Scaling up carbon removal while supporting smallholder farmers

Check out the welcome letter from Shantanu Argawal, CEO of our project partner, to learn how they’re supporting gigaton-scale carbon removal to fight climate change.

Scaling up carbon removal while supporting smallholder farmers

Just the gist

Short on time? Here’s what you need to know for this update:

  • 🐜 Permanently removing carbon with enhanced rock weathering — learn how crushed rock applied to rice paddies can combat climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide faster.
  • 👨‍🌾 Supporting sustainable smallholder farmers — check out the welcome letter from Shantanu Argawal, CEO of our project partner, to learn how they’re supporting gigaton-scale carbon removal to fight climate change.

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Permanently removing carbon with enhanced rock weathering

Weathering is a natural part of the carbon cycle, but it’s a slow process that happens over thousands, or even millions, of years. When rainwater mixes with carbon dioxide to make carbonic acid, it can then break down rocks and dirt into minerals that can safely store carbon for thousands of years.

Our project partner, Mati Carbon, spreads locally-sourced crushed rock on rice paddies, saving time and absorbing carbon dioxide faster. In the process, Mati also supports sustainable agriculture and enhances the climate resilience of small-scale farmers in Chhattisgarh, India.

Researchers estimate that 95% of smallholder farmers in India will be impacted by drought, excessive heat, and floods if warming continues at the current pace. Climate change is an urgent issue, especially for those on the frontlines.

Luckily, we can help fight climate change with enhanced rock weathering. It’s a solid solution that, when done alongside other climate projects, can make a huge difference. This is especially true in tropical places like India, where monsoon seasons and warm weather can increase enhanced rock weathering effectiveness.

For 2024, the team plans to scale operations to 100,000 tons of enhanced weathering deployments. We’re excited to support them on this journey!

Supporting sustainable smallholder farmers in India

Mati, the team behind our Enhanced weathering on rice paddies project, spreads abundant, locally sourced crushed rock on rice paddies, accelerating the natural weathering process in which rock absorbs carbon dioxide.

Here is Shantanu Agarwal’s letter to Wren:

Hello Wren Members,

Mati Carbon is extremely grateful and encouraged for the support provided by the Wren community.

At Mati Carbon, we are on a mission to enable climate resilience for millions of smallholder farmers while doing permanent carbon removal. It is projected that over 80% of smallholder farmers in the Global South will face at least one climate hazard (drought, extreme heat, riverine flood, and coastal flood) in the coming years. These farmers provide one-third of the world's food and are key to global food security. They typically earn less than $1200 annually and are already facing challenges due to land degradation and changing weather patterns. Mati’s unique approach has three salient impacts: permanent carbon removal (with 10,000+ years of permanence), remineralize/rejuvenate degraded soils, and increase the crop productivity of smallholder farmers.

Mati carbon’s soil amendments being deployed in the farmers fields using tractor trailers.

To date, we have deployed over 12,000 tons of rock dust on fields, remineralizing more than 1,200 acres of farms belonging to more than 400 smallholder farmers. These deployments are projected to remove about 2500+ tons of carbon over 5 years.  In the past year, Mati was selected by Frontier Climate (Frontier is an advance market commitment to buy an initial $1B+ of permanent carbon removal between 2022 and 2030) for a $500,000 pre-purchase of carbon removal credits. Mati also announced its AIM for Climate innovation sprint in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture at COP28. Additionally, Mati has also been nominated for the prestigious Earthshot Prize and advanced for the second round of the Xprize Carbon removal prize.

Farmer awareness meeting in Northern Chhattisgarh to educate smallholder farmers of the benefits of Mati Carbon program

For 2024, we have set an ambitious goal to scale our operations to achieve 100,000 tons of deployments. This initiative will benefit more than 7,000 smallholder farmers by remineralizing soils and facilitating large-scale carbon removal. Mati has embraced the unique challenge of working with smallholder farmers, despite the considerable operational and logistical difficulties. We focus on smallholder farmers as typical deployment provides ~20% incremental crop productivity and reduction in farm inputs due to reduced chemical fertilizers and pesticides need. This reduction in farm inputs and increased crop productivity, with further support from direct cash incentives sharing of CDR revenues creates a ~30%+ income increase for these sustenance farmers. This has proven to be transformational in their ability to create safety nets in the face of the changing climate. We believe that as the carbon removal market grows it is imperative that smallholder farmers become part of this large opportunity. We thank Wren for supporting this important cause.

That's all for this update! As always, thank you for your support.
— the Wren team 🧡