Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration
Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration

Integrate farmer managed natural regeneration into agriculture and forestry policies — NGO advocates

The Forum for Natural Regeneration (FONAR) has advocated for the adoption and integration of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) into agriculture and forestry policies to help restore degraded lands and help mitigate climate change.

FONAR is an environmentally focused NGO based in the Upper East Region. The Executive Director of FONAR, Mr. Sumaila Saaka, made the call at Pusu-Namongo in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region during a two-day training for selected school teachers on the implementation of the FMNR project in their schools.

The two-year programme is funded with the support from the Awaken Trees Foundation, an Austrian organisation with an interest in the environment aimed at influencing stakeholders towards the adoption and mainstreaming of FMNR into policies and farming practices.

While commending the government of Ghana for introducing the Green Ghana initiative to help degraded land restoration, the Execute Director stressed that FMNR was a more sustainable restoration of degraded lands and forest reserves and improving livelihood.

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Mr. Saaka also indicated that apart from FMNR being a sustainable way of reclaiming degraded lands, it is less expensive to manage than the normal ways of tree planting and growing.

He explained that what was needed was for community members to be trained to empower them to use simple farm tools such as cutlasses and sickles to prune trees shrubs regenerated naturally from tree rootstocks, stumps, and dispersed seeds by animals to restore degraded lands.

The director also said to help complement the government’s efforts in addressing the challenge, his outfit was implementing the project in 15 selected basic schools in the Talensi District.

The two-day training for the selected teachers is part of the implementation strategies to train the teachers to play key roles in shaping the behaviour of pupils and students who were the future leaders of the country to appreciate the benefits of the environment and contribute towards its sustainability.

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Mr. Saaka noted that for the country to effectively address land degradation, regreen and restore the forest reserves, there was an urgent need for the Forestry Commission and the Agricultural Ministry to include FMNR into their programmes and policies at the district, regional, and national levels.

Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration, agriculture, forestry policies, agriculture and forestry policies, Regeneration
Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration practice

He disclosed that the concept was currently being practiced in about 27 countries across the world and noted that in Ghana the initiative had been piloted in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region where it had restored several hectares of farmlands and is improving the livelihoods of the people in the area.

“For instance, our Forestry Strategy said that by 2040 we should have about 3.37 million hectares of farmlands covered by trees and looking at the level of degradation in Northern parts of Ghana, it is important for us at the district, regional and national level policymakers to adopt the FMNR concept to help achieve this result,” he added.

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The Founder and President of Awaken Trees Foundation, Mr. Josef Ertl, explained that the practice was cost-effective and appealed to stakeholders to support farmers to incorporate the initiative into their local farming systems for improved yields.

“FMNR can have a huge impact on food security because some trees fertilise and protect the soil from harsh winds and cool down the microclimate,” he stressed.

Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration

Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration is a low-cost, sustainable land restoration technique used to combat poverty and hunger amongst poor subsistence farmers in developing countries by increasing food and timber production, and resilience to climate extremes.

It involves the systematic regeneration and management of trees and shrubs from tree stumps, roots, and seeds. As well as returning degraded croplands and grazing lands to productivity, it can be used to restore degraded forests, thereby reversing biodiversity loss and reducing vulnerability to climate change.

FMNR can also play an important role in maintaining not-yet-degraded landscapes in a productive state, especially when combined with other sustainable land management practices such as conservation agriculture on cropland and holistic management on rangelands.

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FMNR adapts centuries-old methods of woodland management, called coppicing and pollarding, to produce continuous tree growth for fuel, building materials, food, and fodder without the need for frequent and costly replanting.

On farmland, selected trees are trimmed and pruned to maximise growth while promoting optimal growing conditions for annual crops (such as access to water and sunlight).

When FMNR trees are integrated into crops and grazing pastures there is an increase in crop yields, soil fertility and organic matter, soil moisture, and leaf fodder. There is also a decrease in wind and heat damage, and soil erosion.

 

The Choice Press
thechoicepress.com is an online news portal that seeks to project what the gallant small-scale farmers in Africa are doing. We basically report on everything that has to do with agriculture and agribusiness, especially in Ghana.
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