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29 June 2017

Biomonitoring Surveys Show Increased Human Pressure On Proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary

Posted in News, Views 151

 Biomonitoring Surveys Show Increased Human Pressure On Proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary

The urgent need for the protection of Chimpanzees and other wildlife species through classification of the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary has become very crucial. Biologists of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), resounded the exigency, Monday June 12, 2017 after evaluating some 18 biomonitoring surveys carried out between the months of March to May, 2017 in the proposed Sanctuary.

According to one of the biologist, Angwa Gwendoline, the increasing human pressure mounted on the proposed protected area, leaves wanton effects on the wildlife species found in the area.

“During our biomonitoring surveys, we discovered more signs of human pressure on this proposed protected area. We discovered 36 huts, 32 gunshots were heard and 197 expended cartridges picked on the soil,” Gwendoline said.

She recommended that more education and sensitization be carried out to change the mind-set of villagers living adjacent the proposed protected area.

“After visiting some villages in the Njoagwi, Essoh-Attah, and Lebang Fondoms we discovered that many villagers have encroached into the proposed protected area, creating farmlands and setting hunting traps for rodents. Our previous research and camera traps footage have shown that these traps cut off the limbs of Chimps and other wildlife species in the area. So we are suggesting more education be given to the villagers living around the protected area,” Gwendoline said.

The survey report however indicated that some 18 Chimpanzees were sighted on three different occasions; 791 chimpanzees nest sites and 600 chimpanzee feeding signs encountered. Other large mammal observed include forest Elephant, bush pigs, duikers and different species of monkeys.

The proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary is an over 6000 hectares forest area located between longitudes 586,000m and 596,000m and latitudes 598,000m and 606,000m. It is host to over 300 Nigeria- Cameroon chimpanzees, over 100 forest elephants and Drills amongst others. The area is also home to some unknown plant species as well as globally threatened bird species. Contiguous to the Bayang-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary, this biodiversity hotspot is surrounded by three main Fondoms, all located in the Lebialem Division.

The classification process of the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary is being facilitated by a Cameroon’s leading conservation non-profit organisation, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in collaboration with Rainforest Trust.

29 June 2017

ERuDeF Menji Equipped With New Furniture

Posted in News, Views 157

ERuDeF Menji Equipped With New Furniture

The management of the Environment and Rural Development foundation (ERuDeF) has equipped its Western Cameroon Office based in Menji with modern furniture and high internet connection. The furniture consist of a conference room table, 14 table chairs and 2 book shelves.

According to the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of ERuDeF, Ursula Nkeng, equipping the Menji office has been one of the 2017 objectives of the Organisation.

“The Menji Office serves as our Western Regional conservation office. It serves as headquarters to West, Northwest Regions, and Lebialem and Kupe Muanenguba Divisions. So we took more interest in making the office befitting to its status. Hosting over 15 staff or more, the management of ERuDeF thought it wise to make the working condition conducive for every worker,” Ursula Nkeng said.

On his part, ERuDeF’s Director of Biodiversity and Protected Area Management, who doubles as Acting Coordinator of the Western Cameroon Regional office, Enokenwa AllenTabi, said the new-look will improve on the efficiency of workers.

“This is a great initiative considering the fact that Menji Regional office is one of the main offices of ERuDeF. This will help in the holding of meetings with partners and the different delegations around Lebialem Division. I want to sincerely thank the administration of ERuDeF for making sure that staff carryout their office activities in a very friendly environment. This will go a long way to reduce office congestion and increase the level of staff concentration,” Allen Tabi said.

Also, the Manager of the Silver Back Company, Njom Ignatius, said the new furniture and high performant internet connection will greatly improve the assiduity of staff in Menji.

“We appreciate this gesture from the management in providing us with modern furniture, better internet connection, hence, reporting and research are going to be swift and easier as compared to the past,” Ignatius said

The Manager for Education of Sustainable Development (ESD) at ERuDeF Menji, Ngueping Samuel, was not indifferent to this.

“Equipping our office with modern furniture and a fast running internet came at the right time. In the past couple of months, we have received a number of new staff assigned to the Menji office. So, additional furniture was needed; successful conservation starts from the office. It is in the office that strategic decisions are taken. I must say the management of ERuDeF has taken a remarkablestep that will give the staff a conducive environment to better strategize for the management of threatened wildlife species in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary,” Samuel Ngueping said.

