World Vision’s Tony Rinaudo’s work in FMNR has yielded further recognition with him winning The Right Livelihood Award. This prestigious international award is given to four Laureates worldwide each year. It recognises courageous people and organisations offering visionary solutions to the root causes of global problems.
Tony was in the middle of barren landscape in Niger in 1983, when he made a surprise discovery - there was an existing underground network of tree roots struggling to grow. He realised he could train local farmers to help these trees grow by educating them about the benefits of trees and teaching them a proven pruning technique.
Called Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR), it has been credited with helping restore six million hectares of forest in Niger alone.
“FMNR isn’t a silver bullet, but it definitely has the potential to play a major role in mitigating climate challenges and reducing world hunger,” advises Tony.
“The international community was planting trees, but many of these trees kept dying. They wouldn’t survive the drought, while people were chopping them down because they desperately needed wood for fuel, shelter and to sell,” the 61-year-old agronomist says.
By using the simple method of FMNR, farmers have been able to double their crop yields and incomes.
“They’re now producing enough food to feed an extra 2.5 million people a year,” Tony says.
“Most people don’t realise that protecting the environment can help reduce hunger. Having trees on your land or forests nearby helps improve soil fertility, reduces rain runoff and boosts crop yields,” he continues.
World Vision would especially like to thank those who have supported Tony’s work through the Livelihoods program.