Reversing Climate Change by Decarbonising Agriculture

Morgan Stanley estimates the voluntary carbon offset market will reach $250 billion by 2050. This thriving sector presents a golden opportunity to tackle climate change on a global scale. The success of carbon credit efforts, however, requires participation from as many greenhouse gas emitters as possible. With nearly 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions stemming from agriculture, smallholder farmers must be incentivised to participate in carbon credit markets in a culturally sensitive way. 

Lowering the barriers of entry to the carbon credit market

Since 2021, the innovative minds at Varaha have been exploring the best ways to successfully put such incentives to farmers in the developing world who are typically less familiar with the technology and farming practices needed to participate in the global carbon markets.

Fast forward to today, the pioneering full-stack climate-tech company has made huge progress, enrolling over 700,000 acres of land across South Asia and Africa to create high-quality carbon credits for the international market. By encouraging sustainable practice on a small scale, they are creating a network of global collaboration, which preserves land in Asia and Africa to offset carbon across the world. 

Equipped with Varaha’s industry-leading Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) platform, farming smallholders in these geographies have access to remote sensing, machine learning and scientific research to quantify the sequestration and reduction of greenhouse gases from regenerative agriculture, afforestation, and biochar projects. This is critical to the execution and financialization of carbon-removing activities.

Varaha’s trailblazing projects also enhance productivity, boost crop yields, save water, increase biodiversity and raise climate adaptation, while the carbon credits provide extra income for the smallholders. Long term, this entrenches sustainable practices and makes a positive financial impact on local communities.

Meeting global demand and driving cutting-edge breakthroughs

Varaha is moving fast. It plans to quadruple its number of partners in the next 12-15 months to keep meeting the massive international demand for carbon credits. It has already contracted and sold more than 230,000 carbon credits to some of the largest carbon marketplaces in the world including Denmark’s Klimate, Germany’s Good Carbon and Switzerland’s Carbon Future as well as other large European enterprises and tech companies from the UK and US.

Credits to date have been derived from a diversified project portfolio of regenerative agriculture and afforestation. At the cutting edge of its innovations, Varaha is converting agricultural residue into biochar, a material that locks carbon away permanently for thousands of years while enhancing soil fertility and exploring the potential of Enhanced Rock Weathering, an exciting method that boosts soil fertility and sequesters atmospheric carbon long-term.

Scaling up at speed for a safer planet

Given Varaha’s rapid growth and the massive global demand for high-quality carbon credits, RTP Global has backed the next phase of its growth, leading its $8.7M in a Series A funding round. Its next move is expanding operations to new geographies in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa and further enhancing its tech and science capabilities.

RTP Global’s Investors have been hugely impressed with Varaha’s ability to quickly make waves in the carbon markets with its positive impact already felt across the globe. Making these markets work for farming smallholders in Asia and Africa democratises access to sustainable, science-led farming practices, global carbon markets and carbon reduction efforts all contributing to Varaha’s aim of sequestering one billion tonnes of carbon by 2030. 

Galina Chifina, Partner on RTP Global’s Asia investment team said, “We are thrilled to be part of Varaha’s journey towards creating scalable solutions for climate resilience. The visionary and unique approach of Madhur and his team to generating carbon credits through nature-based solutions has the potential to become a game-changer for the industry! It’s been a privilege to support them early in their journey of building a truly impactful company that is poised to make a significant difference on our planet”.

Madhur Jain, Co-Founder and CEO of Varaha. “Today’s funding is a testament to our commitment to drive impactful change. With the support of our investors, we’re poised to roll up our sleeves and accelerate our efforts, empower smallholders, integrate cutting-edge technology, and foster sustainable practices. Varaha isn’t just a company; we’re a catalyst for change, and this funding catapults us towards a greener, more equitable future.”

Read more about Varaha and its fundraise in TechCrunch