Sai Kishore Nellore: Empowering small farmers

CDLS Impact Stories: Sai Kishore Nellore

01/05/2019
Sai Kishore Nellore

After serving in the Indian Air Force for 13 years, Sai Kishore Nellore decided to work on climate change while studying for a MBA in Aberystwyth, Wales. He realized that the people most affected by climate change are small and marginal farmers, who get limited support from such affirmative actions as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which enables projects in developing countries to earn Certified Emission Reduction units (CERs), which can then be sold, mainly to developed nations.

Sai's research in the UK led him to Bremley Lyngdoh, Founder and CEO of Worldview Impact. They discussed the issue of small and fractured land holdings and on his return to India, Sai started working with VEDA Climate Change Solutions (VCCSL), an enviro-social enterprise working with small and marginal farmers. He completed the validation and verification of its Improving Rural Livelihoods project, which has now been implemented in partnership with the BioCarbon Fund of the World Bank and JK Paper Mills.

This was the first project of its kind in Asia. It has benefited some 1,600 small and marginal farmers in six poor districts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha and afforested or reafforested 1,607 hectares of degraded land. The farmers sold 80,000 CERs to the World Bank for $4.05 per ton of CO2. During the project’s lifetime, each farmer will get about $300 per ha and also make about $3000 per ha by selling pulp wood to the local paper industry.

Sai strongly believes that farmers are not just beneficiaries but providers and stewards of the ecosystem services on which we all depend. He has been working on developing unusual business models to benefit farmers and is exploring the convergence of payment for ecosystem services, blockchain and fintech in a doctorate with the International Open University Foundation.

He has worked with UNDP, the Government of Bhutan, and the corporate sector to develop and manage projects related to land restoration and climate change. He and Bremley have conceptualized a project to develop a new Ecosystem Services Assessment and Valuation Standard that uses such technologies as blockchain and drones for monitoring and verification.

Sai took part in the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security (CDLS) in 2018. It offered a platform to interact with others working in this domain and to develop collaborative partnerships. Sai and Bremley have started collaborating with Natural Capital Alliance – an initiative by CDLS participants to empower the regenerative economy through peer-review of blockchain projects on regeneration, with the aim of building a trusted global marketplace.

Sai also participated in the Policy Markers Round Table at Caux. He realized CDLS's immense potential, was inspired by its energy and has committed himself to target land restoration at scale and replicate his successful Indian project.

Since leaving Caux, he and Bremley have identified 5000 ha of degraded mountain ecosystems in the Aruka region of the Eastern Ghats in Andhra Pradesh for a project that will benefit more than 4,000 households. Once implemented, it will be replicated for the whole of the Eastern Ghats, an area of over 50,000 in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. They are also developing collaborative partnerships to address livelihood issues over nearly 50,000 ha in Assam, and working in 400 villages in Meghalaya to contribute in community-led landscape management initiatives. The latter are a direct outcome of CDLS.

------

Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace aims to deepen understanding of links between land degradation and human security and to build the trust needed for effective collaboration on the ground and in ‘land-peace partnerships’. As a programme of Initiatives of Change International, it inspires, equips and connects people to address world needs, starting with themselves.

Among other activities, each year ILLP organizes the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security in the Swiss village of Caux, in collaboration with Initiatives of Change Switzerland, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The CDLS is much more than an annual Dialogue. It is located at the centre of a growing network of practitioners working on every aspect of human security and ecosystem restoration. They support each other, inform each other, and collaborate with each other.

Featured Story
Off

related stories

Aibanshngain Swer CDLS 2019

Protecting Meghalaya’s water sources

Some billion people rely on water sourced in the hills of Meghalaya, in North East India. One of those responsible for water conservation in the State, Aibanshngain Swer, took part in the Summer Acade...

Meghalaya CDLS 2019 Conrad Sangma

Meghalaya’s lighthouses of sustainable development

‘Our goal in Meghalaya is to build a low-carbon economy through complete involvement and ownership of communities,’ Conrad Sangma, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, told the opening session of the Caux...

CDLS 2019 Tom Duncan

Empowering communities to restore mangroves

Tom Duncan is passionate about problem solving and strategic systems thinking, primarily in regenerative economics, green finance and financial technology, as a means of restoring relationships betwee...

CDLS 2019 Chau Duncan

Bridging the financial divides

Chau Tang Duncan is applying over 20 years’ experience in banking, trade and commercial diplomacy to improving the financial access of disadvantaged communities. ...

Nhat Vhuong

Plucking water from the air

Webmarketing consultant and social entrepreneur Nhat Vhuong is passionate about tackling water scarcity. A Vietnamese refugee, who grew up in Switzerland, he worked in Japan for eight years before ret...

Hartmut Behrend Mali

Combatting climate change in Mali

Taking part in the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security (CDLS) 2014 encouraged  German climatologist Hartmut Behrend to move out of the bubble of well-intentioned international activism to work on the g...

CDLS 2019 Alan Laubsch

Restoring nature’s superheroes

Alan Laubsch is passionate about restoring nature’s ‘climate superheros’ – the mangrove forests. He believes that democratizing natural capital investment is key to this. He has over 20 years’ experie...

CDLS 2019 panel Laubsch Duncan Brown

Investing in the future of life on Earth

‘What would it feel like to be the last White Rhino?’ Alan Laubsch, founder of EarthPulse, asked participants in the third day of the Caux Dialogue for Land and Security 2019 (CDLS). ‘Your family has ...

YAP 2019 congratulations

Fresh air for Young Ambassadors

This year’s Young Ambassadors Programme (YAP) brought 39 young people from across Europe to Caux for four intensive days of training in how to work for change in their communities. They then took part...

Summer Academy 2019

Summer Academy on Land, Security and Climate is launched in Geneva and Caux

The inaugural Summer Academy brought together 18 participants from Afghanistan/Denmark, Bhutan, Germany, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Nigeria/UK, Philippines, Portugal, Somalia/UK, Spain/Switzerland, Swed...

CPLP 2019 group garden

Young people unleash their potential

The Caux Peace and Leadership Programme (CPLP) is way more than just a four-week training programme. It is a platform where young leaders from all over the world explore personal and global change. It...

Armenian-Kurdish-Turkish Dialogue 2019

It takes more courage to love than to hate

The Armenian-Kurdish-Turkish Dialogue 2019 took place during the Tools for Changemakers conference, bringing together people of Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish backgrounds to explore sensitive issues th...

Caux Palace

Going down the mountain

When people say that Caux is a life-changing experience, it is not just a cliché. For some, this is their first time out of their countries. For many, it is an opportunity to work with their traumas a...

Brian Iselin

Brian Iselin’s fight against modern slavery

The sun is slowly setting but the air is still warm as ten people form a circle to listen to Brian Iselin’s captivating story told during the human library as part of the Ethical Leadership in Busines...

Week of International Community

Week of International Community 2019

Thirty people, aged from five weeks to 78 years old, from 10 countries gathered for the Week of International Community (WIC) from 19 to 26 June, to prepare the Caux Conference and Seminar Centre for ...