Newsletter – Issue 1

Newsletter – Food Security

Spotlight: Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR)

FMNR is a cost-effective land restoration technique used to combat poverty and hunger amongst poor subsistence farmers.

  1. What is FMNR?
  2. Why does it work where other methods fail?
  3. How do children and families benefit?
  4. What are the results so far?

What is FMNR?

  1. At a glance: Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) is a land rehabilitation method that goes against conventional farming techniques. It empowers farmers to manage their environment in a way that boosts soil quality, in order to reap successful harvests.
  2. It allows barren environments to thrive: The innovation behind FMNR is that it taps into ‘underground forests’ to regenerate the land. While many landscapes look barren, they actually contain a living network of tree stumps, roots and seeds below the surface. When farmers give these ‘underground forests’ a chance to re-grow, greenery can quickly regenerate, which stops soil erosion.
  3. A different approach to farming: Traditionally, farmers would continually clear forest to make room for planting crops. What they did not realise was that it caused soil quality to deteriorate over time and led to crop failure.
Image credit: World Vision WARO;

Why does it work where other methods fail?

  1. A farmer-led process: Allowing those living closest to the land to collaborate and come to a mutual agreement is a powerful mechanism. Farmers take ownership of the process and are invested in ensuring FMNR’s success.
  2. FMNR is cost-effective: In one study, the cost of FMNR implementation per hectare was US$4.00 compared to US$150+ per hectare for tree planting.
  3. Indigenous tree species are regenerated: Species that grow back are inherently well adapted to thrive in their natural environment.

How do children and families benefit?

  1. Greater food security: With higher crop yields, children have enough nutritious food to eat and are protected against hunger-related illnesses.
  2. Children develop holistically: Children are freed up from working to supplement family income and are able to go to school.
  3. Better income generation: Excess crops can be sold for additional income. With biodiversity restored, eco-tourism opens up new income streams as well.
  4. Protection against natural disasters: A restored environment is more resilient to calamities like droughts and floods.

What are the results so far?

  1. Globally, at least 6 million people have improved their crops and reduced hunger through FMNR.
  2. The Humbo region in Ethiopia suffered from drought repeatedly over 20 years and regularly received food assistance from the World Food Programme (WFP). Recently, they sold 106 tonnes of excess grain to the WFP for additional income.
  3. One of the agricultural cooperatives in Soddo, Ethiopia, has stored 118 tonnes of grain to tide through erratic weather
Food Security Projects Around The World

For many agrarian families, the productivity of their land determines how much food they can put on the table, how much income they garner, how secure their futures are. Food security projects focus on increasing the yield of fields through irrigation of dry lands, enhancing the resilience of crops through climate-resistant seeds and techniques, as well as equipping farmers with advanced and alternative livelihood skills. Click on the map to see what World Vision is doing in each country!

Interactive World Map

Ethopia Philippines Zambia India Nepal Vietnam
Zambia Ethiopia India Nepal Vietnam Philippines
Information in text links are the same as those in map links.
Water pumps Emergency rations Alternative livelihoods Drought / weather resistant seeds Land regeneration

One of the world’s worst famines happened in Ethiopia in the 1980s, where an estimated one million people died from hunger.

World Vision supports communities through:

  1. New gardening practices to rejuvenate land and improve soil quality, resulting in increased resilience of harvests
    As a result, some households have already expanded their land from 7.5 hectares to 10 hectares to include cabbages, onions, beetroots, tomatoes and potatoes in a single plantation!
  2. Introduction of climate-resistant seeds
  3. Irrigation of fields to increase soil fertility and crop yield
  4. Alternative livelihood training, e.g. dairy farming
  5. Emergency rations in times of drought
Water pumps Emergency rations Alternative livelihoods

With erratic climate change, many of the world’s poorest countries are at risk of or have already experienced devastating disasters. In emergency situations, stricken families need urgent, immediate food relief.

World Vision supports such communities in the Philippines through:

  1. Providing food kits and rations to affected families who have no means of attaining food after disasters
    The most significant calamity was Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, when more than 229,000 people received food kits in its immediate aftermath
  2. Cash-for-work programmes to benefit families who have lost their livelihoods overnight
  3. Livelihood restoration through livestock distribution, business start-up toolkits and training for alternative livelihoods
Land regeneration Alternative livelihoods

In many parts of the world, farming communities rely on only one harvest a year. As a result, children struggle to have enough to eat. In some parts of Vietnam, almost 20% of children are stunted.

