Carbon offsets and agricultural livelihoods: lessons learned from a carbon credit project in the transition zone of Ghana

Carbon offsets and agricultural livelihoods: lessons learned from a carbon credit project in the transition zone of Ghana

This paper focuses on one project in Ghana, and is aimed at understanding how the Vision 2050 Forestry Carbon Credit Project (CCP) interacts with property rights, resource access and livelihoods of smallholders in the Forest-Savanna Transition zone of Ghana. The focus is on the process of project implementation, and the underlying assumptions driving this. The impacts the project has – intended and unintended – are explored. 

The paper brings into the limelight alternative narratives from the grassroots that had been obscured by the dominant narratives of the more powerful actors. The conclusions underscore the need to make REDD+ interventions contribute to the wellbeing of smallholders. Such counter narratives from the grassroots potentially provide policy spaces for making carbon offset interventions more equitable, while enhancing the inclusion of marginalised local actors. The design of the CCP itself, the challenges faced by farmers and the project developer, as well as factors which ultimately contributed to the collapse of the project, all provide useful lessons for ongoing and future REDD+ projects worldwide, especially with regard to making them grassroots-centered and compatible with smallholder agriculture.

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