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Environmental NGO advocates integration of FMNR into agriculture and forestry policies

The Forum for Natural Regeneration (FONAR), an Environmentally focused Non- Organisation, in the Upper East Region 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.

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 on Tuesday.

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

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

According to the Executive Director apart from FMNR being sustainable way of reclaiming degraded lands, it was also 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 use simple farm tools such as cutlasses and sickles to prune trees shrubs regenerated naturally from tree root stocks, stumps, and dispersed seeds by animals to restore degraded lands

.He said to help complement government’s efforts to address the challenge, his outfit was implementing the project in 15 selected basic schools in the Talensi District and that the two days for the selected teachers was 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 environment and contribute towards its sustainability.

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

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 improving livelihoods.

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

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 micro climate,” he stressed.

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