BUILDING PROSPEROUS COMMUNITIES
THROUGH SUSTAINABLE LAND USE
To see a sustainable economy and optimized benefits grow for communities within the area.
To see the preservation of the wilderness asset and a reduction in forest degradation through effective and strategic management of resources.
AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY
The main economic driver within the region is agriculture. The ACNN sees optimum development of agriculture as the cornerstone to its success. Traditional shifting agriculture is still widespread and a major driver of deforestation. The widespread introduction of Conservation Agriculture (CA) is a necessity in order to improve yields, crop diversity and soil health for farmers. Successful CA will extinguish the need for shifting agriculture as has been widely demonstrated elsewhere in Africa. Increasingly, traditional subsistence and shifting agriculture has been supplemented with small-scale tobacco growing as a cash crop. The initiative aims to intervene to introduce more efficient and less land degrading practice into both these agricultural scenarios.
RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The ACNN will assist the development of a range of community-based economic activity, centered around a range of integrated resources in the area, such as: Conservation Agriculture
The majority of rural farmers practice shifting small-scale cultivation, which leads to significant deforestation. Adopting methods of improved yield and harvest will help to slow the opening of new fields through cutting of natural forest, but also deliver higher yields and optimal crop diversity. This increase in productivity will be matched with improved access to markets in order to allow for a wholly impacted small-scale agricultural sector in the region.
Spearheaded by Rift Valley Corporation, the Community Business School is earmarked as the tool to deliver training and capacity building to local communities. The School aims to deliver agricultural and financial education to farmers within communities, using technology enabled learning and an adaptive curriculum to help them develop the skills they need to provide for their household and build vibrant and prosperous rural communities. A pilot program in both Zimbabwe and Mozambique is scheduled for launch in 2017.
NATURAL FOREST MANAGEMENT
Habitat protection is the long term challenge to conservation in Niassa. Habitat loss, due to unsustainable land-use, is the most pressing task facing the ACNN as there has been an escalation in the rate of deforestation, driven principally by agriculture and the charcoal trade.
The ACNN’s vision is to impact the uptake of sustainable land-use in the Province. With base-line data available to illustrate the rapid rate of deforestation and the worst affected areas, the ACNN sets out to help deliver a reduction in this rate, supporting initiatives that tackle the causes of deforestation and provide models to maintain sustainable agriculture or protect existing and intact forest resources. These models include community controlled charcoal concessions that harvest natural forest on a sustainable basis.
Under the current low-yield shifting agricultural system, an additional 200,000 ha of land will be needed to support the Lichinga region’s growing population by 2020. By 2030, this number is estimated to be nearly 600,000ha. Improvements to agricultural yields and sustainable practice need to be urgently addressed, to deliver increased prosperity to communities.
WILDERNESS & WILDLIFE PRESERVATION
Niassa faces a rapid reduction in natural forest habitat through human encroachment. Threats to the vulnerable dryland forest include the expansion of shifting subsistence agriculture, charcoal trade, tobacco farming and open cast mining. It is recognized that a stable local economy through sustainable agriculture and well managed use of natural forest resources is key to stemming continued deforestation.
The ACNN will assist the implementation of a range of initiatives designed specifically to impact a reduction in deforestation in the area and protect remnant wildlife populations under threat.
The ACNN recognizes that land and natural resources are facing increasingly complex, interrelated and widespread challenges. Population increase, exacerbated by climate change, stretches critical
ecosystem services for food and energy production, resulting in deforestation, wildfire, pest and disease outbreaks etc. The goal of improved rural livelihoods through a combination of increased agricultural productivity along with sustainable utilization of the natural forest requires that Niassa has in place a strong provision of ecosystem services that can support long term and meaningful development of local commerce.
THE ACNN’S PRACTICAL ACTIVITY – THE LAGRI PROJECT
As the ACNN is launched, it is important to demonstrate the organization’s commitment to practical interventions within Niassa. As such, the LAGRI initiative, a landscape-scale integrated resource management project, is being developed as the ACNN’s initial flagship project. The ACNN can immediately begin to influence the successful development of LAGRI, through a demonstration of common purpose involving practical collaboration to impact community prosperity, government support, funding and market development.