Carbon sequestration and other environmental and income benefits for small farmers in low income countries

TIST (The International Small group Tree planting programme) enables smallholder farmers in Africa and parts of India to improve their livelihoods and the environment by collecting seeds and planting trees on unused or degraded land, monitoring the carbon sequestered in the trees and generating income by selling verified carbon credits in the carbon market. More than 90,000 farmers have planted more than 19 million trees in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and India so far – and the number of farmers and trees being planted is increasing every day.

TIST is unusual in that it addresses simultaneously four important agendas:

  • Substantial income gains and improvements in livelihoods of smallholders on lower incomes in Africa and India;
  • Important quantified and audited non-carbon environmental benefits e.g. reduced deforestation/less scavenging for firewood, better diet (more fruit and nuts), better farming (more fodder/reduced inorganic fertiliser/better yields);
  • Growing trees/sequestering carbon addresses climate change agenda at no/low net cost; and
  • Gender neutral approach gives women and men equal rights and involvement in governance.

For more details in addition to TIST website see a brief overview of how TIST works and independent impact analysis of TIST in Kenya.

In 2016 EfD agreed to provide support to TIST to help it mobilise additional funding so that it could continue to grow. Rather than provide grant funding EfD set aside funds to cover the cost involved in providing the input in-house. The result was a presentation to prospective funders. Since 2016 TIST has secured funding from several corporate partners including Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Taylors Tea (owner of Yorkshire tea brand) which has enabled it to continue to grow.

In 2019, in light of the increased interest in afforestation as a means of addressing climate change, EfD agreed with TIST to provide further support with a view to mobilising additional funding for TIST. The updated presentation that has been developed is available here.