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02 July 2013

The Environment in the Cameroon Press, June 2013

Posted in News, Views 1588

National News

Cameroonian Journalist Wins African Climate Change Reporting Award

 

The Eden Newspaper (issue No. 789 of Monday June 3, 2013) opens its door to environmental news for the month of June with an article on how one of theirs, Elias Ngalame emerged amongst the 10 best African Journalist for the 2013 African Climate Change and Environmental Reporting Award. Elias Ngalamen won this award from an article he wrote titled; "Community Radio Helps Cameroonian Track Climate Change". The award according to the newspaper has earned Mr. Ngalame a short scholarship to London to advance his skills on Climate Change issues.

 

Ammunition Seized from Suspected Elephant Poacher in East Cameroon

 

The post (Issue No 01439 of Monaday June 17, 2013) again told the story of how forest rangers near the Boumba-bek National Park in the East Region of Cameroon last May 2013 seized a K 47 (Kalashnikov) war gun, including 70 bullets from a suspected elephant poacher, who escaped abandoning his weapons. This edition of the paper noted that at least five of such guns have been seized suspected poachers and 30 elephants killed in this area since the start of 2013.

 

The Birth of Cameroon's Pioneer Environmental Newspaper; The Green Vision

 

One of the most talked about events that spiced the news content of both the audio-visual and print media in Cameroon was the launch of one of the pioneer environmental medium-The Green Vision Newspaper. The paper was launched by one of the country's leading conservation NGO, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). Launched on June 17, 2013, The Star Newspaper (Issue No: 245 of June 24, 2013) citing the CEO/President of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, who doubles as the Executive Editor of the Newspaper, said the birth of this newspaper is to draw public attention to the dangers of human action on the environment most especially deforestation. One of Cameroon's leading private television, the Spectrum Television (STV) just like other community radio stations in Southwest Cameroon, quoted Louis Nkembi saying that the newspaper will aid in investigating issues on poor environmental governance, tracking environmental budget and ensuring that irresponsible officers are brought to book. The paper is charged with bringing timely information about the country's mountain, floods, eruption and Cameroon's compliance to international treaties. This maiden edition of the paper carried headlines like; "Post-mortem of CDC's Use of Toxic Chemicals", "Cross River Gorillas at Cross road", "Government Deserts Wabane Landslide Victims", "The Death of Bakundu Forest Reserve", "Restoring Mt Bamboutos Through Access and Benefit Sharing" and many others

 

Flood Feared In Far North Cameroon

 

The Post Newspaper (Issue No 01441 of Monday, June 24, 2013) took us to the far North Region of Cameroon where the Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, Pierre Hele, enjoined the technical services of the Regional Delegations of Forestry and Wildlife, in charge of preserving the forest ecosystem, to stop the abusive felling of trees for firewood in the region. He made this call while presiding over celebrations to mark the 19th edition of the World Day to Combat Desertification in that part of the region, noted for its extreme climatic conditions of drought in the dry season and floods in the rainy season. The minister expressed fear that the water from the river that separates Chad from Cameroon, has shifted more to Cameroonian territory and may have devastating effect on the population with the advent of the rains.

 

African Heads of States Pledge Fight Piracy in the Rich-Biodiversity Gulf of Guinea

 

The first ever African Summit on maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea, which took place at Cameroon's administrative head quarter, Yaounde (June 24-25, 2013), is what rounded off the environmental news column of many if not all media houses in the country for the month of June. Cameroon Tribue (issue No: 10369/6570 of Tuesday June 25, 2013), disclosed that the 13 African Head of States for the summit, reaffirmed their commitments to fight against arm rubbery, piracy and other illicit practices at sea. This according to the newspaper, came against the back drop of the fact that the International Maritime Organization recorded197 attacks in the Gulf of Guinea between 2009 and 2013. Meanwhile the state media, the Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV) just like The Post, Eden and others, beside the recommendations arrived at during the Summit, highlighted the richness of the Gulf of Guinea in term of natural resources like forest resources, fish, gas and crude oil amongst others.

