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Policy Program » Markets for Ecoagriculture

Contact Information

Contact: Lee Gross

Email: lgross@ecoagriculture.org

EcoAgriculture Partners is supporting a number of activities to understand and mobilize innovative product and ecosystem service markets. 


How we do it

  • building a knowledge base of costs, benefits, and impacts of market-based mechanisms for ecoagriculture
  • engaging with businesses to demonstrate the importance and profitability of integrated landscape management practices to risk reduction and supply chain resilience
  • supporting communities and producers that are developing cooperative market initiatives that have landscape benefits
  • strengthening standards and systems for labeling and eco-certification of agricultural products that ensure landscape-scale benefits


Recent work

  • Providing monitoring and evaluation on the biodiversity impacts of palm oil, soy, and cocoa certification systems to the Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Project (BACP) of the International Finance Corporation and Global Environment Facility
  • Exploring the potential for payments for ecosystem services (PES) initiatives to support smallholder agricultural development
  • Supporting community and producer groups to undertake market assessments and PES projects within selected ecoagriculture landscapes in East Africa and Mesoamerica
  • Developing a Learning Network on agri-environmental payments
  • Profiling farms, forests, and ranches that are participating in environmental markets or receiving payments for ecosystem services in the United States, through our Farm of the Future initiative

Recent program activities and announcements include:

 

Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program Website Live
Posted on 04 April 2014 by EcoAgriculture Partners

One of the key projects of the Markets for EcoAgriculture Program, which is a policy and research program, is the Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP) of the International Finance Corporation and Global Environmental Facility. The BACP provided monitoring and evaluation on the biodiversity impacts of palm oil, soy and coca certification systems in Latin America, Africa, and South Asia. 


We are pleased to announce the launch of the website of the program, which has recently ended. The website features infographics and details about the projects within the program, as well as an interactive map that details the partners and projects in the program.

Click here to read about the BACP and its accomplishments. 

Landscapes Initiative seeks consultant for market mechanisms research project - Terms of Reference available now!
Posted on 22 July 2013 by Louis Wertz

Overview of assignment

This assignment is an analysis and recommendations for market- and incentive-based mechanisms that can support ecoagriculture landscapes. Focusing on the primary audience of landscape decision-makers, including civil society groups, policymakers and business leaders, it will be a report on the range of market interventions that can be mobilized to support integrated landscape interventions, incentivizing farmers and other land managers to adopt eco-friendly practices and business models, to reduce costs of adoption, etc. It will be used as input to subsequent efforts to develop resources to support landscape stakeholder groups to develop market mechanisms within a landscape context.

Responses are due by August 2nd. For more information about the assignment, please download the full Terms of Reference

Landscape approaches help companies overcome tough climate and water risks, new report co-authored by EcoAg finds
Posted on 25 April 2013 by Louis Wertz

The new report, titled Reducing Risk: Landscape Approaches to Sustainable Sourcing is published by EcoAgriculture Partners on behalf of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative.


Along with co-authors Gabrielle Kissinger (Lexeme Consulting) and Andre Brasser (Beagle Sustainability Solutions), EcoAgriculture Partners's Lee Gross investigated 27 businesses engaged in what the researchers determined qualified as "landscape approaches" in at least one agricultural sourcing area. From these, three in depth case studies were conducted with Starbucks; Olam, a multinational agricultural supply chain management firm; and SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer. 

An advisory group of some of the world’s leading companies and business organizations, including Nestlé, Unilever, Mars, Olam International, Rio Tinto, Starbucks, SABMiller, and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development helped shape the research questions and provided feedback on drafts.

To find out more about the report and download a copy, please visit the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative website.

Shaping the future for agricultural carbon projects in Latin America
Posted on 25 September 2010 by Seth Shames and Sara J. Scherr


Below is an opinion piece originally published in the recent SinergiA newsletter - a collaboration between five Latin American PES networks. This edition of SinergiA focuses on agriculture's growing role in payments for ecosystem services schemes, and offers opinions, tools and methodologies, projects, publications, and events related to PES and agriculture in Latin America. SinergiA is available in Spanish, English, and Portuguese.