Relaying instructions from management while installing the furniture, the Menji Administration and Logistics Officer, Nkeng Emmanuel Nji beckoned staff to judiciously use the new equipment with high sense of sustainability.

Situated in Menji, capital of Lebialem Division, Southwest Cameroon, ERuDeF West Cameroon office is host to some 15 staff coordinating different projects in and around the Lebialem Highlands.

29 June 2017

Cottage Industries Establishment Underway In Lebialem Highlands

Posted in News, Views 152

 Cottage Industries Establishment Underway In Lebialem Highlands

A team of economists from Cameroon’s leading conservation Non-Profit NGO, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) are carrying out feasibility studies on the establishment of cottage industries that will contribute towards enhancing conservation efforts in the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex.

Aimed at improving on the livelihoods of communities adjacent to biodiversity hotspots within the Lebialem Highlands, the first phase of this study which commenced last April 2017 was focused on the identification and valorisation of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) in adjacent villages to the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary.

This first part of the study took the ERuDeF team of economists to some nine villages adjacent to these biodiversity hotspots noted for NTFPs collection, (Njungo, Mbetta, Essoh-Attah, Menji, Lewoh, Alou, Besali, Betchati, Kendem), four markets areas and channels(Mamfe, Guzang, Bafoussam and Dschang), and two transformation units; one in Douala and another in Mamfe

At the end of the first phase of the study, the Director of the Department of Livelihoods and Economic Development, Rene Mbah, underscored need for establishment of a cottage industry with various transformation units that will induce economic value chain development of NTFPs within the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex.

“After spending over three weeks moving to some nine selected villages within the peripheries of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, we discovered that these villages are endowed with a lot of NTFPs. Unfortunately, the people are not maximising the rich valuse these products and their transformation importance. Consequently, they are being exploited by buyers from neighbouring towns like Dschang, Mamfe, Guzang, and Baffousam, who come and buy the products at very low cost leaving the people with low household income. So we have discovered that establishing a cottage industry in this area with processing units not just for identified NTFPs but other products like cassava, honey, palm nut and potatoes is of utmost importance,” Mbah explained.

Discovering the urgent need for the establishment of a cottage industry with different transformation units within the Lebialem Highlands, Rene Mbah, and his team, have since April being engaged in research to make sure that at least two of such processing units go operational by June 2017.

“Based on what we have been doing since last April, we are sure that a cassava processing unit will be established for the Lewoh Women Cooperative alongside a honey processing unit by the end of this month. While the cassava processing unit will be focused on transforming cassava into starch, garri, cassava flour and fufu, the honey processing unit will be transforming honey into bees wax, dyes and wick,” he disclosed.

The Livelihood and Economic Development Director and his team noted that the cottage industry will be owned and run exclusively by women given that they are the ones whose activities greatly impede conservation efforts within the Complex.

“We have observed that in most homes in this area, women are the bread winners. Unfortunately, they are not economically empowered. So, they have no choice than to engage in farming, most of the timecutting down trees and lighting fire within biodiversity hotspots to open up farms. So focusing on them and empowering them economically and socially will divert their attention from biodiversity depletion to other income generating activities using the cottage industry,” Mbah and his team justified.

While studies are being concluded on the establishment of the cottage industry within the Lebialem Highlands, Rene Mbah revealed that they have mapped out a training programme for the women on the collection, transformation and marketing of the products in question.

Sponsored by Tusk Trust, this enterprise development programme is part of ERuDeF’s Livelihood and Economic Development Programme which seeks to increase conservation incentives using alternative livelihoods in order that adjacent communities reduce their pressure on protected areas.

29 June 2017

ERuDeF En-Route Towards Restoration Of Degraded Landscape, Biodiversity Of Mt Bamboutos Ecosystem

Posted in News, Views 134

 ERuDeF En-Route Towards Restoration Of Degraded Landscape, Biodiversity Of Mt Bamboutos Ecosystem

An estimated one-tenth of the human population derives their life-support directly from mountains. Mountains are important not only for their inhabitants, but for millions of people living in lowlands. At the global scale, mountains' greatest value may be as sources of all the world's major rivers, and many smaller ones. Mountains play a critical role in the water cycle by capturing moisture from air masses; when this precipitation falls as snow, it is stored until it melts in the spring and summer, providing essential water for settlements, agriculture and industries downstream - often during the period of lowest rainfall. In semi-arid and arid regions, over 90 percent of river flow comes from the mountains. Mountain water is also a source of hydroelectric power, most of which is used on the plains below. Unfortunately, most mountains are often neglected in terms of their protection.

