Knauer Updates Progress on Ghana Sustainability Project

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The “farmer-managed natural regeneration,” or FMNR, project has been ongoing for more than two years, aimed at re-greening deforested land.

Chromatography and nanoparticle developer and manufacturer Knauer recently provided an update at its Berlin, Germany headquarters on an undertaking now more than two years in the making in the west African country of Ghana (1).

CEO Alexandra Knauer talking about her passion for sustainability | Image Credit: © Knauer

CEO Alexandra Knauer talking about her passion for sustainability | Image Credit: © Knauer

There, in the northern Binduri district bordering Burkina Faso, agricultural economist Tony Rinaudo of Australia—known in the industry as the “forest maker”—is spearheading a method known as FMNR, or farmer-managed natural regeneration. Its goal, instead of planting new trees, is to naturally regenerate trees using the existing underground roots of cleared ones (2). If those roots are developed under the right conditions, according to project partner World Vision, they will sprout again and one day grow into new trees. A 2022 documentary, the trailer of which can be found on YouTube, offers more information about Rinaudo’s background and the basis of the FMNR approach (3).

“Our goal is to restore 1 billion hectares of degraded land in the next decade,” Rinaudo said at the recent event in Berlin. “What have we got to lose? The alternative is not pretty.”

The involvement of Knauer is not immediately apparent given the company’s primary focus on laboratory equipment manufacturing, particularly in the world of liquid chromatography (LC), over the last six decades. But company officials said in a press release that sustainability is “close to the heart” of its approximately 200 employees, and that corporate responsibility has been concentrated on the impact of the environment on society (1).

An audience of 120 listened with interest to Tony Rinaudo's presentation. The event was also streamed live at the same time. | Image Credit: © Knauer

An audience of 120 listened with interest to Tony Rinaudo's presentation. The event was also streamed live at the same time. | Image Credit: © Knauer

According to World Vision, the initial two-year project phase has been completed, and the next one is expected to take another two years (2). Knauer, which provided a first round of €400,000 in funding, is assisting with securing an additional €100,000 in donations, as all the stakeholders work together to not only educate locals about sustainable agriculture, but also train them in numerous environmental practices.

It helps that most of the 5,000 people—out of nearly 77,000 in the Binduri district—who figure to be helped most by the project are already farmers, many of whom rely on what they themselves grow to live (2). But they may lack resources, not only financially, but simply in tools and equipment, to keep up with adaptations that must be made with respect to climate change.

Knauer said, however, that the FMNR process so far has helped improve the lives of farmers to the tune of an average additional family income of $1000 (U.S.) annually, much of that done without the beneficiaries being aware, in many cases, that they are being put on more sustainable footing (1).

References

(1) Go Green in Ghana – ‘Forest Maker’ Tony Rinaudo with World Vision On Site at Knauer. Knauer. Knauer Wissenschaftliche Geräte GmbH, 2024. https://www.knauer.net/en/go-green-in-ghana-forest-maker-tony-rinaudo-with-world-vision-on-site-at-knauer/n48198 (accessed 2024-06-03).

(2) Knauer Enables a Comprehensive Environmental Project in Ghana. World Vision International. World Vision Germany eV, 2024. https://www.worldvision.de/spenden/unternehmen/kooperation/knauer-fmnr-projekt (accessed 2024-06-03).

(3) Patra Spanou Film. The Forest Maker – Documentary by Volker Schlöndorff. Patra Spanou Film, May 25, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQH_4sUD2f8 (accessed 2024-06-03).

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