NGO educates farmers on the concept of advanced natural regeneration for sustainable agriculture.

NGO educates farmers on the concept of advanced natural regeneration for sustainable agriculture.

The Forum for Natural Regeneration (FONAR), an environmentally focused non-governmental organisation has sensitised farmers in the Nabdam District, Upper East Region, on an advanced concept of the Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) technology.

Lead farmers from two farming communities, Karaboug and Dasang in the district were introduced to the concept of the technology and their capacities built to practise the techniques to help restore degraded landscape and forest reserves in the communities and improve livelihoods.

Demonstrations of the concept were done for the farmers to adopt the practice to enable them train other farmers in their respective communities, to contribute to climate change mitigation efforts and improve soil nutrients for increased crop yields and food security.

The intervention was part of the implementation of a natural regeneration project dubbed, “Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration for Women’s Empowerment and Livelihoods Project.

It is a two-year pilot project, with funding from Awaken Tree Foundation, an Austrian based organisation, which seeks to safeguard women’s land-based livelihoods using the principles of FMNR.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency after the lead farmers from the two communities were taken through the method of applying the technology, Mr Sumaila Saaka, the Executive Director of FONAR, said the objective of the project was to support farmers to adopt the FMNR approach to naturally help tree shrubs, stumps, rootstocks to regenerate naturally on their farmlands.

The FMNR is an easy and low-cost land and forest restoration technique used to increase the number of trees in the field without necessarily planting new ones but protecting and managing existing trees and shrubs through pruning to regenerate naturally.

This, he said, would not only help to regreen and restore degraded farmlands but would increase the soil nutrients for increased agriculture productivity, restore eco diversity and mitigate climate change.

He commended the government for its initiative to regreen the country through the Green Ghana project among others, noting that the reason why most of the land restoration strategies were not successful was because of the overly dependence on the concept of tree planting.

He said tree planting was expensive to practise and communities were finding it difficult nurturing trees to grow after planting while some farmers did not want to practice tree planting on their farmlands.

“If you look at the northern part of Ghana, where mostly we have about seven months of dry season, natural regeneration is more cost effective in terms of revegetating the lands than planting trees.

“For instance, the two communities we are working with do not even have water to drink and cannot practise tree planting but with the FMNR, the trees have roots that are able to tap water underground,” he said.

He urged the government to integrate the FMNR into the Green Ghana project to regreen some northern Ghana to achieve maximum results.

“When you do tree planting, mostly you do monoculture (one type of tree) but you need to restore local diversity because the environment is adaptive to local trees, so, when you regenerate local trees that are useful to the people, then you can re-vegetate the natural diversity and FMNR is the best to that,” he said.

Madam Mary Kudug, a lead woman farmer lauded the initiative and noted that the intervention had made them to understand that trees could be regenerated through pruning which had positive effects on their farming activities and promised to educate her colleagues.

GNA
The Ghana news Agency (GNA) was established on March 5, 1957, i.e. on the eve of Ghana's independence and charged with the "dissemination of truthful unbiased news". It was the first news agency to be established in Sub-Saharan Africa. GNA was part of a comprehensive communication policy that sought to harness the information arm of the state to build a viable, united and cohesive nation-state. GNA has therefore been operating in the unique role of mobilizing the citizens for nation building, economic and social development, national unity and integration.