LEAN project focuses on scaling up Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration

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The consortium implementing the Landscapes and Environmental Agility across the Nation (LEAN) project has advocated the integration and scaling up of the Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) approach to restore degraded lands and mitigate effects of climate change.

The FMNR is an evolution of conventional agriculture, reducing water and other input use, preventing land degradation and deforestation, and improving biodiversity and climate resilience.

The LEAN project is European Union sponsored initiative being implemented by a consortium of Rainforest Alliance, World Vision Ghana, Tropenbos Ghana and EcoCare Ghana in three landscapes namely Savannah, Transition and Ghana’s forest zones.

The four-year project aims to support national and local efforts to conserve biodiversity, improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, build climate resilience and reduce emissions from land-use changes cross Ghana’s high forest, savannah and transition zones.

The organisations made the advocacy at Bolgatanga during a validation workshop on the research findings on the impact of the LEAN project on the beneficiary communities.

The workshop brought together stakeholders from some District Assemblies, the Forestry Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Agriculture, landscape management board beneficiaries among others.

The organisations called on the government and institutions to mainstream approaches of FMNR into country’s land restoration strategies and the development plans to restore degraded landscapes.

Mr. Nicholas Jengre, Country Director, Rainforest Alliance, explained that the impact of climate change was unbearable and vulnerable rural communities were bearing the worst brunt due to continuous loss of vegetative cover.

He said although several land restoration initiatives, including tree planting, had been undertaken over the years to restore the degraded forest and lands, they had not yielded the desired results.

The FMNR, he said, has great potential to restore lost vegetative cover and lands.

“I believe that in the Northern sector where it is difficult to grow trees because of the weather conditions, if we adopt this natural regeneration, working with farmers, stakeholders and donor agencies, we will be able to get the vegetation back in this hard to grow trees landscapes,” he said.

He said the LEAN project was making significant contributions to the management of natural resources and underscored the need for stringent bye laws to protect the environment.

Mr Francis Gumah, the Northern Regional Operational Manager, World Vision Ghana, said apart from the FMNR approach being cost effective and easy to practice by smallholder farmers, it had the greatest potential to restore soil nutrients and improve agriculture production.

Ghana’s forest reserves continue to deplete annually and when alternative livelihoods interventions were integrated into the approach, it would encourage farmers to adopt the practice and sustain it.

Ms Vassileva Alorvor, Campaigner, EcoCare Ghana, said with project implementation, especially those that had to do with environmental protection and management, there was the need for community involvement and encouraged beneficiaries of the LEAN project to sustain the interventions to make maximum impacts.

Mr Emmanuel Owusu, Manager, Navrongo Division of the Forestry Commission, lauded the consortium for the EU LEAN project for complementing government’s efforts of greening the environment.

He called for sustainability plan to ensure the interventions continued even when the project’s lifespan ends.

By Anthony Adongo Apubeo, GNA

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