€50m ag decarbonisation fund eyes extra income for Ukraine’s war-torn farmers

By Oliver Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Getty/alzay
Image: Getty/alzay

Related tags regenerative agriculture

HeavyFinance, the company raising €50 million for a private credit fund to help advance agricultural decarbonisation in Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal, has announced it will lead the restoration of 300,000 hectares of Ukrainian farmland to give farmers extra income in ‘tough war and post-war times’.

HeavyFinance has signed 300,000 hectares of farmland in western and central Ukraine to its carbon farming programme, for a shift over to regenerative agriculture. Once farming practices across the area have been shifted over to nature-based, sustainable and regenerative methods, the farming land will be certified for soil-based carbon credits. 

The 300,000-hectare space has been selected because of its carbon sequestration potential, once it switches over to a regeneratively farmed approach. The farming land has produced to date and will continue to produce a mixture of arable crops including wheat, barley and corn.

With its chernozem soil, also referred to as black soil, Ukraine provides one of the highest wheat yields in the world. But because deep tillage has been a popular soil management practice in Ukraine for the past 50 years, it has contributing to extreme soil degradation, humus layer quality and depth, and organic carbon oxidation.  

Because of land degradation combined with the vast potential of chernozem soil, HeavyFinance estimates 757.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions can be removed if regenerative practices are applied across the country’s entire agricultural estate. This is equivalent to the total annual carbon output of Germany. 

HeavyFinance, which works with farmers to certify the amount of carbon sequestered in their land and provides loans to farmers and agri-businesses to shift over to regenerative agriculture, is partnering with Ukrainian agricultural company Agsolco and its ‘Carbon Credit Ukraine programme’ to enable the nature-based shift.

It is the only company in Europe conducting on-field soil carbon measurement with the pre-sampling of more than 3,000 samples in Ukraine planned in July.

Carbon Credit Ukraine is a carbon sequestration project developed under Verra methodology with a concentration purely on Ukrainian farmers. It describes itself as a “a dedicated project to Ukraine will create additional value to the world climate initiative promoting regenerative farming and giving farmers extra income in tough war and post-war times”. 

Currently, HeavyFinance claims it is set to generate over one million verified soil carbon credits across Europe by the end of 2025. 

It has already enrolled around 250,000 hectares of farmland to regenerative agriculture across Europe​, including in Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal.

This new programme will more than double the area covered by HeavyFinance’s Carbon Farming Programme, it said.

“We tactically chose several key markets aiming for deep market penetration accelerated by localised educational programmes and consultations from prominent agronomists and soil scientists,” said Laimonas Noreika, CEO and co-founder of HeavyFinance. “To improve their soil along with storing more carbon, agricultural entrepreneurs need smart financial support that comes with laboratory soil sample analysis, insights and guidance to add new regenerative farming practices to the existing mix.”

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