Though largely ignored in the rush to REDD, we contend that agricultural carbon initiatives are equally important to land-based carbon markets, both in Latin America and internationally. Without agricultural components, the integrity and viability of REDD projects is compromised, and the opportunity to develop carbon projects with strong co-benefits for food security, poverty reduction and ecosystem restoration is missed.


Agriculture accounts for 20% of total emissions in Latin America and the Caribbean. Large-scale commercial farms and ranches emit carbon via high use of fertilizer, tillage, irrigation and livestock wastes. Small - scale farmers live in landscape mosaics which store considerable carbon in perennial forest fragments, pastures, palms, hedges, scattered trees and crops. The landscapes contribute to emissions with widespread soil and vegetation degradation. The largest driver of deforestation is agriculture; its exclusion from climate mitigation frameworks makes REDD programs unsustainable.


Carbon markets must evolve to include agricultural mitigation activities. Examples include: reduced soil tillage intensity, reduced soil erosion, perennial crops that maintain root and branch systems year-round, vegetative soil cover, permanent vegetative cover in non-cropped areas, increased biomass in grazing systems through improved varieties and management, improved fertilizer use efficiency, improved livestock waste management and utilization of methane emissions for biogas; and reduced fossil energy use in farm operations. Such practices reduce farm risks and production costs, improve farmer incomes, protecting watershed services and conserve biodiversity. These benefits often exceed those of carbon payments in helping farmers shift to sustainable and profitable systems.


A movement is building to expand agricultural carbon markets globally. Certification standards are proliferating within voluntary markets. In regulatory markets, a work program on agriculture appears likely under the UNFCCC SBSTA coming out of the December COP in Cancun. It's time to move from small projects to whole supply chains and large landscape initiatives that support sustainable development.


Innovators in Latin America are leaders in mechanisms which reward farmers for stewardship.

  • The Regional Integrated Silvopastoral Ecosystem Management Project piloted the use of payments to promote carbon sequestration along with biodiversity conservation, through silvopastoral practices in degraded pastures in Colombia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
  • CEDECO (Corporaciã³n Educativa para el Desarrollo Costarricense), is developing the potential of small-scale organic farming in Costa Rica, Cuba and Brazil to reduce GHG emissions and sequester carbon, and exploring the potential of landscape-scale projects for 'carbon-plus-biodiversity' that could be branded by the conservation values they achieve.
  • Numerous regional projects are re-establishing or improving shade in coffee and cocoa plantations for carbon sequestration, and agricultural product certification programs are experimenting with climate-friendly labeling.

Despite inadequate field measurements in most Latin American farming systems, cost-effective MRV (monitoring, reporting, and verification) methods for field, farms and landscapes are rapidly developing. Colombia, Chile and Uruguay have joined the new Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, now focused on high-input commercial systems. FAO is establishing a center to collect GHG emissions data for diverse farming systems.


To be financially viable, agricultural carbon projects need to reduce transaction costs, reduce costs of aggregating large numbers of farmers in climate deals, reduce risks to farmers, and empower them to negotiate reasonable agreements. Fortunately, the agricultural sector can build carbon projects on existing institutions such as farmer cooperatives, agribusiness outgrowing schemes, and territorial development initiatives. Costs can be reduced with improved local capacity for project development and management, access to project pre-financing, and simplified MRV. Latin American leaders must engage in structuring logical, functional, and regionally appropriate agricultural carbon finance systems.


Also posted on EKOECO.

Agroforestry farms offset biodiversity loss in Costa Rica
Posted on 25 September 2010 by Michelle Soto M, La Nacion

Article title: "Fincas agroforestales contrarrestan pérdida de biodiversidad en el país" on La Nacion on 23 September 2010.


