Cape Town – A farm in Stellenbosch is playing a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by storing carbon dioxide gases in the soil instead of in the atmosphere.
This has allowed farm worker Kasango Murehwa Samkute to earn R100 000 for his work to regenerate the soil. The money will go towards buying his first house.
The farmer, known as Farmer Angus, uses a method known as regenerative farming. The cattle, pigs and chickens are rotationally grazed on the Spier Wine Farm.
Farmer Angus is part of a carbon project with Credible Carbon, a South African carbon registry that allows businesses and individuals to reduce their contribution to climate change.
Farmer Angus owner Angus McIntosh said: “We are a very small farm. At 132 hectares, we sequestered 7 101 tons of CO2 over a three-year period with a severely understocked farm (300 too few cattle) and three drought years.
“In comparison, a return flight from Cape Town to London emits 2 tons of CO2. Imagine how many millions of tons of CO2 the big farmers in the fertile areas could sequester?”
He said conventional farming wisdom was that the only way to produce beef was by concentrating cattle in a feed lot and by feeding them grains, constant antibiotics and asthma drugs at life end to bulk them up.
“This emits CO2 into the atmosphere every step of its inflammatory-disease-inducing way,” he said.
Credible Carbon director Anton Cartwright said: “The cattle farm is a source of greenhouse gases and the way that Farmer Angus performs their cultivation allows them to take the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the soil for many years.
“This prevents the greenhouse gases being stored in the atmosphere, which plays a vital role in slowing down climate change.”
Cartwright said most farms contribute to climate change, but Farmer Angus was cultivating in a counteractive way. His method prevents overgrazing and encourages soil fertility.
In line with Credible Carbon requirements, 50% of the income generated by the sale of carbon credits is paid directly to the project’s employees. Samkute received R100 000 from a sale of his share of carbon credits earned from the sequestration of carbon in the farm’s soil.
Samkute has used the money to put down the deposit on his first house.