Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Müller has applauded Chilu community in Nkhoma, Lilongwe for their great work in restoring forests through the innovation Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR).
Before tackling the issue of climate change, which he said need concerted efforts from all involved, Minister Müller thanked the people of Chilu for their hard work, which he said was visible in the green crops visible in their gardens.
“Wherever I’ve passed in your village, the maize looks green and it is a sign of the great efforts you have put in, especially the women we have seen working”, said Müller through a translator.
Welcoming the Minister and German Ambassador to Malawi who had accompanied him, Group Village Headman Chilu said that his community had adopted FMNR introduced by World Vision in the community as one way of restoring their old trees and ensuring that they preserve their lower lands from soil erosion.
“Three years ago there was no forest here. All the trees you see were long cut for charcoal and firewood”, said GVH Chilu before adding that things changed with the adoption of FMNR.
“Ever since, we started taking care of the stems that remained and today, the forest is on its way returning, stronger than planted trees and we hope to start harvesting timber in the future ontop of the firewood our women are getting at the moment”.
FMNR is a low-cost land restoration technique used to combat poverty and hunger amongst poor subsistence farmers by increasing food and timber production and resilience to climate extremes.
In practice, FMNR involves the systematic regrowth and management of trees and shrubs from felled tree stumps, sprouting root systems or seeds. The regrown trees and shrubs – integrated into crops and grazing pastures – help restore soil structure and fertility, inhibit erosion and soil moisture evaporation, rehabilitate springs and the water.
In her remarks, World Vision’s Hazel Nyathi thanked the people of German for partnering with World Vision in so many interventions across the region and Malawi in particular.
“Every year, 29 tons of soil are lost per hactre each and every year in Malawi due to soil erosion. And we are happy that communities like these can stand up to say that things are changing courtesy of low cost community driven innovations like FMNR”, said Nyathi.
To date, World Vision Malawi is implementing the innovation in all its 32 Area Programmes across 20 districts in Malawi with 3, 291.22 ha of land is under FMNR.
Both Parties noted the success stories achieved to date and hope that the technology would be scaled up to other communities in need.