Decreased tilling + decreased fertilizer = increased crop.
If that sounds a bit counter-intuitive, then you should hear about Low Carbon Farming (LCF).
Most modern agricultural practices are caught up in the ever-increasing cycle of chemical fertilizers. A farmer who uses a certain amount of chemicals on his fields, finds that the quantity required increases with each year, to ensure the same yield. LCF promotes sustainable forms of agriculture using practices like reduced tilling, minimal or no usage of chemical fertilizers, planting multiple crops for biodiversity, and anaerobic composting. Two main sources of carbon related to agriculture are the use of chemical fertilizers and tilling the soil which releases trapped carbon. LCF practices preserve the carbon content of the soil that would otherwise be depleted by the more traditional methods of modern farming.
SEDS and 4 other NGOs make up the 'Fair Climate Network-LCF' group that aims to implement sustainable agricultural practices over 8,000 hectares of land. In a historic first, this 1-year pilot project also aims to quantify and translate the amount of carbon reduced or preserved into Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) that can then be traded on the Carbon Credit market. Out of its target of 819 farmers, SEDS has already reached out to 620 farmers through farmer field schools.
With a lot riding on the success and lessons learnt from this pilot project, this sustainable venture looks set to yield results next year.
[The article originally written by Amit Manikoth, for SEDS's 30 years celebration. This is simply a reproduction.]