Overview

Benefits of ASI's Approach

ASI is aware of the needs, potential problems and resource demands often implicit in starting new projects in Africa. For this reason, we will lead a group of organizations that are already implementing a number of successful African CSA projects in introducing biochar and additional agro-forestry in their existing “at scale” grazing and farming projects or in landscape restoration.

 

Added to the often-poor soils of the tropics, especially when co-composted with natural fertilizers, biochar sequesters carbon, significantly increases food yields, enables the soil to retain more moisture and nutrients, and in its production can generate renewable energy. Planting high-value perennial tree and shrub crops in combination with the use of biochar as a soil amendment will pull additional carbon out of the air to be stored in above-ground biomass and in root systems that also contribute to soil health. Biochar can be produced inexpensively on a small scale by subsistence farmers with cook stoves or kilns, using on-hand materials as well as produced on medium and larger commercial scales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The use of biochar is a cost-effective way to enrich agricultural soils and restore highly degraded and toxic soils in order to:

 

  • Improve food security;

  • Reduce and sequester GHG emissions and build agricultural resilience to climate change;

  • Increase crop and grazing productivity; 

  • Increase farm revenues and help alleviate poverty;

  • Improve water retention in soils and water quality in watersheds;

  • Expand the amount of viable agricultural land; and

  • Create renewable energy.

Project Examples​

ASI, together with consortium partners, will engage on a number of diverse biochar projects.  Examples of possible projects include the following:

 

  • Introduction of biochar and additional agro-forestry in the Kulera Malawi CSA land-scape/REDD+ project to help smallholder farmers and herdsmen who are also part of a Total Land Care CSA landscape project and a Terra Global Capital REDD+ project (65,000 farmers).

  • Production and use of biochar for Rainforest Alliance projects with cacao cooperatives in Ivory Coast representing a cross section of cocoa and coffee farming regions with greatest concentration in the Southwest (potential for up to 63 cooperatives, 24,000 farmers).

  • Conversion of invasive species to biochar for soil amendment in dry grazing lands managed by the Kenyan Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT). Potential of up to 1.8 million acres with invasive acacia trees that could be converted to biochar upon removal and added to soil to improve grazing for herdsmen in the NRT managed lands and crop productivity for small farmers surrounding the nearby LEWA Conservancy or used in nurseries.
     

  • Conversion of fuel wood to biochar and electricity in large scale projects managed by technical partners
    of the Evergreening Global Alliance where trees grown for wood and fertilizer have been integrated into
    crop and livestock production. Potentially further improving soil quality and conserving water resources
    for hundreds of thousands of smallholders in Africa while generating green electricity. For example, in
    addition to 13 other countries, evergreening agriculture practices have been introduced through
    Evergreening Global Alliance partners in areas of Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia where some 500,000
    farmers cultivate their crops.

Expected Results
ASI's work introducing biochar and agroforestry will bring a large number of expected results, including:

  • Documented results of the application of biochar and/or additional agroforestry on a scale larger than employed to date on increased agricultural output and/or soil quality improvement in eight or more projects

  • Documented contribution to climate change mitigation and resilience and additional co-benefits: energy and electricity generation through the heat or combustible gases created while producing biochar, decreased deforestation pressures, improved water use efficiency, watershed protection; and economic benefits

  • Dissemination of Information, both within and outside the consortium, on successful biochar feedstock, production methods, soil type, and crop combinations as well as economic, financial, marketing, and productivity data to advise farmers and future agricultural/soil remediation plans.

  • Formulation of a decision support system to provide a framework for determining conditions (soil condition, availability of input materials, site infrastructure etc.) where biochar makes sense, so that organizations that want to include biochar can evaluate options for themselves.