes, biodiversity enhancement and gender equality. However, Indian carbon producers are unable to reap the benefits due to poor awareness about climate/ carbon financing mechanisms, limited technical capacity to design and implement high-quality carbon projects, lack of clarity on fair price sharing and legal arrangements, among other aspects. There is need for a platform that would enhance the capacity of smallholder farmers to effectively participate in the voluntary carbon market, Intellecap said.

The newly launched platform will play a key role in empowering smallholder farmers by generating awareness on different types of carbon projects such as agroforestry, clean cooking and waste management. It will also look at enhancing the technical capacity to design and implement high-quality carbon projects at scale, supporting monetisation of carbon assets and pre-financing projects, establishing rules on fair practices for carbon benefit sharing, improving the resilience of vulnerable communities to climate change through improved watershed, cooler microclimate, soil erosion prevention, and enhanced biodiversity.

The platform will register different types of carbon offset projects in which smallholder farmers would be able to participate and benefit from the monetisation of carbon credits generated under an independent carbon crediting mechanism in the voluntary carbon market. The global voluntary carbon market is expected to be worth $200 billion by 2050. The platform is in discussion with Indian and global corporates who are keen to participate and support smallholder farmers by purchasing carbon credits from these projects.

Anish Kumar, Co-Lead, TRIF said: “We are excited about launching this platform, which will provide fair pricing while ensuring an increase in income of smallholder farmers and vulnerable communities as well as supporting India in achieving its net zero goals sustainably. While climate finance and carbon finance are becoming a major source of financing climate action for enterprises and big corporates, smallholder farmers struggle to get access to climate finance for projects that not only produce climate outcomes, but also create jobs and build the resilience of local communities. This platform aims to be the guide and champion of smallholder farmers for climate/ carbon finance.”

Santosh K. Singh, Managing Director-Agri and Climate, Intellecap said, “We are committed to increasing smallholder farmers’ income and transitioning them to climate smart agriculture. Climate finance, specifically carbon finance, provides these farmers an opportunity to undertake climate action projects, which would not be possible in the absence of carbon finance. The platform also helps corporates and other stakeholders who are committed to net zero goals and looking to offset their residual carbon footprint from projects, which not only give them carbon emission reduction but also empower and benefit local communities. We already see huge demand for carbon emission reduction certificates from the voluntary carbon market. This platform will help smallholder farmers participate in the carbon market seamlessly.