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Business News of Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Source: GNA

WVG intervention improves food security in U/E

Majority of farmers in the operational areas of World Vision Ghana (WVG) in the Upper East Region who adopted the Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration Technology (FMNR) have had their crop production increased.

WVG works in the Talensi, Bawku West, Garu–Tempane and the Kassena-Nankana West Districts, and in all these areas majority of the farmers had adopted the technology.

The basic method of the FMNR is that the farmer selects the stumps or shrubs he or she will utilize, and decides how many stems will be allowed to grow on each stump, based on the farmer’s needs and ultimate purpose for reforestation. Excess stems are then cut, and side branches pruned off up to half way the trunk. A good farmer will then return two to six months for touch-up pruning, and thereby stimulate faster growth rates and produce straighter stems.

Speaking to the GNA on a field visit in the beneficiary communities, the farmers said the dropping of the residues of the FMNR on their farmlands had led to the increase of soil fertility, culminating into the increase of good yields than before.

“Unlike before we can now store enough food stuff from our harvest and feed the entire family, particularly our children till the next farming season.

Our children no longer go on empty stomachs to school. They can now attend school and learn very well”, Mr. Samuel Batan, the Secretary of the FMNR of Yameriga indicated.

They also indicated that as a result of the FMNR, the animals they rear, including cattle, goats and sheep, were able to get enough fodder to feed on, making them look healthier, fatter and attract good market “Look, now our animals are also fatter than before and we are able to get good sales from them than before due to the availability of fodder.

Many people are now going into animal rearing and this is leading to the improvement of the well-being of our families, particularly our children than before. We thank World Vision Ghana and its donors for such a good intervention”, the farmers stated.

Mr Navio Tee, 36 year old farmer from Namolgo, told the GNA that before the intervention, many children were made to forgo school and to shepherd the animals to far distance to graze which sometime led to the stealing of them and said children are now able to attend school and the stealing of the animals also stopped.

Some of the women farmers said they no longer spent several hours in traveling with their children to far distances in search of fuel wood to cock since they could now get fuel wood from the FMNR farms which was very closer.

“Those of us who are into sheanut processing used to commute at long distances into the bush in search of sheanuts to enable us process, but since the introduction of the FMNR we are able to get enough of the raw materials very closer to us. We can now process into large quantities to sell and take good care of our children by paying for their school fees and the premium of their National Health Insurance for them”, Ms Jenifer from Tindongo pointed out.

The farmers also gave an account that the FMNR had also generated employment for people like herbalists who could now get medicinal plants that were in extinction before the introduction of the technology.

Speaking to the GNA, about the genes of the FMNR in the area, the Talensi Area Development Programmes Manager (ADP) of WVG, Mr. Frederick Amoabeng, said his outfit which focused much on the welfare of children before the intervention, realized that the problem of food insecurity and climate change was a major problem, affecting mostly children and women.

“At that period in question crop yields had declined along with soil fertility, Lack of fodder for animals particularly cattle, sheep and goats in the dry seasons as the area is completely burnt, Wind speeds had increased, Wildlife and bush land had disappeared, Climatic conditions had become more severe and bush fires were common dry season occurrence and most people thought nothing could be done to reverse the situation.

This desperate situation informed WVG to conduct the assessment of the Natural Resource Management of the area which then informed its decision to start the FMNR project in 2009 in the Talensi District to help address phenomenon ”, he recounted.

He said the WVG operational area in the Talensi District has now become a learning centre of excellence for the FMNR and stated for instance that in 2014, a twelve member team from East Africa came to the centre to learn and to adopt the technology. After success at Yameriga, Tongo-Beo, Yindure, and Wakii among others in the Talensi-Nabdam District, the project has now been extended to the Garu-Tempane, Bawku West, and Kassena-Nankana West districts.

The FMNR concept had also been tested and proved good results in Neighbouring countries like- Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, among other.

Mr Amoabeng who lauded the efforts of the District Assembly, the Forestry Division and World Vision Australia who provided the funding for the implementation of the project and indicated that plans were ongoing to see how his outfit could partner with the Savannah Accelerated Development (SADA) and the Ministry of Agriculture to widen the scope of the project to include more farmers.