Greenhouse gas levels are an important indicator of environmental sustainability, and agriculture currently generates around a fifth of the world's emissions. One of Grow Asia’s goals is to improve environmental sustainability in smallholder farms by 20 percent by 2020, and the counter is designed to facilitate the monitoring of projects that are being implemented with the aim of achieving this goal.
Alison Eskesen, director for Knowledge and Innovation, Grow Asia said that talking with their partners made them realise that measuring and evaluating the environmental impact of their value chain projects in an easy and scientifically rigorous way has been a challenge. The counter however, can provide a highly-effective and easy-to-use solution to help their partners estimate the greenhouse gas emissions from their key crop activities.
“It is part of a suite of innovative resources Grow Asia is developing to equip our partners with the necessary tools that can help them measure progress toward achieving their goals in improving productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability,” she said.
Through a series of questions, the counter quickly calculates the impact of different farm management practices, such as soil management, use of agrochemicals and fossil fuels, on greenhouse gas emissions. Users can view their current emission levels and compare their projects to alternative practices to explore how they can reduce their emissions and improve their environmental sustainability.
By harnessing the power of data, field project managers can report on the performance of their value chain projects over time and make appropriate decisions based on their project evaluations.
The counter is currently tailored for value chain projects in specific crops—cocoa, coffee, corn, rice, potatoes, tea, vegetables and horticulture—in the five countries where Grow Asia partnerships exist, namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam. While initially designed to meet the specific needs of Grow Asia partners, the counter is available for the public to access and its application will eventually be extended to other countries in Southeast Asia.