The Case for Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) in the Upper West Region of Ghana

Client: The Economics of Land Degradation

Project phase: January 2018 - January 2020

The Economics of Land Degradation Initiative


Land degradation and desertification are amongst the world’s greatest environmental challenges. The African continent is the most affected in terms of soil erosion, but it has a huge potential for ecological restoration (Gnacadja and Wiese, 2016; ELD & UNEP 2015).

The “Regreening Africa” project aims to restore one million hectares of degraded lands across, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, and Somalia.  The first phase, implemented under the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative uses Cost Benefit Analysis to assess the societal value of different land use options and serve to extend the capacity of national experts to undertake economic valuation. The project is funded by the EU Commission and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development  (BMZ)

Altus Impact is proud to have led the first phase of this project, in collaboration with the University of Geneva, University for Development Studies (UDS), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organization Development (CIKOD), World Vision Ghana and the University of Geneva


The Upper West Region of Ghana is the third poorest region of Ghana. Uncontrolled bush burning, extensive cattle grazing, and small-scale mining has contributed to the degradation of agricultural and forestlands, compromising livelihoods and food security.

In the light of this situation, CIKOD– a community focused NGO – has since 2014 supported farmers with re-greening secondary forests, fallow lands, and farmlands using a technique known as farmer managed natural regeneration (FMNR).

The results are impressive. FMNR allows farmers to improve crop productivity by at least 86%. Other sustainable land management practices, such as tied ridges, crop rotation, intercropping with legumes, are also contributing positively to crop productivity. Regenerated trees provide produce in the dry season, such as dawa dawa, shea nuts and ebony fruits, which in turn help  farmers to smooth income through the year and enhance their food security.

Overall, FMNR allows a typical household to increase its income by EUR 94, which is a substantial improvement considering that the lower food poverty line – i.e. what is needed to meet the nutritional requirements is EUR 126, per adult equivalent per year (Ghana Statistical Service 2018).


Regrettably there are significant obstacles up-scaling FMNR in Ghana, ranging from insufficient fire management, low and poor availability of rural credit, contradictory policy incentives and the absence of strong land and tree tenure. In collaboration with our research partners, we have published and organised policy workshops to highlight what NGOs, the private sector and government agencies, can do to address the various obstacles and help create an enabling environment for farmers to practice FMNR. For more information, please read the main case study report: EN

Or the policy brief: EN

Other useful links to the

Regreening Africa project

The Ghanaian context:

For questions or comments, please contact: vanja(a) or