COMPILED BY NDIMUH B. SHANCHO

02 July 2013

Taiwan’s Aid Supporting Conservation in Cameroon

Posted in News, Views 1447

On April 12, 2004 the world woke up with breaking news that another sub-population of the Cross River gorillas has been discovered in a hitherto unknown forest location and further unknown local conservation organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). This breaking news came at a time when the major conservation players in the Cameroon-Nigeria border region (WCS, WWF, FFI etc) were actively engaged in the survey of the remaining fragmented forest patches in this border region in search of new sub populations of the Cross River gorillas.

The Cross River Gorillas are the most critically endangered primates in Africa and one of the 25 world most endangered wildlife species. With a population of just about 300 individuals in the wild, there was and there is still a 'man hunt' for the sub-populations of these gorillas.

The entry of Taiwan's Forestry Bureau/Conservation Division in Cameroon in 2004 was the start of a long journey of conservation support in Cameroon by the Government of Taiwan. This support came at a critical time to fill the gap of limited international funding to support the great apes conservation program in the newly established Lebialem Highlands Great Apes Conservation Program in South West Cameroon. This annual funding that has continued up till 2013 continues to provide timely support to keep the conservation program.

The outcomes of the Taiwan's conservation support in Cameroon have been primarily focused in the Lebialem Highlands of South West Cameroon. These include but not limited to;

In 2004/2005, Taiwan's support led to the new discovery of new sub-populations of the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee and extended the knowledge of its distribution in Cameroon. In this regard, three new sites namely the Tofala, Mak-Betchou and Nkingkwa Hill forests were identified. Given this new distribution map, and the role ERuDeF was playing, the major actors in the Nigeria-Cameroon border region resolved to invite ERuDeF to become an active member of the Nigeria-Cameroon Cross River Gorilla Conservation Group. This major success in 2006 caused the Lebialem conservation site to be included into in to the IUCN published Nigeria-Cameroon Cross River Gorilla Action Plan.

In 2007/2008, further support from Taiwan was critical in the establishment of the genetic Corridor linking the Tofala gorillas with those of the Takamanda-Mone Forests. From 2009 through 2011,Taiwan's conservation support was also important in the final establishment of the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex. This Complex is comprised of six proposed conservation sites including the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, proposed Mt Bamboutos Integral Ecological Reserve, the designated Tofala Mone Wildlife Corridor, Mak-Betchou proposed Wildlife Sanctuary, Nkingkwa Hill Forest and the Nyi-tebongFuagonkem Hills Reserve.

In 2010, with funding from Taiwan and other partners, ERuDeF launched the process of assisting the government of Cameroon to create the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. This process is continuing and is expected to be completed in 2013 with a Prime Ministerial Decree.

Besides the active support of conservation process, Taiwan's support has also gone to support the biological monitoring of the great apes populations across the Tofala-Mone proposed wildlife Corridor, the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mak-Betchou forest. Bio-monitoring is critical in providing important updates on the status and distribution of gorillas and Chimpanzees to support government action. Taiwan's support has also been important in building the human resource capacity of some young Cameroonians. Two of ERuDeF's staff are currently pursuing a Ph.D in primates conservation, a further third had earlier completed with an M.Sc in Primates Conservation. The Environmental Education Program has been strengthened in schools with the creation of school clubs and networks as well as the school's environmental newsletter.

Finally, the Livelihoods and Economic Development Program has continued to receive an annual booster with support from Taiwan. Many income generating projects have been supported and most especially the livestock, agroforestry and the palm oil mills.

The Taiwan's Aid to Cameroon has been continuous with a firm commitment to support the long-term conservation of Cross River gorillas and Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees in Western Cameroon.

By Louis Nkembi and Regina Leke

02 July 2013

Trees for the Future donates over 350.000 seeds of agroforestry to farmers in Bangem village

Posted in News, Views 1097

Over 350.000 agroforestry species of Leucaena, Acacia, Calliandra, Moringa, and Jatropha have been distributed to 50 Farmers belonging to 50 farming groups in Bangem Sub Division-South West Region of Cameroon.

