Omnivore Farm Logs | Why we invested in Varaha

Omnivore
3 min readJan 4, 2023

Varaha is a tech-enabled platform for generating carbon credits via nature-based solutions.

Varaha Co-founders (L-R): Madhur Jain, Ankita Garg and Vishal Kuchanur

Globally, over 500 million smallholder farmers are affected by climate change. However, there are no financial incentives for most to adopt agricultural practices that reduce GHG emissions and improve carbon sequestration. With over 150 companies pledging to become carbon neutral by 2050, the pressure to offset emissions is increasing. Carbon credits, a tradable certificate (1 carbon credit = 1 metric tonne of carbon dioxide prevented from entering the atmosphere), is a way for a company to address emissions it cannot eliminate by purchasing said credits that contribute to carbon-positive efforts. Efforts include regenerative agriculture, preserving wildlife populations, reforestation, and restoration of damaged ecologies, to name a few nature-based examples. However, the global carbon credits space is fraught with challenges such as a lack of availability of good-quality credits, limited scientific rigor, lack of transparency, and a high prevalence of double-counting.

What exactly is Varaha offering?

Varaha’s tech-enabled platform generates carbon credits by incentivizing carbon-neutral nature-based practices. Varaha’s projects that generate these credits are meticulously vetted through machine learning algorithms and carbon modeling, ensuring every investment results in carbon removal and creates an additional income source for the smallholders along the way. By connecting legitimate carbon removal projects with companies and helping them address their net zero emission targets, Varaha is a one-stop destination for the creation, quantification, verification, & sale of high-quality carbon credits.

How effective is Varaha’s approach?

Based out of Gurugram and Bengaluru, Varaha was founded in 2022. The startup is working across 6 Indian states and has signed MOUs with several institutions. Varaha is focusing on regenerative agriculture which is one of the most- scalable, and most effective (in terms of the amount of GHG emissions reduced/sequestered) climate-positive measures. Through science-backed projects, Varaha helps farmers improve productivity, quality of products and incomes while simultaneously providing buyers with access to reliable, trustworthy, scientific, tamper-proof carbon credits at fair prices.

What about Varaha was compelling for Omnivore?

The impact of climate change is undeniable today. Many countries are already witnessing a rise in extreme weather events linked to a warming planet. To achieve global climate targets more companies will enter the carbon credit market. In a few years when these companies start competing to hit their offset goals, it will drive up the availability and cost of high-quality carbon credits.

Currently, the carbon credit ecosystem relies on low-tech methods for credit generation and verification. As a result, there is opacity around the processes leading to poor quality credits, ultimately defeating the fundamental idea behind this mechanism. Varaha’s blockchain-based, registry-backed tech platform for creating transparent carbon credits is the first of its kind in Asia, South Asia, and Africa. Varaha’s vision is to improve farmer livelihoods while catalyzing measurable climate action.

What’s next for Varaha?

Apart from expanding focus across India, in the coming months, Varaha plans to work in climate-vulnerable countries with substantial smallholder farmers such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Vietnam.

We are thrilled to welcome Varaha to the Omnivore portfolio. We look forward to working with the team to decelerate climate change and help build a sustainable future for agriculture and food systems.

Bonus: What does “Varaha” mean?

In Hindu mythology, Varaha is an avatar of Lord Vishnu. When Earth was dragged to the bottom of the sea by a demon, Lord Vishnu took the form of Varaha (a boar) to defeat him and lift the planet out of the primaeval waters. A fitting name for an Indian startup taking on the climate challenge.

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Omnivore

Omnivore is a venture capital firm, based in India, which funds entrepreneurs building the future of agriculture and food systems.