Tag Archives: agriculture

Identifying strategic opportunities for philanthropy to engage in sustainable land use finance

May 2, 2016 |

 

With growing global demand for food and fuel in a climate-constrained world, the question of how to best reorient land use towards more sustainable and productive practices is a key challenge for governments, businesses, and individuals. This is particularly true for developing countries, where agricultural expansion is a major source of economic growth and development, but also a major source of emissions and environmental degradation.

In recent years, significant international efforts have focused on developing mechanisms to deliver incentives for developing countries to maintain high-value ecosystems. This has happened primarily through bilateral and multilateral funds in support of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), as well as through voluntary carbon markets and ad-hoc payments for ecosystem services (PES) pilots. However, such mechanisms have often proved disappointing, failing to deliver on the intended results or suffering from inadequate funding and difficult implementation.

There is a need to better understand how investments are currently being delivered on the ground to support the land use sector, and to support the most appropriate interventions to shape investments towards more sustainable and less destructive land use activities.

To explore these opportunities, CPI partnered with the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA) to identify entry points for philanthropic funders to unlock capital in support of more sustainable land use practices. CPI analysis shows that there are distinct, powerful, and accessible finance-related levers that philanthropy can use to unlock investment in and reorient capital towards more sustainable land use practices. Philanthropy can often act in more nimble and strategic ways compared with public donors who may be constrained by slow bureaucratic processes and competing political priorities.

These opportunities were presented to CLUA and key stakeholders at a retreat in early March, and are now presented here. In the coming months, CPI will continue this work with CLUA and will rank and more fully develop the most promising interventions that can be supported by philanthropy.

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Graphic Spotlight: Who benefits from Indonesia’s palm oil revenues?

January 27, 2016 |

 

The fiscal system may inadvertently increase deforestation

Indonesia’s palm oil sector has been making headlines recently because of the sector’s connection with fires from peatland conversion. Late last year, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced a shift in peatland management, with policies designed to halt agricultural expansion into peat forests while facilitating the rehabilitation of already degraded peatlands.

Given the economic importance of palm oil, Indonesian policy makers, industry, and communities are looking for ways to grow the sector’s productivity without contributing to this deforestation and emissions.

Indonesia's palm oil revenuesCPI analysts recently looked at how fiscal incentives for palm oil – and land use more broadly – could be adjusted to contribute to a more efficient and sustainable sector.

This graphic, produced by Tim Varga and Angela Falconer, shows that of the nearly one billion USD the Indonesian government collects annually in tax revenues from palm oil, less than 15% goes to the regions that produce the crop.

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How the Current Haze Disaster has Rekindled Hope for Indonesia’s Peatlands

November 25, 2015 |

 

This year’s forest and peat fires in Indonesia have reached unprecedented scale. The Global Fire Emissions Database[i] estimates that by 16 November, more than 122,000 forest and peat fires will have emitted 1.75 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent. The World Resources Institute (WRI) calculated that as of 16 October, emissions from fires had exceeded those of the total US economy – more than 15 million tons CO2 per day – on 26 separate occasions, noting that the U.S. economy is 60 times larger than Indonesia’s.

Indonesia's peatlands

Photo by Julius Lawalata, World Resources Institute

Put another way, in just three weeks, emissions from fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan exceeded the annual emissions of Europe’s largest economy, Germany.[ii] The fires have caused environmental havoc, a surge in respiratory illnesses and other health impacts, and economic losses around the region. After mounting international pressure, President Widodo announced radical new caps on peat use: an end to licensing for concessions on peat lands, a review of existing licensing, recognition of high carbon value lands, and the creation of a program to restore the carbon-rich forests and peatlands. The government is reportedly exploring the establishment of a new Peat-land Management Agency to spearhead efforts.

This is not the first time moratorium-like measures have been announced in Indonesia. Success will lie in the extent of implementation and especially, in enforcement. But there is very real potential here for Indonesia to transform the way peat is used, particularly in the agricultural sector—with international assistance. Indonesia’s peatlands and tropical peat swamp forests, store more carbon than any other terrestrial ecosystem and are important reservoirs of biodiversity and ecosystem services such as water filtration. There is global significance in the efforts to find ways to rehabilitate peat forests degraded due to deforestation and inefficient agricultural practices.

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Changing land use patterns in Brazil

October 29, 2015 | and

 

As the demand for food and climate change risk both increase, a new study explores paths to more efficient land use in the country.

As Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff promised to reduce Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent by 2030. Brazil became the first major developing country to pledge an absolute reduction in emissions over the next fifteen years. Since the country is an agricultural leader with abundant natural resources, it clearly has many challenges ahead. One of the questions that arises is whether it is possible to simultaneously promote economic growth and improve ecosystem protection within Brazil’s rural landscape.

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How to spread new technology in agriculture: the importance of geographic conditions and learning-from-peers

November 7, 2013 |

 

In business, it is unusual to find a technology that proves to be better and costs less than the one in use. In theory, that technology should spread like wildfire and quickly replace current production methods. If it doesn’t, there is usually a barrier that prevents its spread.

In a new CPI study, we examine a farming technology called the Direct Planting System (DPS) which has proven to be one of the most important developments in agriculture in the past decades – however, after nearly forty years of its introduction in Southern Brazil, only 10% of Brazilian farmers reported using it in the 2006 Agricultural Census. The questions we address in this study are: What is keeping this technology from spreading and how do we overcome this barrier?

Our analysis reveals that soil composition is an important factor affecting the spread of the DPS. When soils are similar in a given municipality, it is easier for farmers to learn from the experience of peers who have already successfully adopted the system. Likewise, differences in the soil can act as a barrier to the expansion of DPS, since the system would have to be adapted to different soils. 

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Land use policy in Brazil: A brief video overview

July 30, 2013 |

 

In this brief video, CPI senior analyst Clarissa Costalonga e Gandour discusses land use policy in Brazil in the context of deforestation, climate change, and economic growth.

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Does credit affect deforestation? Evidence from a rural credit policy in the Brazilian Amazon

March 18, 2013 |

 

Clarissa Costalonga e Gandour also contributed to this piece, which was originally posted on Climate-Eval.

The deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon decreased sharply in the second half of the 2000s, falling from a peak of 27,000 km2 in 2004 to 5,000 km2 in 2011. In a previous CPI/NAPC study [Assunção et al. (2012)], we estimated that conservation policies introduced in the mid to late 2000s prevented the loss of approximately 62,000 km2 of forest in the 2005 through 2009 period. We’ve recently taken a closer look at one of these policies — National Monetary Council Resolution 3,545.

Introduced in mid-2008, Resolution 3,545 placed a condition on rural credit, an important source of financing for rural producers, in the Brazilian Amazon Biome. To get credit, borrowers had to present proof of compliance with environmental regulations, the legitimacy of their land claims, and the regularity of their rural establishments. To prove credit eligibility, Resolution 3,545 required borrowers to present a series of documents. Such documentation, however, varied according to borrower profiles, with small-scale producers subject to less stringent requirements. Resolution 3,545 represented a restriction on official rural credit — and thereby on the fraction of rural credit that is largely subsidized via lower interest rates — while other sources of financing for agricultural activity suffered no such restriction.

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Brazil’s deforestation and conservation policies: A quick video overview

January 31, 2013 |

 

In this short video, Juliano Assunção, Director of Climate Policy Initiative Rio, discusses Brazil’s deforestation and conservation policies.

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