Lithuanian startup HeavyFinance signs up 300,000 hectares in Ukraine for regenerative farming push

The farmland located in Ukraine’s western and central regions, will be transformed into regeneratively farmed land, then certified as soil-based carbon credits.
Lithuanian startup HeavyFinance signs up 300,000 hectares in Ukraine for regenerative farming push

Ukraine is the breadbasket of Europe, producing one of the highest wheat yields in the world

The country is replete with chernozem soil (also known as black soil. But, deep tillage has been a popular soil management practice in Ukraine for the past 50 years, contributing to extreme soil degradation, humus layer quality and depth, and organic carbon oxidation. 

Further, farmers not only have to contend with heat waves, droughts, and floods, but in the case of those in  Ukraine,  bombing, damaged machinery and land and a lack of access to seeds and fuel. Some examples:

Image: Damage in Ukraine fields by missles. Source: HeavyFinance
Image: Damage in Ukraine fields by missles. Source: HeavyFinance

This week, European climatetech company HeavyFinance signed 300,000 hectares of farmland in western and central Ukraine to its carbon farming programme, a shift to regenerative agriculture.

HeavyFinance is partnering with Ukrainian agricultural company Agsolco and its program Carbon Credit Ukraine to enable the nature-based shift. 

It is the only company in Europe conducting on-field soil carbon measurement, More than 3000 samples in Ukraine will be pre-sampled in July.  The farming land has produced a mixture of arable crops, including wheat, barley, and corn, to date and will continue to produce a mixture of arable crops.

This new partnership aims to enrol 500,000 hectares in Ukraine by the end of 2024.

A heavy push for land regeneration

HeavyFinance supports farmers transitioning to regenerative farming. 

Regenerative farming practices include low-disturbance soil management, crop rotation, fuel and fertiliser reduction and the growth of cover crops. 

spoke to Laimonas Noreika, CEO and co-founder of Lithuanian-founded HeavyFinance, to find out more. 

Noreika shared:

"There's a mental shift from conventional farming to regenerative farming. For example, farmers are instructed not to plough the ground. This enables the inner biology in the soil to recover, reducing the amount of fertilisers needed."

From crops to carbon credits 

HeavyFinance helps small and medium-sized farm owners generate soil carbon credits by applying regenerative agricultural practices to their soil.  It combines satellite data with laboratory soil samples, measuring how much organic carbon is sequestered in each soil type. 

HeavyFinance produces verified agricultural carbon credits while providing additional financial benefits to farmers in transitioning to more sustainable soil management practices. This enables investors and farmers of all sizes access to the Voluntary Carbon Market.

One soil carbon credit represents 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide or an equivalent greenhouse gas emission that has been reduced or removed from the atmosphere. 

The 300,000-hectare space in Ukraine — equivalent in size to 741,000 football pitches—has been selected because of its carbon sequestration potential once it switches to a regeneratively farmed approach. 

HeavyFinance predicts that 757.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions can be removed if regenerative practices are applied across the country's entire agricultural estate. This is equivalent to Germany's total annual carbon output. 

Once farming practices across this extensive area have transitioned to nature-based, sustainable and regenerative methods, the farming land will be certified for soil-based carbon credits.

Farmers are part of a greener future 

According to Noreika, farmers are keenly aware of the need to make their farming practices more sustainable, but yet severely underfunded in order to do so.

"When I was young, things were different. Farming was more consistent and predictable. 

Now the farmers say it can be really, really tough to work in the extreme conditions which change each year. Sometimes it's super sunny, sometimes it's too much water, sometimes it's mud. 

They understand that climate change is here and they need to do something. Otherwise, it's hard for them to produce healthy food products.

But ultimately, to speed up the fight against climate change, we need to provide capital to the farmers who own the majority of plants in Europe." 

 Noreika shared that HeavyFinance has visited a lot of farmers and "We're very surprised to learn in all the markets when we operate that they are at the  forefront of climate change and feel its effects." 

"We constantly talk with and visit farmers in Ukraine.  Many farmers have already started their journey towards sustainability. 

They know that to make a change, you need to invest in the future. 

It's an extraordinary mindset considering the challenging times." 

"The world is watching and recognising the role Ukraine plays in sustainability."  

With the base layer of carbon content in soil measured in laboratories and using satellite data, the companies are expecting the first credit issuance in the third quarter of 2025. 

Lead image: HeavyFinance. Photo: uncredited. 

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