The implementation of the Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) project in some selected communities in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region is yielding positive results and impacting many lives.
The World Vision Ghana established intervention has led to the restoration of degraded lands, re-greening of the environment, prevention of bushfires and deforestation, increase in crop and livestock production among others, thereby improving on food security and reducing poverty in communities there.
These were revealed at a durbar in the Tongo-Beo community; one of the beneficiary communities to welcome back Tony Rinaudo, an Australian who championed the FMNR cause.
The durbar was also held to acknowledge the winners of the Beating Famine Conference held recently in Mali in which World Vision Ghana and the beneficiaries won four awards out of 10.
The FMNR project, which has financial support from the Australia Government, is a low- cost land restoration technique that combats poverty and hunger among subsistent farmers by increasing food, timber production and increasing resilience to climate extremes.
The technique involves organized regrowth and management of trees and shrubs from felled tree stumps and sprouting root systems or seeds.
Mr Timothy Akanpabadai, the Regional Operations Manager of World Vision Ghana for the Northern Sector, said the project, which started with four communities in 2009, was now benefitting 1,200 farmers in 57 communities in the district.
He said it has restored 750 hectares of degraded lands and a further 1,500 hectares of FMNR on farmlands.
Mr Timothy Akanpabadai said the intervention has introduced to 3,000 farmers from the beneficiary communities, hybrid crop varieties that are high yielding, early maturing and drought resistant; and 1,500 farmers received the Perdua Cowpea Storage bags to store seeds and crops for longer periods.
Whilst indicating that the project partnered state institutions such as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana National Fire Service to train 2,500 farmers on soil fertility improvement and 1,200 fire volunteers with logistics to control wildfire respectively, he said it further trained and supported 640 farmers on modernized beekeeping practices.
The Regional Operations Manager called on all stakeholders including traditional authorities, development partners, citizens and the district assembly to adopt the FMNR approach to enhance food security systems and ensure sustainable agriculture.
Naba Bilia Maalitinga, the chief of Tongo-Beo, applauded World Vision Ghana for the project adding that two years after the intervention started in his community, his food crop and livestock production increased tremendously leading to him winning the the 2011 Upper East Regional Best Farmer Award.
He said the project did not only empower them to preserve their forest to provide nutritious fruits for their children, it also provided them with a source of drinking water, and has improve the rainfall pattern which used to be erratic.
Naba Maalitinga appealed to other organizations to provide the community with a dam or dugout to enable their animals have access to water especially during the dry season.
Madam Cecilia Topok Saparoug, a beneficiary and one of the winners of Beating Famine Conference in land restoration, female category, said the project has not only helped to preserve the thatch grasses they use to roof their homes, which for some time went extinct, but it has also enabled medicinal trees to be preserved.