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Turning cashew farming in Benin into a win-win for climate and community

In the heart of West Africa, lies the Republic of Benin within which the Cashew Captures Carbon Project, led by Away4Africa, turns cashew farming into a project that benefits both climate and community well-being.

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A New Age for Cashew Farming

Traditional cashew farming methods and processing can pose significant environmental and socio-economic challenges. Excessive deforestation, land degradation, reduced biodiversity and the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers has impacted both land and water, hurting local communities. Workers often face health hazards from manual shelling and issues like low wages and child labor. 

The Cashew Captures Carbon Project from Away4Africa hopes to change this narrative. Cashew plantations prove to both remove carbon and improve soil quality. This project aims to develop a system where every tree contributes to the greater good, every fruit plucked adds to the community, and every plot of land combats climate change.

By focusing on productive and resilient production systems, this project has tapped into the potential of cashew trees to sequester carbon and break the cycle of poverty that leads to deforestation trends. The climate impact is recorded, quantified and validated. A data-driven approach, a blend of on-ground farmer inputs and cutting-edge earth observations, ensures transparency and accuracy from beginning to end.

The Power of Independent Validation and Verification

The credibility of the project is reinforced by SoilWatch, known for its expertise in sustainable land use and remote sensing, as the project's verifier. Their role has been instrumental in monitoring the farmer-collected data (using the FarmerLink app) and affirming its authenticity with a scientifically rigorous and transparent methodology. 

Proba, on the other hand, has turned this trust into tangible value. By issuing high-quality carbon credits, they have ensured that the earnest efforts of 600 cashew farmers in Benin are rewarded in the global voluntary carbon market. These carbon credits, backed by solid data, are used by Hollander Techniek, neutralizing an impressive annual net emission of 1,600 tCO₂ per year.

Reaping the Rewards

For the 600 cashew farmers affiliated with the FENAPAB cooperation, their efforts to sequester carbon in 1,250 hectares of cashew plantations have resulted in an additional revenue boost, with a 9% increase on top of their usual cashew sales.

At the center of this project is the synergy between Hollander Techniek, Away4Africa, and FENAPAB. Their collaborative ethos ensures that farmers are empowered to keep investing in their lands, nurturing cashew plantations that are robust pillars for a sustainable future.

A Sustainable Vision for the Future

The Cashew Captures Carbon Project is not a local initiative. The project shows what can be achieved when smart data is used, combined with a focus on doing good for the planet and communities. As such, it provides a model for scalability and applicability to other crops in the region. A future where farming is about nurturing the planet and its people.