Boomitra, the California-based startup that’s powering its soil carbon marketplace with AI and remote sensing, has partnered with Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) to launch a soil carbon project in East Africa.
- The project is aimed at helping farmers adopt climate smart agricultural practices all while connecting them to carbon markets.
- The project, which already has over 2,700 farmers on board, is an initiative under the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator which Boomitra took part in, in early 2022.
- The move comes after Boomitra’s $4 million round in 2021, which was led by Norwegian fertilizer major Yara International.
- Outside of East Africa, Boomitra is working with farmers in India, Mexico, North America, Brazil and Argentina.
- This new project will mark the startup’s flagship project for smallholder farmers in East Africa.
Why it matters
Boomitra leverages its tech to monitor, report and verify soil carbon, nutrient and moisture levels, without the need for physical soil sampling.
According to the startup, this coupled with climate smart farming practices that help sequester carbon, helps farmers increase their yields, build land equity and preserve soil biodiversity. Farmers additionally are connected to carbon markets and get carbon credits, as Boomitra works with international bodies to quantify captured carbon.
“What we see as the vision for East African farmers is for them to be practicing good agricultural practices like this and potentially earning carbon finance, enabling all of them to uplift themselves. And not only increasing their yields, but sometimes their incomes,” Aadith Moorthy, Founder & CEO at Boomitra told AFN.
For this purpose, Moorthy says FtMA was the right partner to launch this project with. FtMA, which is a consortium of AGRA, Bayer, Rabobank, Syngenta and Yara, is an alliance brought together by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to help Africa’s smallholders commercialize their agriculture.
FtMA’s reach in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zambia is a key factor for the partnership which would help Boomitra reach farmers on the ground, especially owing to the complex nature of carbon markets.
The consortium also adopts a Farmer Service Center (FSC) model where these FSCs can serve up to 200 smallholders and connect them to private and public partners.
“An important thing for us in getting acceptance from the farmers is to work very closely with partners like FtMA, to ensure that we can get the right set of practices adopted by the farmers,” he says.
“It’s crucial for us to really work with the right partners on the ground that will have that trusted relationship with the farmers in order to work very closely with them and get them to adopt and sustain the farming practices.The most important thing is that the farmers sustain the practice for the long term.”
However, the project will start out in Kenya, with plans to expand to Uganda and Rwanda.
Moorthy says Kenya was the first country to launch in, due to fintech maturity which guarantees farmers will get their returns.
“Clients of the carbon credits are very keen to know that really, everything is done in a proper way and the farmers are really receiving what they need to receive. So that is slightly easier in Kenya than the surrounding countries. But I’m hopeful that in the near future, we’ll also be able to do things in a similar way in surrounding countries,” he says.