This is the case with mount Bamboutos which is the 3rd highest mountain in West and Central Africa with important ecological functions. It is an important watershed and one of the rich biodiversity hotspots in Cameroon. In less than 40 years, the mountain ecosystem has unfortunately been severely degraded and its rich biodiversity and ecosystems functions are under severe threats of complete extinction. This is due to massive deforestation, intensive and uncontrolled farming in low and high altitude areas. Consequently, the natural vegetation cover has declined, the springs located on the mountainside have dried up, and soil erosion is worsening. The forest reserve created here in 1900 by the Germans has been completely wiped out.

However, the root causes of the environmental threats facing the mountain stem from more specific problems which include: lack of a legal protection status and management plan for Mt Bamboutos leading to unregulated use of natural resources; lack of capacity for effective protection and management of Mt Bamboutos by the regional and Municipal institutions; lack of know-how and incentives for the local communities to sustainably manage natural resources; absence of cross-regional collaboration and coordination among sectorial government Ministries in charge of the Environment, Forestry and wildlife, Agriculture, Regional planning and Livestock. This often leads to a disparity in government action, the design and implementation of sometimes contradictory and antagonistic approaches on the ground, confusion in roles, resistance, ineffective decentralization and inadequate human, material and financial resources.

It is against this backdrop that the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), through the Mt Bamboutos Initiative (MBI), seeks to restore the degraded Mt Bamboutos ecosystem and its biodiversity while improving on the quality of lives of the local and indigenous communities.

The MBI is a joint initiative of ERuDeF and the International Tree Foundation (ITF), UK in collaboration with the government of Cameroon to support the urgent restoration of the ecosystem and biodiversity of Mt. Bamboutos in western Cameroon. The initiative will cost the sum of 4.5 million US Dollars (27 000 000 000 FCFA).

The project is well-aligned with the Cameroon government’s national priorities and strategies. The restoration of degraded lands is part of the specific objective No. 4 of Cameroon's forest policy. Cameroon committed to restore over 12 million hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2030 as part of the Bonn Challenge Initiative.

The project which is expected to begin in January 2018 shall run for 15 years with 3 phases of five years each distributed across three regional administrative areas (South West, West and North West) that constitutes the mountain.

Specifically, the project seeks to train and build the capacity of over 30,000 local community members to manage the Mt Bamboutos fragile ecosystems; introduce and establish land use and effective governance systems; ensure food security and economic resilience for over 30000 households while integrating women & gender considerations up stream; securely restore over 25,000 ha of the degraded landscape through the planting of over 15 million trees; secure key biodiversity targets that include the Mt Bamboutos integral ecological reserve (19,000 ha), community forests (10,000 ha) and riparian forests (5000 ha); and to establish a long-term sustainable funding mechanism for Mt Bamboutos both at the community level (through the establishment of the community foundation) and the larger level through the establishment of the Mt Bamboutos conservation trust fund

The following outcomes are expected at project completion:

- The project will enable over 30 000 people in 20 villages in the project zone to become committed to the management of the mountain ecosystem by creating awareness on the environmental threats on the mountain;

- Also, by building the mountain ecosystem management capacities of about 30 000 local peoples and other actors in the project zone, they will be apt and able to manage the mountain ecosystem;

- At project completion, there will be sustainable land use in the project zone thanks to land use zoning and functional land use governance structures put in place by the project;

- It is expected that the degradation phenomena of the Mt. Bamboutos landscape will be stopped by the end of the project through the planting over 15 million trees in degraded areas and farmers’ plots. Soil fertility will increase and the vegetation cover of the mountain ecosystem will increase by 70 % compared to the present situation;

- The project will lead to food security and economic resilience for over 30 000 people in the project zone, bringing about improve nutrition levels, increase employment, increase in household revenue, access to credit and loans, and reduction in real food cost;

- Key biodiversity targets that include an integral ecological reserve (19,000 ha), community forests (10000 ha) and riparian forests (5000 ha) as well as agricultural lands will be secured;

- The ecosystem services and functions of the Mt. Bamboutos ecosystem will be restored and key biodiversity regenerated;

Key beneficiaries of the project shall be the local population (farmers, indigenous Bororo populations and livestock breeders), traditional and municipal authorities, industries as well as the government of Cameroon. The long term sustainability of the project shall be ensured by establishing a financing mechanism at both the community and larger landscape level in the form of a conservation trust fund.

