Regenerative farming - Indo-Gangetic Plains, India

Over 51,000 farmers, across 600,000 acres, in seven Indian states are already a part of this ambitious project! Their mission is to accelerate the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices to cut greenhouse gas emissions, restore degraded land, and boost soil health and crop yields. Using regenerative techniques like reduced tillage, Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR), crop residue management, crop rotation and cover crops, it replaces harmful traditional methods. Since launching in 2019 in Punjab and Haryana, the project now extends to maize-wheat, sugarcane and cotton systems, incorporating pulses and mustards as cover crops. This initiative stands out for its contribution to the 12 Sustainable Development Goals, making a significant stride towards sustainable agriculture with far-reaching impacts on the environment and local livelihoods.

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Project information

Sustainable farming practices

Agriculture is responsible for over 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with India being the 3rd largest emitter globally. This project aims to promote regenerative practices such as reduced tillage, cover cropping, crop residue incorporation and optimised fertilisation with smallholder farmers in the Indo-Gangetic Plains, a region affected by persistent pollution. 

This area, crucial for India's agriculture, faces severe environmental challenges that exacerbate global agricultural emissions. Sustainable and regenerative farming practices will help reduce carbon emissions, water use and pollution while improving soil health, crop yields and farmer livelihoods.

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Regenerative farming







Sustainable Goals

  • no poverty
  • zero hunger
  • good health
  • quality education
  • gender equality
  • clean water
  • clean energy
  • economic growth
  • infrastructure
  • reduced inequality
  • sustainable cities
  • responsible consumption
  • climate action
  • life below water
  • life on land
  • peace justice
  • partnerships

Project performance

The Earthly rating

The Earthly rating is the industry-first holistic project assessment. Earthly researchers analyse 106 data points, aggregating information across the three vital pillars of carbon, biodiversity and people. Projects in Earthly's marketplace all exceed a minimum score of 5/10.


Project impact

Local impact

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This map displays the evolution of the regenerative agriculture project in the Indo-Gangetic Plains, highlighting the states where it currently operates and those planned for future expansion. It charts the project's growth from 34,000 hectares in 2019 to a projected 2 million hectares by 2038.

Project area: through time

India's diverse agricultural sector faces significant challenges, including soil degradation, water scarcity and the detrimental effects of conventional farming practices such as the overuse of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. These practices contribute to carbon emissions and diminish soil fertility, but socio-economic barriers and a lack of scientific expertise limit the transition to sustainable methods. The Indo-Gangetic Plains project addresses these issues through the adoption of regenerative agriculture, aiming to rejuvenate soil health, increase biodiversity, sequester carbon, and improve water management.

This initiative marks a crucial step in transforming farming practices to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly, offering hope to millions of vulnerable smallholder farmers across India. Since 2019, the project has seen significant growth, planning to expand from 34,000 hectares to 2 million hectares by 2038. This growth is not only in land area but also in achieving substantial environmental impacts, including increased soil organic matter, reduced erosion, improved water quality, and increased climate resilience for India's farming communities.


Positive for people

The Indo-Gangetic Plains are significantly impacted by poor air quality, alongside a range of other environmental challenges. The project aims to fight this challenge. In the most recent monitoring period, the project avoided the burning of over 125,000 hectares of agricultural land. This reduction in air pollution, and the associated mortality rate attributed to air pollution, has saved the equivalent of 164 lives in the current monitoring period. Amazingly, the project expects to save 30,000 lives over the project lifetime by avoiding crop residue burning.

Economically, the project has fostered a substantial uplift in the livelihoods of local farmers, showcasing a 12-16% increase in their incomes, with 50-70% of carbon credit revenue distributed to farmers. This financial boost is attributed to a combination of factors including enhanced productivity, the sale of carbon credits, and a marked reduction in production costs.

In terms of employment, the Indo-Gangetic branch of this project currently supports 34 individuals on the ground; a figure that is expected to grow to 250 over the project's lifespan. This expansion signifies not only the project's growth, but also its role in fuelling local employment and contributing to the economic stability of the region.


Good for earth

The Indo-Gangetic Plains face significant challenges, including soil degradation, water scarcity and environmental pollution. In response, the project has made significant strides in sustainable agriculture, notably reducing water consumption by 25% through the adoption of direct seeded rice (DSR) techniques instead of traditional transplanted methods. This shift has led to the conservation of over 65 million liters of water in the most recent monitoring period, demonstrating the project's commitment to addressing these challenges through efficient and sustainable resource use.

Beyond water savings, the project champions regenerative agriculture practices that offer a plethora of biodiversity benefits and improvements in soil health. These practices extend beyond enhancing soil carbon levels to include erosion control and the promotion of soil biodiversity, thereby ensuring the long-term viability and productivity of the land. Such holistic environmental stewardship not only supports the ecosystem but also bolsters agricultural resilience.

Moreover, the project places a strong emphasis on reducing the use and reliance on agrochemicals, including synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. This approach minimises chemical runoff: a common environmental hazard associated with conventional farming practices. By advocating for, and implementing, safer and more sustainable agricultural methods, the project contributes to the preservation of surrounding ecosystems and water quality.

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