Teachers empowered to shape behaviours toward environment

 The Forum for Natural Regeneration (FONAR), an environmentally focused non-governmental organisation, in the Upper East Region has advocated 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 Saturday.

The two-year programme, 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 the government for introducing Green Ghana initiative to help with the restoration of degraded lands, the Execute Director stressed that FMNR was a more sustainable way of restoring degraded lands and forest reserves which would help improve livelihood.

According to the Executive Director, apart from FMNR being a sustainable way of reclaiming degraded lands, it was also less expensive to manage than the normal wayof tree planting and growing.

  He explained that there was, therefore, the need for community members to be trained so as to enable them 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

He 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, as part of the implementation strategies to train the teachers to play key roles in shaping the behaviour of pupils and students to appreciate the benefits of the environment and contribute towards its sustainability.

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

He disclosed that the concept was currently being practised 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 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 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.

FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, PUSU-NAMONGO

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