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Lee Snyder

Xtreme Farming

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Addressing World Hunger by Enabling Farmers in Developing Nations to "Grow" Carbon Credits and Food Concurrently.

At last years’ World Food Prize Symposium, Greg Page, Cargill’s CEO, identified “four basic things (that) are required for smallholders (farmers in developing nations) to be successful: the opportunity to plant the right crop in the right soil; property rights; increased revenue certainty; and access to open markets.”

For a lot of years I’ve been working to find a way to jump start the process of motivating and enabling farmers in developing nations to grow more food.

One answer might be to introduce an opportunity for farmers to grow carbon credits. The idea circumvents many of the problems seen in current initiatives designed to improve global agriculture, and could revolutionize how we help the people who can best affect global hunger.

It works by leveraging a bunch of best practices, including micro financing, sustainable agriculture, green technologies, and social networking to give farmers in developing nations the advice, tools, and resources they need to grow carbon credits, and indirectly grow more food.

World Bank is a champion of this cause, and has hundreds of projects that sequester carbon or complete work using solar, wind, or human power instead of machines. These projects generate carbon offset credits that can be traded on the International Carbon Market. Offsets are generated by growing crops, so farmers earn income in two ways from the same crop; from carbon credits and from the sale of food at local markets.

What if there was an organization dedicated to helping smallholders grow carbon credits? Advice would enable farmers to generate credits while meeting Mr. Page’s requirements: the opportunity to plant the right crop in the right soil (with the goal of generating credits); property rights (credits can be generated on marginal public and private land); increased revenue certainty (with an additional revenue stream for farmers); and access to open markets (controlled by the global carbon credit market). Your thoughts?

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    Mar 9 2011: Hello Lee, It sounds like a fascinating suggestion to me.