Field operations will be undertaken in collaboration with the project’s local partners being one local NGO selected from each administrative district. ITF and IUCN will be the strategic and technical partners of the project. They shall be responsible for the quality and smooth execution of the project. They shall be consulted on regular bases for technical advice and directives on the project.

With the complexity of the initiative and its financial challenges, ERuDeF and ITF are seeking for cooperation and financial support towards the restoration of this important watershed and biodiversity hot spot in Western Cameroon.

29 June 2017

ERuDeF Celebrates World Environment Day, Calls Population To Connect To Nature

Posted in News, Views 88

 ERuDeF Celebrates World Environment Day, Calls Population To Connect To Nature

The population of Southwest Cameroon, have been urged to plant more trees around their compound, so they can effectively connect to nature. The Manager of the Education for Sustainable Development Programme (ESD) at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, Samuel Ngueping, was speaking Monday June 5, while celebrating the 45th anniversary of World Environment Day in Menji.

Speaking during a community sensitisation meeting organised by the Lebialem Divisional Delegation of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED)in commemoration of World Environment Day, the ESD Manager beckoned on the population to quit wanton felling of trees, slash and burn farming, and improper disposition of waste materials.

“Our planet is heating, our earth is warming. We should avoid cutting down trees. Trees help to moderate the carbon level on earth and also provide oxygen that we breathe. We should also avoid slash and burn farming as we destroy many microbes that help in stabilising our soil. In addition, let’s dispose our waste properly so we don’t get infected by the very things we throw away,” Samuel Ngueping cautioned the population.

On his part, the Lebialem Divisional Delegate of MINEPDED, Kanyimi Ihimbru said; “we can only connect to nature if we consider the flora around us as part of our living.” He urged the population to continue planting trees.

The occasion was marked by planting of some 500 agroforestry trees in GBHS Fontem, Lebialem Community Radio, and along the Menji road. At the Standard Nursery and Primary School premises in Menji, some weeding was carried out on a tree nursery created by the school’s environmental club under the auspices of ERuDeF Education for Sustainable Development Programme.

Lebialem Division is amongst the key localities in the South West Region of Cameroon having very rich biodiversity. This area contains threatened species of plants, animals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and others.

By Ngueping Samuel

29 June 2017

Tofala Women Approve Creation Of Tofala Women Farmers’ Cooperative Society

Posted in News, Views 105

Tofala Women Approve Creation Of Tofala Women Farmers’ Cooperative Society

Women from villages around the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS) have unanimously accepted to create a single cooperative society dubbed the Tofala Women Farmers’ Cooperative Society. They took the decision, Friday May 26, 2017 in Bechati, Lebialem Division of Southwest Cameroon. Coming from seven villages around THWS, the women acclaimed the move, indicating the various women groups who all have a common interest, will work in synergy to develop the cooperative. “I am very excited with this idea the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has brought to us. On behalf of the women present here and those yet to come, I want to promise ERuDeF that we will do our best to make sure that we take this cooperative to greater heights. We also promise to collaborate with other stake holders to facilitate the growth of this cooperative,” Voluntary Akwanga, the cooperative President said. The conservation enterprise component of this cooperative is focused on soap production and commercialisation. The women are already producing soap and making money from its sales thanks to the technical expertise that was given to the women by ERuDeF. Furthermore, each share was moderated at Xaf5000 ($10) while registration fee of Xaf1000 ($2) per member was instituted for the sustainable management of the enterprise. As at now 35 women have paid their registration while 30 members have subscribed and bought their shares. According to the Conservation Finance officer at ERuDeF, Quddus Njang, the idea of this cooperative is to enable the Tofala women develop and implement projects that will better their living conditions. “ERuDeF will effectively assist the women of this area through project development, technical assistant and livelihood support that will enhance their living standards. More so, through this cooperative, they will be able to effectively participate in the management of their biodiversity through the Community Conservation Social Enterprise Development (CoCoSED) Initiative,” Quddus added. The creation of a cooperative to cater for the production of soap, is one of ERuDeF’s efforts in providing alternative livelihoods to communities adjacent to the THWS. This is to reduce pressure on protected areas. It is also a means of indulging community members especially women to play active and participatory roles in conservation efforts while also improving their livelihoods. By Njang Quddus

