Jonathan Langat, a father of five from Mogotio in Baringo County one of the 2,400 farmers practicing FMNR and has seen remarkable results.
Kenya…Among the major contributing factors to climate change in Kenya is massive deforestation, which is partly responsible for increased land aridity in the country.
To address this, World Vision in partnership with the department of foreign affairs and trade (DFAT-formerly known as Australia Aid for International Development (AusAID), will over the next five years implement a Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) project to assist more than 150,000 people in Baringo and Nakuru Counties cope with the negative impact of climate change.
FMNR seeks to improve food security and enhance the communities’ capacity to adapt to climate change as well as take part in restoration of the degraded environment thus strengthen household resilience.
World Vision Kenya National Coordinator for Environment and Climate Change, Joan Sang explains FMNR as a farmer driven low-cost, easily replicated approach to restoring and improving agricultural, forested and pasture lands through natural reforestation and agro-forestry. “The approach is based on the systematic re-growth of existing trees stumps, roots, or self-sown seeds and is possible where there are living tree stumps with the ability to re-sprout or seeds in the soil that can germinate,” Joan explains.
The FMNR approach discourages the total destruction of trees. Instead of the traditional way of cutting down an entire tree farmers are trained to prune a few branches of the tree and let the rest of the tree to grow. “The emphasis is to reduce the number of branches rather than cutting all the trees down. This allows nutrients to return to the soil and existing stumps with deep roots are able to grow back quicker than new trees,” Joan notes.
During a field visit to see the progress of the FMNR project, Geoff Toot, the Australian High Commissioner to Kenya said he had full confidence in FMNR improving the environment for agricultural development for the people of Baringo as he had seen it work in Niger, in the Sahel region, also plagued by frequent droughts, floods and chronic food insecurity.
“More than 13 million people across the Horn of Africa are directly affected by climate change. It is therefore critical that we seek out initiatives that will build the resilience capacity of these communities to cope with climate change,” said Tooth.
Jonathan Langat from Mogotio, Baringo County is one of the 2,400 farmers in Baringo practicing FMNR. He admits he is surprised by how simple FMNR approach is and how quickly he has seen the results in just under a year. I have plenty of pasture for the livestock; this has automatically increased the milk production. I used to buy hay for his livestock same for milk because the cows did not produce enough milk. The father of five now has a disposable income that enables him to provide for his family. “I can now afford school fees for my children from the income I get from selling milk and grass.”
Jonathan’s wife Dinah Chepkochei, also shares in her husband’s success story. Dinah used to travel over 2 kilometers (about 1.2 miles) to collect firewood. “This was exhausting and left me with little energy to do other meaningful activities in the homestead,” Dinah explains.
Dinah does not travel that distance anymore. The pruning of the branches still provides her with firewood. With free time at her disposal, Dinah started a small kitchen garden within their piece of land, where she grows vegetable for food and also for sale. “My children are healthy because of the nutritious foods and I have also achieved self-independence, as I do not nag my husband anymore for money to buy household items,” Dinah says.
The Governor of Baringo County, Mr. Benjamin Cheboi decries the massive deforestation that has largely contributed to the recurrent droughts and consequently, persistent food insecurity in the region. Over time, the massive deforestation has led to decreased vegetation cover, impeding economic development. “We fully support the FMNR project as an initiative that will help address some of the challenges the county is facing,” said Cheboi.
World Vision is working alongside 38 FMNR farmer-to-farmer extension agents -chosen by the community members-who have been very instrumental in the farmer-to-farmer spread of the FMNR concept.
FMNR has proven successful in other countries across the Horn of Africa such as Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania and also Niger, in the Sahel region.