Make people live off
the Land sustainably

Preserving the environment for smallholders in Peru

César Paz, head of AVSF's activities in Peru

Could you tell us a bit about the "carbon capture" project that AVSF put in place in Pichanaki?

In this agricultural frontier region bordering the Peruvian Amazon, almost all of the trees have been eliminated from the parcels of land used for growing coffee, and this has led to an accelerated loss of soil fertility. It's the start of a vicious cycle: when yields fall too low, the small producers deforest new parcels, cutting further into the land. The "carbon capture" project is first and foremost an agro-forestry project. We hope that this project will help to both improve the fertility and yields of the coffee plantations (by planting trees) and diversify the income of the smallholders. Our hope is that, in doing so, we will be better able to preserve the natural forest from the risk of deforestation. Our activities are particularly focused on carbon compensation: the CO2 stored by the growing trees is given an economic value in the form of "carbon credits" that can be sold to companies that want to offset a portion of their greenhouse-gas emissions. This will bring in additional income for the project and the smallholder communities.

Where does the project stand today?

Between 2010 and 2012, about 800 hectares were "reforested" with a variety of different tree species, 80% of them being local species. This reforestation was carried out with a minimal investment, thanks to the very strong participation of the 240 smallholders within our partner cooperatives, and thanks to the support of our partner CO2 Consultores. Our current objective is to increase the number of reforested parcels as well as the number of smallholders who benefit from the project. To do so, we need to find financial partners who are interested in the work we do and who can work with us and help us achieve large-scale change. Also, this project is currently in the process of being certified by the "Carbon Fix" label. This label will enable us to market carbon credits on the voluntary market.

Where does AVSF stand with respect to carbon neutrality?

We are still in an experimental phase for this type of mechanism: "CARBON CAPTURE - PICHANAKI"  is the second project that we have launched. We are interested in carbon finance in the sense that it can serve as a lever for financing environmental and social activities, help to diversify the incomes of rural communities, and help raise awareness among producers about the importance of preserving their environment.

But we are also questioning certain aspects of these mechanisms. We funded a study along with two other French NGOs to analyze the true social and economic benefits that these carbon projects produce for small producers, to determine how accessible they are, and to propose rules for a "carbon system that is more firrmly rooted in solidarity."

  1. Learn more about AVSF's activities IN PERU