Africa is experiencing negative social, economic and environmental impacts of climate change and environmental degradation as over 70% of the natural disasters are related to extreme weather and climate.

Tens of thousands of hectares of farmlands in Africa have been so degraded that they no longer produce adequate or regular crops or can be used as pasture. For instance, 70% or more of Kenya’s population are subsistence farmers relying on this degraded resource base for their food and livelihoods, this has contributed to the dwindling food security situation.

In order to address this, farmers need cost effective ways of coping with the climate change challenges. The farmer-managed natural regeneration of trees (FMNR) is a low cost and easily replicated way to restore and improve agricultural and pasture lands through reforestation and agroforestry.

MNR encourages natural tree re-growth by selecting, pruning and protecting naturally regenerating trees, and uses living rootstock making sprouting of tree stumps easier, making it cheaper than tree planting.

Research shows that it costs about 30-50 USD to reforest an hectare of land through FMNR concept while it costs over 1000 USD to reforest an hectare of land through tree planting.

FMNR has been successful in West Africa and now it is picking up in east Africa as the communities continue to embrace the concept. Accompanied by other stakeholders, I had an opportunity to visit farmers at Nakuru, Kenya who have successfully practiced FMNR.

Three years ago the land (above) was highly degraded. After the FMNR practice, the land now has trees and pasture.

FMNR practice has increased food security and climate resilience and a range of products that can be consumed or sold. Those adopting FMNR have realised increased yields in crop harvest, decrease in soil erosion as the tree cover increases. The best benefit goes to the women who in many homes have been tasked with carrying out household chores which include collecting firewood and cooking.

About Ruth Munyao

Ruth serves with CBM as Senior Food Security Specialist in Africa, with specific reference to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan.