Rewards for sequestering carbon can help improve food security

The global food supply could be made more secure by actively encouraging smallholder farmers in countries that have an insecure food supply to sequester carbon in the soil by altering their cultivation practices. This can also improve soil quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Although changes in cultivation practices can provide larger and more reliable yields, it can still be difficult to convince farmers to change their traditions. Cash rewards for changing such management practices would be a good incentive.

This entails, however, the acquisition of evidence that the change in practice actually builds up carbon. To generate this knowledge for each individual situation would take far too long and undermine the farmer’s desire to become involved in the scheme.

In a recent article in Nature Climate Change, scientists therefore suggest research-based verification of the effect that change in management type has on carbon sequestration in different agroecological systems and soil types. This could help to significantly lower the costs and barriers to the restoration of higher carbon stocks and a more stable food supply.

The article ”Enabling food security by verifying agricultural carbon”can be read in Nature Climate Change, May 2014.

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