We would like to take this opportunity to share with you the updates on the progress made by the Centre for Grower-centric EcoValue Mechanisms (cgem.org.in) over the past year.
About C-GEM: C-GEM accelerates climate mitigation and adaptation benefit to the local communities by scaling the adoption of agroecological practices at the grassroots level by leveraging climate, ecosystem, and carbon financing instruments. We are the only not-for-profit initiative in the world that focuses on growers and negotiates the market on their behalf.
We believe that farmers deserve to be paid fairly for the risks they take, the efforts they put in, and the benefits they provide to the ecosystem by transitioning to natural farming/agroecological principles. We achieve this by partnering with farmers and negotiating on their behalf in the Payment for Ecosystem Services market. This helps us onboard farmers at scale, making the transition process smoother and more accessible.
- Make ecosystem markets fair, accessible, and remunerative for smallholder farmers transitioning to sustainable farming practices.
- Increase Market transparency for public stakeholders by democratising - market understanding, insights and intelligence.
- Anchor critical communities of stakeholders around Ecosystem services and carbon credit markets to keep ourselves and the market accountable to communities.
We have divided the thread into quarterly segments and provided key updates and learnings for each quarter below.
Q1 (July to October)
- Internal scoping study to identify geographies and activities to develop the first project.
- Market research and launch of perception mapping study (results pending)
- MoU with Soilify (GiZ and EarthAnalytics) to share data for Development and receive technical maps and expertise over their product.
- Product strategy and market traction formulation.
- Many shops are running banks on information asymmetry and trading of emission certificates
- Not many domestic players disrupting dMRV protocols and systems aimed at reducing cost and time
- Fickle businesses, risk premiums, and volatile commodity markets characterise current processes.
Q2 (November - January):
- Shortlisted eight out of all the Indian project developers in the market for the first programme
- Identified a project area with AKRSPI to pilot the carbon programme for regen agri
- Launched a second version of our website (cgem.org.in) with a curated knowledge repository and resource materials.
- Launched Linkedin and Twitter channels
- It takes 2.5 to 3 years for a project to deliver issuance
- Each issuance is a product with its story and different prices for the same metric unit. Additionality, permanence, and co-benefits are the most valued.
- There is a significant investment barrier to developing and implementing a project for three years before issuance. Need to find funding opportunities.
Q3 (February to April '23):
- Selected two Project Developers based on their alignment with principles, values, and offerings.
- Facilitated the paperwork and negotiations between Varaha and AKRSPI for a 30000 ha regenerative agri project in the cotton belt region of Saurashtra
- First such project to talk about data protection and data sharing rights of farmers in writing.
- Supporting facilitation between Gram Vikas Trust and Fair Climate Fund in Odisha for an agroforestry project.
- Successfully Conducted a training programme for field managers’ of Shramjeevi NGO regarding the basic understanding of Carbon Markets and project nuances.
- Key participant in an advocacy group anchored by Vikalp Sangam
- An NGO’s reputational risk and implementation cost do not feature in conversations. The project development cost, investors’ capital risk, and buyers’ product risk take the limelight.
- The volatile and feeble but growing market currently cannot offtake all the costs and risks of the farmers for a sustainable transition.
Since May '23 -
- Planned meeting with RCRC, Sajjata Sangh, FoTF, and Gujarat NCNF members to orient them toward carbon markets, risks, and challenges
- Official Carbon service representative for Sanjog NGO
- Completed stakeholder consultations for the AKRSPI project
- Planned Orientation workshop for Vikalp Sangam’s Advocacy group.
We have started the footwork to make community-centric climate financing a reality in this nation. We are ever so grateful for different people, including our mentors, our sponsor AKRSPI, and our funder Rainmatter Foundation for loving us, supporting us, and motivating us on this one-of-a-kind experimental journey.
We hope this update gives you an overview of our activities over the past year. We are committed to continuing our efforts to support the sustainable development of agriculture in the region and look forward to your continued support.
The Centre for Grower-centric EcoValue Mechanisms (cgem.org.in)
In our wishlist from continued discussions, we have identified niche solutions for some of the challenges in the broader market, like -
a. We would want to sequence a scheme-based fund to reduce the financial barriers for our implementing partners to unlock the power of small groups,
b. institute a grassroots, accessible fintech platform to disburse and track direct benefits to the farmers while protecting their data,
c. Study the pricing strategies and willingness to pay from a buyers perspective, etc
with which we would need all your help and collaboration. If any of this interests you or you want to know more about our work - Kindly reach out to me at [email protected] or my colleague at [email protected]