World Vision supports such communities in Vietnam through:

  1. Training rural families in alternative farming, e.g. mushroom farming and duck-raising
    Outside of harvest season, families can now sell mushrooms to supplement their income, in some cases, by more than 50%!
  2. Introducing new agricultural techniques, e.g. making bio-fertiliser to conserve soil quality
  3. Improving irrigation systems in communities, e.g. irrigation canals for rice fields
Alternative livelihoods Land regeneration

In many parts of the world, farming communities rely on only one harvest a year. Where weather is erratic, farmers can sometimes lose up to 90% of their crops. For example, Zambian farmers are often subject to droughts and erratic rainfall, contributing to chronic malnutrition among children. In fact, almost one in two children in Zambia are malnourished2 .

World Vision supports such communities in Zambia through:

  1. Training farmers in alternative livelihood methods such as beekeeping for honey and fish farming.
  2. Starting innovative agriculture to regenerate land and harvests
    For example, through Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) projects, local villagers learn how to rehabilitate wasted rangelands into lush areas for grazing. Once the area is rehabilitated, it becomes a source of knowledge for farmers who can transfer the skill to their own farms. All these combined efforts build community resilience by giving them economic options during hard times.

2 Chronic malnutrition prevalence for children under-5 is ninth highest in the world, at 45.4% (WFP, 2016)

Alternative livelihoods Drought / weather resistant seeds Land regeneration

Nepal is ranked fourth in the world for vulnerability to climate change. Although the main source of income is agriculture, about 87% of people do not have enough food for 12 months a year.

World Vision supports communities through:

  1. Conservation agriculture to achieve more profitable and reliable production while protecting and restoring the environment to ensure sustainable yields
  2. Training farmers on the use of fertilisers and soil erosion control techniques
  3. Agroforestry and home gardening practices for vulnerable families with little land
Water pumps Emergency rations Alternative livelihoods

With erratic climate change, many of the world’s poorest countries such as India, are at risk of or have already experienced devastating disasters. In emergency situations, stricken families need urgent, immediate food relief.

For the long term, vulnerable communities in India need to be strengthened against the impact of sporadic droughts. This can be done through securing sustainable water sources, crop sustenance and livestock supplies.

World Vision supports such communities in India through:

  1. Distributing food kits in response to floods in 2015 and the drought in 2016
    These food kits represented a chance at survival for families who lost their entire livelihoods overnight.
  2. Repairing and strengthening water and irrigation systems, e.g. deepening wells, building watersheds and dams to encourage the regeneration of groundwater
    By securing sustainable access to water, communities will be more equipped for dry seasons as they would have sufficient water for irrigation and livestock feeding purposes. This will reduce the impact of erratic weather on their food supplies.
  3. Encouraging farmers to diversify crops to increase yield over the various seasons of the year

Where Hope Grows Greener – Aster’s Story


Hope Grows Greener

Where there once were thousands of hectares of barren hill, exposing residents to severe drought and starvation, there is now thriving forest providing for the needs of hundreds of families living near the base of these hills in Ethiopia.
Resident Aster, 35, shared, “My family of seven did not get even one meal a day and usually went to bed hungry for more than six months of the year.”
Traditionally, villagers cut down trees on the hills without discretion for charcoal and firewood. Though they knew that this practice was destroying the land, they did not know of any other way to get resources and earn an income.Due to the land degradation, mud and stones would wash down to the foot of the hills when it rained, rendering the ground infertile. Crop failure was a grim reality for the community.

Driven by desperation, Aster and other community members took extreme measures for survival.

“While I was pregnant with my younger son, I used to carry a full sack of charcoal or maize on my head and travel more than eight hours from my village to sell the goods or use the flour mill service,” she recalled with grief.

failed maize
In response to the dire crisis in the area, World Vision collaborated with the local community and regional government to design a project to improve the livelihoods of the community through an innovative technique called Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR).“Thanks to World Vision and its partners, I am now able to increase the production of maize by nine to ten times on one hectare of land. I have been able to grow different fruits and edible plants such as mangoes, papayas, sugarcane, cassava and others both for my family’s consumption and for sale. I have also bought two cows which gave birth to two calves each. These cows are giving me and my family four litres of milk per day,” Aster proudly explained.

“Since the start of the FMNR project, I and many of our villagers have been able to have enough food on the table and send our children to school,” she expressed with a feeling of relief and confidence.


For a community that once was a beneficiary of the World Food Programme (WFP), to one that now sells grain to the WFP, it is indeed a remarkable transformation!

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