In West Africa the so called Assisted Natural Regeneration (RNA) is progressing as a solution to the ecological and food security crisis that is affecting this region. RNA means that farmers restore the original vegetation on their lands to improve the fertility of the soil and to grow a wide variety of products. ‘Assisted’ means that the vegetation sprouting from the ground in these area's, is protected from cattle and other hazards so they can grow undisturbed. Different agroforestry techniques are being used. The success of RNA is already visible at local level, and a breakthrough to national and international level is being prepared by a network of stakeholders. Both ENDS is assisting this breakthrough in various manners.
By protecting spontaneous regeneration of trees on their fields, farmers in Niger’s southern provinces Maradi and Zinder have successfully turned parts of the Sahel in Niger into green areas. It was started and has been carried out by farmers themselves for about twenty years now, with 5 million hectares of land restored to a forested landscape. This makes it the largest reforestation initiative in Africa.
This greening process is called the Régénération Naturelle Assistée, or Assisted Natural Regeneration (RNA). Now a day, it has been introduced in more than 46 villages, with farmers and technicians trained and 36 village forest committees formed to promote wider application. The Regreening Niger project builds on the positive experience that mixed forest-farmland landscapes offer the villagers a buffer against drought. RNA not only helps to restore soils and water tables, but also provides a more varied menu and timber and fodder, either for own use or for extra income.
ROLE OF BOTH ENDS
Both ENDS, VU-CIS en CRESA (Niger's Agro-scientific research agency ) work together to upscale and replicate this successful restoring approach which is led by farmers, in other areas.