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The politics of agricultural carbon finance: the case of the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project

In the context of major scientific and policy concern with the causes and implications of climate change, various actors are now keen to demonstrate how agricultural carbon finance can help achieve multiple benefits or ‘triple wins’ for sub-Saharan African agriculture. This paper explores the interplay of these demonstrations with prior interventions in complex socio-political and -cultural contexts, drawing on evidence from the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project (KACP), which is the first World Bank supported project on agricultural carbon finance in Africa. Fieldwork, interviews and document analysis show how a powerful donor-science network has established a dominant narrative around ‘triple wins’ which does not resonate well with local circumstances. The paper argues that approaches and associated capacity-building need to inform farmers more fully of the links between sustainable farming practices and carbon, clarify their carbon rights and attend to wider development issues.