Las fincas que combinan sus cultivos con espacios boscosos ayudan a frenar la pérdida de biodiversidad, y a aumentar y mejorar la producción de café y cacao.


La combinación de actividades agrícolas y conservación del bosque se conoce como sistema agroforestal, y optar por él es tan simple como incluir árboles en la plantación o construir cercas vivas (formadas con árboles).


Según informes recientes de las Naciones Unidas, actualmente las especies de plantas y animales se pierden a un ritmo 100 veces mayor al natural.


Aumentan especies. Según Fabrice DeClerck, ecólogo de Comunidades y Paisaje, del Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (Catie), estudios realizados por esta institución han comprobado que en una finca agroforestal se observan más especies.


“Si en los alrededores de una cerca de postes muertos hay un promedio de 12 especies, una cerca viva puede tener entre 40 y 50 especies”, dijo DeClerck.


Otro ejemplo lo da el Proyecto de Cacao Centroamérica (PCC), una iniciativa del Catie y socios locales, que trabajan junto con 6.000 familias de seis países para aumentar la productividad de este cultivo sin dañar el ambiente.


Como parte del proyecto se han investigado las poblaciones de anfibios y reptiles.


En este sentido, se han registrado 22 especies de ranas y sapos en Talamanca, lo que representa el 10% del total de especies de este grupo que viven en Costa Rica.


Para Rolando Cerdas, responsable del PCC para Costa Rica y Panamá, esto evidencia la similitud existente en un sistema agroforestal de cacao.


“En un cacaotal de este tipo, la planta tira un montón de hojarasca y esto se vuelve un lugar ideal para anfibios y reptiles, así como para mamíferos que andan buscando sombra”, añadió Cerdas.


Una relación ganar-ganar. Asimismo, el finquero puede beneficiarse de los servicios que da el bosque en cuanto polinización, control de plagas, nutrientes y conservación del suelo y fuentes de agua.


“Por ejemplo, hemos medido y comparado la temperatura en las cercas vivas y las pasturas donde no hay sombra. En la época seca se han visto diferencias de hasta 10° Celsius”, dijo DeClerck.


Precisamente, el estrés térmico es una de las razones de baja productividad en ganado, y afecta en especial a las vacas que dan leche.


Una alta biodiversidad también ayuda con el control de plagas como la broca del café.


“En una de las investigaciones se colocaron trampas para la broca, tanto en el cafetal como en el bosque, y nos dimos cuenta de que los cafetales rodeados de árboles tenían menos problemas. El bosque cumple una función de barrera”, comentó el ecólogo del Catie.


Todos esos beneficios ambientales se traducen en una mayor y mejor producción.


Según un estudio de Taylor H. Ricketts en el 2004, publicado por la revista PNAS, un cafetal situado a 300 metros del bosque es más productivo y tiene menos frutos malformados que otro a un kilómetro de distancia.


Es más, el bosque de la finca que sirvió de objeto de estudio contribuyó con el equivalente a $60.000 en la producción total, lo cual representó el 7% de los ingresos de ese año.


“Claro, sin mercado o incentivos es muy difícil para los productores sostener un sistema agroforestal, pero existen oportunidades y cada vez son más”, apuntó Jeffrey Milder, director de Investigación de Socios para la Ecoagricultura, en referencia a los mercados diferenciados, donde se obtienen mejores precios si los productores cuentan con certificación ambiental.


Alternativa para ciudades. Para DeClerck, este modelo mixto podría replicarse en las urbes.


Debido a la combustión de fuentes fósiles y el reflejo de los rayos solares por el asfalto, las ciudades tienden a convertirse en “islas de calentamiento”.


Una mayor cobertura boscosa no solo ayudaría a reducir ese calor, también serviría de filtro de polución, lo cual mejoraría la calidad del aire. Además, se protegerían las fuentes de agua y se garantizaría el abastecimiento.

