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Publication | 23 March 2021

The social, environmental and economic benefits of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration

This study reviews the key literature related to Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) in order to establish its benefits and limitations as well as identify any gaps in evidence. The study then outlines potential challenges in meeting the identified gaps and recommends next steps to guide further evaluation and measurement.

This study aims to inform World Vision’s FMNR Project Model and be a valuable resource for those involved in the promotion and scale-up of FMNR globally.

Literature on FMNR, produced up to the end of 2014, was collated and reviewed for this study, including nine project evaluations, 39 published research papers, 52 published expert reviews and opinions, 28 field reports, plus personal correspondence with FMNR experts and farmers, and recorded anecdotes from the field.

Throughout the developing world, huge tracts of farmland, grazing lands and forests have become degraded to the point they are barely productive. This has an extremely detrimental effect on subsistence farming households and their communities who make up a large proportion of rural populations and who suffer regularly from hunger and malnutrition.

FMNR is a low-cost, sustainable land regeneration system that can be used to rapidly and efficiently return degraded croplands and grazing lands to productivity. It also restores biodiversity and increases resilience to severe weather events.

Since its inception in Niger in 1983, FMNR has spread across five million hectares or 50 percent of that country’s farmlands, which is the largest positive environmental transformation in Africa in the last 100 years. Since then, FMNR has been introduced in 18 countries i across Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, Timor-Leste, and most recently India and Haiti.

Evidence across the Sahel region of Africa, where FMNR is most prevalent, shows that communities can transform their lives through the social and environmental benefits of FMNR, leading to economic sustainability. As such, FMNR is an integrated development approach, leading to sustainable development outcomes.

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