29 June 2017

Mane Foundation Urges Echinops, Mondia Farmers to Produce More

Posted in News, Views 156

 Mane Foundation Urges Echinops, Mondia Farmers to Produce More

The Director of Mane Foundation, Michel Mane, has called on producers of Mondia whitei and Echinops gigantus plants to increase production to meet up growing market demands. He was speaking recently while paying contact visits to Magha and Lewoh, Lebialem Division of Southwest Cameroon. His aim was geared towards reinforcing collaboration with the local communities in the various project sites and to assess the status of the ongoing projects in Magha and Lewoh.

Visibly impressed with the work on the ground, the visiting Director told the people to be more engaged in the cultivation of Mondia and Echinops roots, and collection of fresh roots

“I urge you to plant as much Echinops and Mondia roots as you can. We have a ready market for them,” Michel Mane disclosed.

At the agronomic site in Lewoh, the Field Technician, Tolefac Elvis, emphasised that, weeding of Echinops giganteus is done as from October to November after planting and May to June of the following year, for the plants to grow well.

The Mane Director promised to work with the facilitating NGO, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, to provide necessary facilities that will assist the farmers overcome the adverse effects.

By Akumbo Ebnezer

29 June 2017

Mondia whitei Farmers Receive Farm Inputs, Financial Motivation

Posted in News, Views 112

Mondia whitei Farmers Receive Farm Inputs, Financial Motivation

Some Farm tools have been donated to producers of the Mondia Whitei plant in Lewoh, Lebialem Highlands of Southwest Cameroon.

The equipment comprising farm hoes, cutlasses, conservation plastic materials, among others, were distributed to over 30 farmers, Saturday June 10, 2017, by the Coordinator of the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Initiative at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Ebenezer Akumbo, in collaboration with the Mane Foundation. The occasion took place at Chief Fuafeleka residence at Atetem, Lewoh.

According to the ABS Coordinator, the gesture is aimed at equipping Mondia farmers with the right farm tools so they step-up they production of the plant, hence, meeting up with the 2017 target.

He added, the move came to meet the demands of the farmers who before now, had made requests in that direction.

“During the launch of the 2017 Mondia farming season, some farmers forwarded as their demands, the need for good farm tools to facilitate cultivation. That is why we returned with these equipment to complement their production process. The equipment will cover a greater dimension for more sustainable cultivation of Mondia plants for the future. I believe with the farm tools and some motivations that we have injected into the farmers, we shall meet our 2017 objective by the end of the year,” Ebenezer Akumbu said.

The farmers were elated to receive the farm tools and motivation from ERuDeF and partners.

“We are grateful for the farm tools. It will go a long way to improve on our cultivation techniques, hence, improving on our production level,” Pa Sebastiean Nkemganyi, President of the Lewoh Mondia Management Committee said.

The farmers promised to invest time in Mondia cultivation given that it is proving to be more lucrative than cocoa.

“A kilogram of Mondia roots cost CFA1,250 ($2) in the market. That price is far more than a kilogram of cocoa that many of us in the past, used to plant. Therefore, we shall be investing most of our time on planting this money spinning plant,” Nkemganyi Prisca a veteran Mondia farmer said.

The ABS team used the occasion to train the farmers on news methods of planting the Mondia plant. In addition, farmers who had successfully planted the Mondia plants, which are doing well, were motivated financially by the ABS team.

By Ebenezer Akumbu

 

 

29 June 2017

3000 Trees Planted to Revitalise Ekambeng Water Catchment

Posted in News, Views 88

Over 3000 tree species of Acacia and Leucaena have successfully been planted around the Koubi Water Development Project Site in Ekambeng village, Kupe Muanenguba Division of Southwest Cameroon. Villagers of the Ekambeng community braved the rains, Tuesday June 2017 to plant the trees.

According to the villagers, the threat of their water source drying up due to human activities around the catchments and the fallouts of climate change, greatly motivated their action towards planting as many trees as possible around their catchment.

“The volume of water in our catchment has been considerably reducing and we could not ascertain the cause. After attending a transplanting workshop at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), we developed interest in the tree species. After haven transplanted the trees, we are quite sure that in 2 to 3 years’ time, the volume of our water will increase from 500m3 to 1500m3. In addition, we hope the quality will be improved. Thus, we have decided to restrict all human activities within 50 meters from the water source,” Njume Peter, the President of the water committee said.

