Empower farmers

  • Enable agroforestry for smallholder farmers

  • Encourage sustainable farming

  • Equip communities with improved financial means

Explore our approach: this animation illustrates our process in a nutshell.

Plant a better future with us

We're always on the lookout for local partners to set up new projects, empowering smallholder farmers everywhere.


We enable smallholder farmers to transition to agroforestry in a way that takes the guesswork out of it, providing expert training and employing technological monitoring solutions, ensuring our mission is scalable, reliable, and verifiable.


80% of the revenue generated by the sale of carbon credits supports smallholder farmer livelihoods and development, and improves food security, biodiversity and soil quality, all while equipping communities with improved financial means. 


We work towards climate balance for all of us, by encouraging sustainable farming and making agroforestry a viable option for smallholder farmers in developing countries, all while enabling corporates to offset their carbon emissions.

View our brochure online or download it in English, Spanish or French.

View brochure online

Coordinating with Acorn

To realize our mission of supporting millions of smallholder farmers, we're looking for partners to join forces. Collaborating with Acorn as a project coordinator is as straightforward as we can make it. We're here to help our local partners and the farmers in the community they serve, after all. Here's how it works:  

  1. The local partner gets in touch with one of our account managers, who then explains next steps and expectations 

  2. The local partner gathers information and fills out the required paperwork in our online portal; we’re committed to customer due diligence and will provide any support they need 

  3. They serve as linchpin between Acorn and local smallholder farmers, both to direct revenue streams and to facilitate communication 

  4. They pay out farmers (at least 80% of the proceeds of CRU sales) and watch as their local community flourishes, from farm to family to neighborhood 

  5. They submit annual progress reports and assist us in keeping our data and models up to date through reporting and monitoring 

For a more thorough explanation of our methodology, please refer to the six steps detailed in the photographs.


Most of the carbon credit sales revenue flows back to local partners and the farmers they represent. We take a fixed 10% to cover our costs. As project coordinator, the local partner is entitled to up to 10% as well. The remaining 80% is paid out to farmers, at least once a year. How much a CRU sells for depends on supply and demand, but we'll always charge a minimum of €20, to minimize financial risk for the farmers. 


To ensure potential local partners are a good fit for us (and vice versa), we've set up a certification process in conjunction with Plan Vivo. This proprietary protocol keeps the certification process accessible and transparent and reduces the costs and lead times of certification significantly.

Find out more


We work with organizations that have a trustworthy relationship with smallholder farmers. Organizations that believe in the benefits of agroforestry, are committed to venture into an innovative project in the voluntary carbon market, and that have the capacity to partner with the Acorn program.

Therefore, we ask our partners to meet several conditions. For a more elaborate checklist, please consult the Acorn Framework.

  • Presence of legal right to sell Carbon Removal Units (no restricting governmental policy) 

  • The project includes new agroforestry and/or existing agroforestry with a maximum of 5 years since trees were planted 

  • No deforestation took place in the project area in the last 5 years 

  • No carbon credits are being sold currently from the project, or CO2 (to be) sequestered is not yet monetized 

  • The area cultivated by each farmer is between 0.1 and 10 hectares 

  • There is local engagement and organizational capacity to undertake the project for a minimum of 20 years  

  • Every farmer has proof of formal or informal land tenure 

Types of project coordinators we would like to partner up with include NGOs, farmers’ co-ops, trading companies, and governments.

Success stories so far

More information about collaborating

How much is the cost for project coordinators to participate in Acorn?

The main costs for the project coordinator purely consist of resources to onboard the organization and the project (e.g. providing the information), data collection, and monitoring. These costs strongly depend on what is already in place in terms of information and digitization.

Most costs are related however to the implementation of the agroforestry design. The Acorn team is happy to support with the development of a business case for both the project coordinator and the farmer to ensure it makes sense for all parties involved to be part of the collaboration.

What conditions need to be met to be eligible to work with Acorn?

There are serveral conditions that need to be met. For a more elaborate checklist please consult the Acorn Framework

  • Your project includes new agroforestry or existing agroforestry with a maximum of 5 years since trees were planted    

  • Presence of legal right to sell Carbon Removal Units (no restricting governmental policy) 

  • No deforestation took place in the project area in the last 5 years    

  • No carbon credits are being sold or have been previously sold by farmers 

  • The size cultivated per farmer between 0.1 and 10 hectares  

  • There is local engagement and organizational capacity to undertake the project for a minimum of 20 years   

  • Farmers have proof of formal or informal land tenure  

Who can assist with a sound agroforestry design?

To ensure a suitable AF design in the local context, we stimulate the development of an agroforestry design together with local experts. Rabobank is not the AF expert, but we do work with external parties to cross-check the suitability of the AF design in the local context.

How small can the plots be? Can you still work with small plots if there are many farmers?

Plots must have a minimum of 0.1 hectares and a maximum of 10 hectares to be eligible for the Acorn program. 

Why focus on smallholder farmers in developing countries? Why not large commercial farmers?

Smallholder farmers are hit hardest by climate change. Desertification, extreme rain or extreme drought and rising temperatures are all problems they face on a daily basis. Smallholder farmers also have limited access to financing and therefore cannot easily invest in their own futures or resilience. Rabobank hopes to change this by supporting these farmers, and agroforestry offers an answer. Agroforestry means healthier soil, better yields, and diversification of both nutrients and income. Planting trees, however, requires a relatively large investment. Through Acorn, Rabobank aims to facilitate such investments. 

Does Acorn provide financing?

Acorn does not provide direct financing to start agroforestry projects. However, Acorn has dedicated staff available to support with the development of the Business Case. Our staff actively searches for funding sources and connects them with our local partners to finance start-up costs of their projects. 

Share your feedback with us

We are opening the floor to public comments from our stakeholders on both our new and existing methodologies. Your insights are invaluable to us!

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