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Quirimbas Community Carbon Project, Mozambique


Envirotrades Quirimbas Community Carbon is a Carbon sequestration project, located inside the boundaries of the Quirimbas national park, affecting agricultural communities in the Macomia, Quissanga and Meluca districts of the National Park. Some 95 000 people currently reside in the park and 30 000 in the buffer zone.

The aim of the company that runs it, Envirotrade, is to capture carbon through agro-forestry, and sell carbon credits on the voluntary markets, which at this stage comprise Europe and the United States. They also aim to alleviate poverty.

Planting, preserving and protecting these forests are all services regulated by a contract between Envirotrade and the farmers. The contract is for a fixed term of seven years. Yet, as stipulated by the clauses in the contract, the producer (farmer) is under the obligation to plant and care for trees, and will receive an annual payment, which varies according to the system chosen and the size of the area of land used. After seven years payments cease, but farmers still have a duty of care.

“It is the farmer’s obligation to continue to care for the plants which they own, even after the seven year period covered by this contract”, one of the articles in the clause on obligations of producers stipulates. [1] The large population in the park are farmers who depend on the forests and land to subsist. Envirotrade argues that the population poses significant challenges to the management of the forest resources due to their poverty. So, through the so called forest management and conservation of soils, farmers are producing carbon for the benefit of the Northern Countries, while gas emissions keep rising and African Countries face the consequences. Because of this business, farmers have limitations for the use of the land.

According to Via Campesina "Food production and people's sovereignty in Africa could be seriously compromised by carbon capture projects and the so-called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+) mechanism. They can exacerbate food insecurity on the continent and could result in the loss of control over land and forest resources for African farmers." [1] VC also notes that contracts regulating these activities do not include a section on farmers’ rights.

Envirotrade has three such projects in Mozambique.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Quirimbas Community Carbon Project, Mozambique
State or province:Cabo Delgado
Location of conflict:Quirimbas, Cabo Delgado
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Specific commodities:
Carbon offsets

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The Quirimbas Community Carbon Project is located in the Quirimbas National Park located in the six central districts of Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique, and encompasses an area of approximately 7506 square kilometres, 5984 on the continent and 1522 ocean, intertidal, and island habitats.

Project area:750,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:95000
Start of the conflict:01/01/2008
Company names or state enterprises:Envirotrade from Mauritius
Relevant government actors:Agriculture Ministry and Tourism ministry
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Union (EU) - According to VC: "The European Commission contributed about 1.5 million Euros of financing to Envirotrade between the start of the project in 2003 and 2008, for research and testing in Nhambita. However the European Commission cut its funding, one of the reasons being irregularities observed in the proposed method for measuring carbon." [1]
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Via Campesina

Conflict and Mobilization

Reaction stageUnknown
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow)
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Land dispossession


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Withdrawal of company/investment
The EC withdrew support for the project due to the irregularities observed in the proposed method for measuring carbon.
Development of alternatives:REDD is being debated in Mozambique. Civil society organisations are critical because of its focus on clean development mechanisms and carbon markets, and because agrofuel and monoculture projects are eligible for REDD+ and because it did not involve civil society from the outset and community consultations that have been carried out reveal themselves to be unrepresentative.
A position paper by VC states: “We repudiate and denounce the green economy as a new mask to hide increasing levels of corporate greed and food imperialism in the world, and as a brutal “green washing” of capitalism that only implements false solutions, like carbon trading, REDD, […] and all of the market-based solutions to the environmental crisis”[1]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Farmers and local communities know how to protect forests and how to grow food in a sustainable and agro-ecological way. However, Envirotrade says that the areas where farmers used to live and work are vulnerable and threated. As response to that, new ways of taking care of the forests or forms of forest management are being imposed. In this case, even if the propaganda is to protect the environment, there is no visible environmental justice.

Sources and Materials

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Carbon credits crisis for apartheid-era investors

The CDM Cannot Deliver the Money to Africa. Why the carbon trading gamble won’t save the planet from climate change, and how African civil society is resisting.

[1] Via Campesina Africa. Carbon trading and REDD in Mozambique: farmers 'grow' carbon for the benefit of polluters

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Envirotrade Quirimbas Page

Meta information

Contributor:Boaventura Monjane
Last update07/05/2014