Gaia Foundation, African Biodiversity Network (ABN), Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) & EcoNexus
South African president Jacob Zuma has declared his intention to have a decision on Agriculture at
the UN COP17 climate negotiations in Durban; while the World Bank is promoting so-called “Climate
Smart Agriculture” and carbon offsets as the future of African agriculture and climate solutions.
But civil society groups in Durban are concerned that this vision for African agriculture will lead to
land grabs, farmer poverty and food insecurity, and only worsen global climate change.
Teresa Anderson of the Gaia Foundation says “An agreement on Agriculture at COP17 would
supposedly be a consolation prize to Africa for failure on legally binding targets – but the consolation
prize is a poisoned chalice. It will lead to land grabs and deliver African farmers into the hands of
fickle carbon markets.”
“This is a diversion, and a betrayal of the real need to reduce emissions. It will only worsen climate
change and food insecurity.” Adds Helena Paul of EcoNexus.
Simon Mwamba of the East African Small Scale Farmers’ Federation explains: “Climate Smart
Agriculture is being presented as sustainable agriculture – but the term is so broad that we fear it is
a front for promoting industrial, ‘green revolution’ agriculture too, which traps farmers into cycles of
debt and poverty.”
Anne Maina of the African Biodiversity Network adds “Climate Smart Agriculture comes packaged
with carbon offsets. Soil carbon markets could open the door to offsets for GM crops and large-scale
biochar land grabs, which would be a disaster for Africa. Africa is already suffering from a land grab
epidemic – the race to control soils for carbon trading could only make this worse.”
The current collapse of carbon markets will mean that offsets will fail to provide money for African
agriculture and farmers.
“There is no money for agriculture in Africa from carbon offsets. The financial structure of Climate
Smart Agriculture is built on evaporating carbon markets. Carbon markets are in collapse, and
projects will have unreliable and inadequate finance.” Adds Steve Suppan of IATP.
More than 100 African and international civil society groups have written to African
ministers imploring them to reject agriculture carbon markets. (View the letter at http://