EcoAgriculture Partners evaluates agricultural carbon projects in Africa
Posted on 05 August 2010 by Seth Shames


In June, EcoAgriculture Partners completed a report with the support of USAID on “Institutional Models for Carbon Finance to Mobilize Sustainable Agricultural Development in Africa”. The project sought to develop an inventory of agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation projects in sub-Saharan Africa and characterize key elements of project design, with special attention to institutional arrangements. The study identified 81 projects in 24 countries, and documented implementation status, mitigation practices, developers/investors, field program managers, sellers, buyers, land tenure status and support services from other intermediaries.


The report also identified institutional gaps that are hampering the success of these projects and possible interventions to overcome them. These needs include low transaction costs, risk management for farmers, secure land tenure and carbon rights, sufficient incentives for farmers to participate, access to financing for farmers and project developers, project management and implementation capacity, and sufficient demand for agricultural credits. Based on the inventory and the institutional needs analysis, recommendations are offered regarding roles for various sectors and organizations to fill these gaps. Roles for national governments, community organizations, local and national NGOs, research institutions, international donors and the private sector are considered.


This report will be available shortly.


For more information, contact Seth Shames, sshames@ecoagriculture.org.


EcoAgriculture Partners studies feasibility of African Agricultural Carbon Facility
Posted on 05 August 2010 by Seth Shames


African Carbon Fund Feasibility Report cover

Download PDF, 724KB

In 2009 and early 2010, EcoAgriculture Partners collaborated with Forest Trends and Climate Focus to assess the feasibility of an African Agricultural Climate Finance Facility. The study examines the state and potential of African agricultural carbon projects and lays out pathways for developing new scalable climate finance transaction models to offer African smallholder farmers opportunities to mitigate climate change while transitioning to more sustainable farming systems with greater adaptive capacity.


This report was written by Charlotte Streck, Michael Coren, Sara J. Scherr, Seth Shames, Michael Jenkins, and Sissel Waage, with contributions from Timm Tennigkeit, and support from the Rockefeller Foundation. It is based on an extensive process that included interviews, roundtable discussions—with thought leaders in a range of fields from carbon finance through African agriculture— and a literature review. 


For more information, contact Seth Shames, sshames@ecoagriculture.org

First grants on biodiversity-friendly soy awarded
Posted on 04 June 2010 by Terhi Majanen


As the world’s second largest producer of soy, Brazil’s biodiversity is at risk in part due to the rapid expansion of production.  To move towards more sustainable practices, the Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP) has recently awarded two soybean sector grants in Brazil to Instituto de Pesquisa da Amazônia (IPAM) and Aliança da Terra (AT). The new grantees will be joining four BACP oil palm grantees (Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, Zoological Society of London, PanEco Foundation, Fauna & Flora International) whose projects are currently underway in Indonesia and Malaysia.

IPAM’s project will contribute to the scientific basis for assessing the biodiversity conservation value of soybean production frontiers in the Amazon. The project will use wild mammals as indicators of environmental health in agroindustrial landscapes and will examine ways to reduce freshwater pesticide contamination through alternative land management practices.  The project will be implemented in the Xingu River headwaters region in northeastern Mato Grosso, an area where most of the recent soy expansion has taken place.


AT’s project will expand the reach and scope of the organization’s Registry of Social-Environmental Responsibility (RSR) among soy producers in the Xingu River Basin. The RSR system collects information on rural properties and establishes areas for corrective action, with the aim to gradually improving social and environmental management. The process also identifies where good land stewardship practices have already been implemented. AT aims to expand the number of RSR participants by over 150 properties, covering approximately 2 million hectares of land.


