Getting to “Shovel Ready” A Field Trip to Tanzania

This blog described a field visit by Nature for Justice’s Khulile Lamula to the project site led by Lima in Tanzania. It is an important part of the co-creation and FPIC documentation process as noted in our recent blog on What’s Needed for More Shovel Ready Carbon Projects.

Pilot Project: Lima Kwanza Ltd, Tanzania

Engagements with the Farmers

This past month, Khulile Mavundla Lamula, Africa Nature-based Solutions Programme Manager for Nature For Justice (N4J), visited Tanzania to review the progress of a pilot nature-based solutions project being implemented in the Songwe region with our partner, Lima Kwanza Ltd. Lima is a commercial enterprise in Tanzania that works with local farmers, helping them shift from subsistence agriculture to small-scale commercial tree crop production. Lima provides a range of support to farmers, facilitates market access, and enhances farmer revenues through organic certification. Through the pilot project, Lima is working with several thousand smallholder farmers, helping them to plant tree seedlings with commercial value in regenerative agroforestry systems, including avocados, macadamia, and cashews.

LIMA Team during the Elton Farm Nursery Visit

The project is led at Elton Farm, a smallholder demonstration facility and tree nursery. The pilot project will be completed towards the middle of 2024, whereafter, the case for full-scale implementation of regenerative agroforestry across 34,000 hectares of smallholder farms using commercial carbon finance will be evaluated. Nature for Justice supports Lima and project investors to optimize the social benefits that can be leveraged from the project. During the field visit, we focused on evaluating the following:

  • Socio-Economic Baseline Conditions
    We collected social baseline data from the smallholder farming communities involved in the pilot project, so that if the project continues we can measure the impact of implementing these projects for the communities. This includes understanding levels of access to water and energy, and security of supply.
  • Exposure to Climate Change Impacts and Risks
    To understand what farmers understand about climate change, and if they are experiencing the effects of it. The project seeks to enhance community resilience to climate change, particularly food and livelihoods security, so understanding community perspectives on exposure and future risk is key for designing appropriate safeguards.
    Wenston Jevelson Simkoko, a farmer from the Songwe Region and Khulile Lamula

Farmer Status and Learnings
The pilot project area has a high unemployment rate, making farming the primary source of income for most households. Most farmers speak Swahili, and their children are taught to farm from a young age outside of normal school hours. Most households have bank accounts and stand-pipes for drinking and cooking water. Solar or electricity is used for lighting, but mainly firewood is used for cooking. Most farmers have some livestock, but food security is ensured through crop farming.

Most farmers own land through communal land processes, with some already having formal title deeds. Many grow crops such as mealies, beans, and potatoes and most of the farms are owned by men. No women farmers were met during the visit, though the project does encourage the inclusion of vulnerable groups such as women, youth, and people living with disabilities.

Farmers visited expressed awareness of climate change issues, and say they have experienced changes in weather patterns and seen reduced crop productivity. They are adapting through various farming techniques such as crop rotation and agroforestry.

The trip highlighted the importance of smallholder farmers in climate-smart agriculture, emphasizing the role of carbon finance in ensuring justice for nature and people.

The Project Team after the wrap up meeting for the Field Visit

Thoughts on how we can improve the project
I felt that communities are not very aware of carbon projects, particularly with regard to the long-term commitments. To increase their awareness and to help the farmers understand them better, we need to start to stop using the language of a project and rather use the language of investment, and in this case, climate change mitigation investment, so that it’s not only about the investor but their own investment that they will contribute as well with long term outcomes that will hopefully benefit everyone.

Farmers do want to participate in farming technique changes that will affect their farming positively – so we need to be more vocal about the benefits to ensure that they know what their options are.


  • Khulile M. Lamula

    Khulile is a South African citizen living in Durban. She is a skilled program manager with over 20 years of demonstrated experience in the development and management of complex nature-based solutions, and community-based programs in South Africa. She brings expertise in local economic development in the environmental sector, including SMME and co-operative development and incubation, and business skills training and capacity building in both urban and rural settings.

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