Framework for Voluntary Carbon Market in Agriculture Sector


Recently, the Union Minister unveiled the Framework for Voluntary Carbon Market in Agriculture Sector and the Accreditation Protocol of Agroforestry Nurseries.

Relevance: GS-03  (Agriculture)

Voluntary Carbon Market in Agriculture:

  • The Agriculture Ministry has devised a framework to encourage the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) within the agricultural sector, aiming to enable small and medium farmers to access carbon credit benefits.
  • This initiative not only supports farmers but also fosters the adoption of environmentally sustainable agricultural practices.
  • About: Voluntary carbon markets enable carbon emitters to offset their emissions by purchasing carbon credits generated by projects aimed at removing or reducing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
    • In agriculture, carbon credits are generated based on carbon dioxide absorbed into the soil and greenhouse gas emissions reduced above the soil (e.g., through improved nitrogen timing) – surpassing the existing practices on a farm.
  • While agriculture contributes to climate change, it also possesses the capacity to mitigate it by serving as a carbon sink.
  • Accreditation Protocol of Agroforestry Nurseries: This protocol aims to enhance the institutional mechanisms for the production and certification of planting material on a large scale to promote agroforestry nationwide.

Carbon Markets Explained:


  • Carbon markets serve as a mechanism for pricing carbon emissions, enabling the trade of carbon credits with the overarching aim of reducing emissions.
  • These markets offer incentives for emission reduction and energy efficiency improvements, fostering a shift towards cleaner practices.
  • For instance, entities exceeding emission standards can earn credits, while those falling short can purchase credits to meet compliance requirements.
  • Trading systems are established where carbon credits or allowances can be bought and sold, facilitating emissions reduction efforts.
  • A carbon credit represents one tonne of carbon dioxide removed, reduced, or sequestered, as per United Nations standards.
  • Governments set carbon allowances or caps based on their emission reduction targets, regulating the overall emission levels.
  • Under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, countries can utilize international carbon markets to meet their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) aimed at achieving net-zero emissions.