To learn more about BACP, please visit http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/sustainability.nsf/Content/Biodiversity_BACP

Request for Applications for Soy Projects released
Posted on 04 June 2009 by Meike Andersson

Analysis of Landscape Submissions

Analysis of Landscape Submissions

- EcoAgriculture Partners - February 2015

 

An agenda for assessing and improving conservation impacts of sustainability standards in tropical agriculture

An agenda for assessing and improving conservation impacts of sustainability standards in tropical agriculture

Jeffrey Midler, Lee Gross, Margaret Arbuthnot, Allen Blackman, Sharon E. Brooks, Daniele Giovannucci, Elizabeth T. Kennedy, Kristin Komives, Eric F. Lambin, Audrey Lee, Daniel Meyer, Peter Newton, Ben Phalan, Götz Schroth, Bambi Semroc, Henk Van Rikxoort, Michal Zrust - Rainforest Alliance, EcoAgriculture Partners, World Wildlife Fund, Resources for the Future, UNEP-WCMC, Committee on Sustainability Assessment, ISEAL Alliance, School of Earth Sciences and Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, Round Table on Responsible Soy Association, International Forestry Resources and Institutions research network, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Conservation International - October 2014

 

Landscape Labeling: A marketing approach to support integrated landscape management. Framework document for landscape leaders.

Landscape Labeling: A marketing approach to support integrated landscape management. Framework document for landscape leaders.

Abigail Hart, Chris Planicka, Lee Gross, Louise E. Buck - EcoAgriculture Partners and Cornell University, EcoAgriculture Partners - July 2014

 

 

Associated Documents

Institutional innovations in African smallholder carbon projects

Institutional innovations in African smallholder carbon projects

CCAFS Report 8

Shames, S., Wollenberg, E., Buck, L. E., Kristjanson, P., Masiga, M., Biryahaho, B. - July 2012

 

Assessing the Ecological Impacts of Agricultural Eco-Certification and Standards: A Global Review of the Science and Practice

Assessing the Ecological Impacts of Agricultural Eco-Certification and Standards: A Global Review of the Science and Practice

EcoAgriculture Discussion Paper No. 8

Jeffrey C. Milder, Lee H. Gross, Alexandra M. Class - June 2012

 

Payments for watershed services in the United States

Payments for watershed services in the United States

Cost-effective strategies to align landowner incentives for abundant clean water

EcoAgriculture Partners - November 2011

 

Buyer, Regulator, and Enabler-The Government's Role in Ecosystem Services Markets

Buyer, Regulator, and Enabler-The Government's Role in Ecosystem Services Markets

International Lessons Learned for Payments for Ecological Services in the People's Republic of China

Sara J. Scherr, Michael T. Bennett - EcoAgriculture Partners, Forest Trends - July 2011

 

Innovations in Market-Based Watershed Conservation in the United States

Innovations in Market-Based Watershed Conservation in the United States

Payments for Watershed Services for Agricultural and Forest Landowners

Terhi Majanen, Rachel Friedman, Jeffrey C. Milder - EcoAgriculture Partners - June 2011

 

Mudford Farm in the Chesapeake Bay

Mudford Farm in the Chesapeake Bay

Financing production, biodiversity and ecosystem services through innovative land restoration

Ariela Summit - May 2011

 

Sacramento River Ranch

Sacramento River Ranch

Integrating habitat conservation and species banking in a working agricultural landscape

Maria S. Bowman - May 2011

 

The Watson Partners and the Southern Minnesota Sugar Beet Cooperative

The Watson Partners and the Southern Minnesota Sugar Beet Cooperative

Adam Birr - May 2011

 

Institutional Models for Carbon Finance to Mobilize Sustainable Agricultural Development in Africa

Institutional Models for Carbon Finance to Mobilize Sustainable Agricultural Development in Africa

Seth Shames, Sara J Scherr - EcoAgriculture Partners - December 2010

 

If you are an innovator in market-based watershed conservation, we need your help

If you are an innovator in market-based watershed conservation, we need your help

Payments for Watershed Services Flyer

 

An African Agricultural Carbon Facility

An African Agricultural Carbon Facility

Feasibility Assessment and Design Recommendations

- Forest Trends, The Katoomba Group, EcoAgriculture Partners, Climate Focus - August 2010

 

User Manual (version 2.0) for BACP Online M&E

User Manual (version 2.0) for BACP Online M&E

- Ecoagriculture Partners - January 2010

 

