Acorn partners with AFoCO to empower smallholder farmers across Asia

On September 4th, Acorn signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO), a forest-focused intergovernmental organization, to help smallholder farmers in Asia transition to agroforestry.

A partnership to support smallholder farmers across Asia

The MoU between Rabobank’s Acorn and AFoCO was the first step to outlining the start of a strong partnership to help smallholder farmers across Asia transition to agroforestry. Together, we aim to onboard 2.5 million farmers in the next 10 years.

AFoCO is an inter-governmental treaty organization located in Seoul, South Korea. They are committed to strengthening regional forest cooperation by transforming proven technology and policies into concrete actions across Asia. AFoCO has set up a 10-year climate action plan, with the aim to draw down massive amounts of carbon from the atmosphere to arrest global warming while simultaneously advancing economic prosperity.

With AFoCO’s technical agroforestry knowledge and governmental links, they will be a strong implementing party on the ground, while Acorn will bring its technology and strong connection to the VCM market needed for successful implementation of the projects.

The official signing took place in Rabobank Headquarters in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

AFoCO’s Dr. Chongho Park (Executive Director) with Rabobank’s Els Kamphof (W&R Board Member) officially signing the Memorandum of Understanding in Utrecht, the Netherlands

Unlocking the voluntary carbon market for Cambodia & Vietnam’s rural communities

On June 26th and July 4th, we organized two separate workshops together with AFoCO in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Hanoi, Vietnam, respectively. Attended by a variety of stakeholders (among which, Cambodia’s Forestry Administration and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands), the workshops proved to be invaluable opportunities to discuss how best to support Cambodia and Vietnam's smallholder farmers.

At the workshops, we outlined our planned cooperation strategy to develop a pilot projects in Cambodia and Vietnam together with AFoCO, enabling smallholder farmers to access the voluntary carbon market. As we prioritize establishing strong and long-standing local relationships, AFoCO will be active as a local partner, connecting with farmers, gathering data, and implementing the agroforestry project, with Acorn responsible for monitoring and certifying the project and CRUs generated by it. We aim to work with AFoCO to have a long-term positive impact on both the community and climate, with farmers benefiting from innovative sources of pre-finance and unlocking an additional income stream.

The future of agroforestry in Cambodia and Vietnam

While in Cambodia, Acorn and AFoCO held discussions with potential local partners and made several field visits to existing REDD+ projects. Cambodia is already actively involved in the Voluntary Carbon Market, and showed great potential for more agroforestry implementation.

Marta Radinovic Lukic (Acorn Account Manager) shares, “On our visit to project areas in three different provinces in Cambodia, we noticed that some farmers were already transitioning towards agroforestry. Unfortunately, much of the landscape in Cambodia today is dominated by monoculture – but this also means a lot of potential for improvement and agroforestry!”

Acorn colleagues Harm Haverkort and Marta Radinovic Lukic (left) visiting potential agroforestry sites in Cambodia.

Coffee agroforestry

As Vietnam is one of the world’s largest coffee producers, there is immense potential for agroforestry to bring such benefits to Vietnam’s land and communities. With three quarters of its total land area being hilly and mountainous, Vietnam is estimated to have over 1.2 million hectares of upland crops, of which the North-West (including Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien, and Lai Chau provinces) possesses more than 515,000 hectares. Agroforestry projects would be a crucial approach for Vietnam, and even more so in the Northwest, to reduce GHG emissions, mitigate the negative impact of climate change, and to improve the livelihoods of local communities.

Eager to connect with significant partners active in the region, we look forward to building a strong working relationship to benefit Cambodia and Vietnam’s rural communities.

About Acorn

We help support smallholder farmers in developing countries transition to agroforestry. Together with local partners, we facilitate the funding and training needed by farmers to start their agroforestry transition. Transforming the sequestered CO2 through agroforestry into Carbon Removal Units (CRUs), we offer carbon credits to responsible corporates to help them reach their climate goals. The growth of the trees is measured with satellite imagery, AI, and LiDAR, and certified by ICROA-accredited Plan Vivo.

With 80% of the sales revenue going directly to the farmers, it creates an additional income stream and helps them adopt a more climate-resilient way of farming that improves food security, biodiversity, and financial independence.

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