The Southwest Agroforestry Coordinator at ERuDeF, Emmanuel Ebang, explained that the villagers showed more interest at the beginning of 2017, when they nursed 10,000 seeds of acacia and Lucaena trees. They have transplanted 3000 already at their catchment site, while hoping to plant the others soon.

He urged the population of Ekambeng village, and by extension, the entire Kupe Muanenguba Division, to ensure that all the trees they had nursed in March are planted. Mr. Ebang advised the people against the cutting down of trees around the catchment and the planting of eucalyptus tree given that such species could drain all available water around the catchment.

In collaboration with Trees for the Future, ERuDeF through its Department of Agroforestry and Agricultural Development, builds capacity and empowers farmers across Cameroon on modern techniques of practicing agriculture, using agroforestry. The second quarter tour shall be dedicated to nursery monitoring and evaluation, including bare stem transplanting.

By Ngome Emmanuel

29 June 2017

Neem; Healing Communities, Improving Livelihoods In Cameroon

Posted in News, Views 92

 Neem; Healing Communities, Improving Livelihoods In Cameroon

One of the Agroforestry trees species, Neem (Azadirachtaindica), is increasingly being embraced by farmers in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon. Due to its high medicinal value, farmers have invested in planting huge quantities of the plants. The farmers attest to the fact that the agroforestry tree species is healing their communities while also improving on their livelihood income.

Johnson Chongwain is an Agroforestry farmer in Fundong, Boyo Division of Northwest Cameroon. Among the many crops he has invested in his over three hectares farmland, he has over 230 Neem trees. The farmer indicated that ever since he diverted his attention to planting Neem trees, he has been reaping great from it.

“My interest for Neem started some five years ago.The benefits are immeasurable. I make money from the sale of the leaves, to the stems, and even the fruits. I make over fcfa 50,000 ($100) from the sale of Neem leaves a year and over fcfa 200,000 ($400) from the sale of Neem seeds and seedlings every year. This additional income has greatly helped me to save some money and erect a beautiful home for my family. My kids are now in the university because I could also save some money for their education.We also consume Neem for medicine,” Johnson stated.

In Ekiliwindi, Meme Division of Southwest Cameroon, Paul Nkwain, a veteran herbalist says he has supplied huge quantities of the Neem plants to his clients all over Cameroon. He attested to the fact that the Neem plant inhabits some strong healing components, which have helped him to cure his patience.

“Neem plant has healing reagents. When I invoke the supernatural powers of the plant, I can be able to cure many illnesses, ranging from chickenpox, skin dryness, menstrual pains, to sexual weaknesses, gonorrhea, and many other STDs. I have planted Neem all over my compound and in my farms. I also sell the seedlings to interested persons,” Paul Nkwain said.

Neem (Azadirachtaindica), also known as ‘dogoyaro,’ is a fast growing and long living tree.It is tall, evergreen with the small bright green leaves. Neem is easily grown in the dry, stony, shallow and clayey soils. It needs very little water and plenty of sunlight. It grows slowly during the first year of planting. The young tree cannot tolerate excessive cold.

Its importance has gone beyond imagination; Neem produces pain relieving, anti-inflammatory and fever reducing compounds that can aid in the healing of cuts, burns, as well as malaria fevers.Neem oil, Neem leaves and Neem extracts are used to manufacture health and beauty care products like soaps, bathing powders, shampoos, lotions, creams and toothpastes. In addition, Neem is used as a compost ingredient or as a soil amendment.

Growing Neem trees improves the water holding capacity and nutrient level of soils. It can bring acid soils back to natural state; the deep tap root can break through hard layers, mine the subsoil for nutrients and bring them to the surface. Finally, Neem has anti-bacterial properties in them.Neem oil in the western world is known and valued as an effective insecticide.

It is within this great importance that the Neem plant was introduced as an agroforestry tree species to farmers in the Northwest, and Southwest Regions of Cameroon. In collaboration with Trees for the Future, the Environment and Rural Foundation (ERuDeF) has invested in planting over seven million Neem and other agroforestry trees in four regions of Cameroon, the Northwest, West, Littoral, and Southwest Regions.

By Payong Prudence

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