Allanblackia nuts in tropical Africa

Allanblackia nuts in tropical Africa

A new source for food, oil and ecosystem services

Meike S. Andersson - Ecoagriculture Partners - November 2009

 

The role of Payments for Environmental Services (PES) as reward mechanisms for sustainable land management in East Africa

The role of Payments for Environmental Services (PES) as reward mechanisms for sustainable land management in East Africa

Report on the Payments for Environmental Services from Agricultural Landscapes- PESAL capacity-building workshop

 

Conceptual underpinnings for market opportunity assessment in ecoagriculture landscapes

Conceptual underpinnings for market opportunity assessment in ecoagriculture landscapes

Report by the Market Program of Ecoagriculture Partners (with substantial contributions by Mark Lundy of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture CIAT) prepared for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Thomas Oberthür, Mark Lundy, Meike Andersson - Ecoagriculture Partners, CIAT, Ecoagricutlure Partners - November 2009

 

Ecoagriculture Landscape Market Opportunity Toolkit

Ecoagriculture Landscape Market Opportunity Toolkit

A Field Practitioner’s Toolkit

Thomas Oberthur - Ecoagriculture Partners - November 2009

 

Organic essential oils from lemongrass and rosemary in East Africa

Organic essential oils from lemongrass and rosemary in East Africa

Florence Nagawa , Alastair Taylor - AgroEco, Uganda - November 2009

 

The market opportunity for bundling bamboo and ecosystem services in Uganda

The market opportunity for bundling bamboo and ecosystem services in Uganda

Meike S. Andersson, Byamukama Biryahwaho, Lucy Aliguma, Thomas Oberthür - Ecoagriculture Partners, Nature Harness Initiatives - November 2009

 

Markets for ecoagriculture in East Africa, with focus on Kijabe, Kayunga and Kisoro landscapes

Markets for ecoagriculture in East Africa, with focus on Kijabe, Kayunga and Kisoro landscapes

T. Oberthur, L. Aliguma, B. Biryahwaho, D. Kuria, A. Jarvis, S.G. Anyona, R. Njeri, S. Kamau, N. Kinyanjui - November 2009

 

Monitoring and Evaluation Plan

Monitoring and Evaluation Plan

Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP)

- Ecoagriculture Partners - June 2009

 

Monitoring and Evaluating (M&E) Biodiversity Impacts of Certification Systems

Monitoring and Evaluating (M&E) Biodiversity Impacts of Certification Systems

Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP)

Meike Andersson - Ecoagriculture Partners - June 2009

 

BACP Implementation Procedures Manual

BACP Implementation Procedures Manual

 

Market Transformation Strategy for Soy

Market Transformation Strategy for Soy

 

Institutionalizing Payments for Ecosystem Services

Institutionalizing Payments for Ecosystem Services

PES brochure

 

Market Transformation Strategy for Palm Oil

Market Transformation Strategy for Palm Oil

 

Communities, Conservation and Markets flyer

Communities, Conservation and Markets flyer

A Partnership Between WB Development Grants Facility, Ecoagriculture Partners, and the Katoomba Group

 

Launch Event: Financing Strategies for Integrated Landscape Investment

Washington, DC, United States

World Resources Institute

April 30, 2014

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Financial Strategies for Integrated Landscape Management: Technical session of the Global Landscapes Forum

Warsaw, Poland

University of Warsaw

November 16, 2013

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World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty 2013

Washington DC, USA

World Bank

April 08, 2013 - April 11, 2013

Read More...

Sustainable Food Lab Annual Leadership Summit: Making it Happen: The Nuts and Bolts of Sustainable Supply Chains

Annapolis, MD, USA

April 08, 2013 - April 11, 2013

Read More...

Ecoagriculture Landscapes: Mobilizing Action Together: Policy Side Event at the 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry

Nairobi, Kenya

United Nations Complex

August 27, 2009

Read More...
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