 

This was during a three day capacity building workshop and tree planting exercise, which took place recently in the Ekambeng, Bangem and Mboku communities. Organized by Trees for the Future Cameroon, these farmers, 20 from Ekambeng Village, 17 Bangem and 18 from Mboku were schooled on the role of tree planting in the mitigation of climate change, the use of plant biomass and agro-forestry technology in improving soil fertility. They were also trained on nursery establishment and composting techniques.

To ensure a better understanding of what had been taught, the farmers were after the workshop taken to some farmlands around the area for an on-farm demonstration. After demonstrating to the farmers how plant biomass and agro-forestry technology could be used to increase farm yields, and training them on nursery establishment and composting techniques, they were given seeds of nitrogen fixing tree species and over 350000 seeds of to nurse for posterity. This move according to the TREESs Cameroon Agroforestry Assistant, Ms Tata is to divert farmer's attention from the rather unhealthy method of farming characterized by the excess use of chemical fertilizer and to improve on degraded soil fertilizer.

The farmers these 3 communities received this technology with joy. Many of the farmers confessed that it will go a long way to improve upon their livelihoods. The Treasurer of Young Farmer's Common Initiative Group (CIG) Ekambeng, Mr. Thomas Enongene, just like many other farmers in these communities, said the money which they used to spend on chemical fertilizers, will be diverted to other developmental activities. The president of the Struggling Hands CIG, Bangem, Mr. Primose Kang, who doubles as councilor of the Bangem Council, also revealed that this new farming technology will lead to an increase in farmer's income. He equally complained of the increasing degradation of watersheds in the Bangem Subdivision. He hoped that the planting of these trees would help to protect these water sheds

Reacting to these, the Trees for the Future Cameroon Agroforestry Assistant attributed the degradation of watersheds in this area to the planting of non agro-forestry tree species like the Eucalyptus tree. Ms. Tata promised to extend this sensitization exercise on the importance of agro-forestry technology to primary and secondary schools in the Subdivision. Meanwhile plans are underway to train the people of these communities on transplanting techniques, simple book keeping and the use of plant biomass to improve soil fertility.

By Limbi Blessing T.

02 July 2013

Lebialem Senior Divisional Officer Kick-Starts Sustainable Land Use Project

Posted in News, Views 1475

100,000 trees to be planted on buffer zones of proposed Tofala Sanctuary

Lebialem SDO plants a tree to kick start the sustainable land use project in Tofala

The Senior Divisional Officer (SDO) for Lebialem Division has officially launched the first phase of the Tofala sustainable land use project in Folepi Village in the Wabane Sub-division. Mr. Kouemo Simon alongside the Divisional Delegate for Forestry and Wildlife and other officials was in Folepi on June, 17, 2013 to formally kick start the project designed by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) and funded by French Charity Man and Nature.

Launching the sustainable land use practice, the SDO reminded the population on the importance of conservation. He said that conservation promotes scientific research, keeps the country's heritage for posterity and is a huge source of revenue through tourism. Mr. Kouemo Simon traced the level of commitment of the Central government in ensuring the success of Tofala such as the signing of a public notice, appointment of a focal person at the Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife for South-west, the follow up by the local MINFOF services, and the personal commitment of the Head of State in ensuring the conservation of nature through the signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Nagoya protocol, etc.

In an effort to commit the respective parties, the SDO and the Fon of Folepi Village signed a Memorandum of Understanding to consolidate this project. This was followed by a tree planting activity led by the Fon of Folepi, the SDO and the Divisional Officer. The Fon of Folepi pledged the support of his village to this project.

In an interview with the Project Coordinator Forbe Hodu, he said that the main objective of the project is to plant about 100,000 social forestry trees and 10,000 agro forestry species on the buffer zones of the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. The aim is to improve the quality of the soil and prevent penetration into the proposed sanctuary hosting the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla and some other globally protected species. This project according to Mr. Hodu is expected to be a source of alternative livelihood to the people bordering the proposed Sanctuary and prevent them from depending on the natural resources alone.

In a closing remark, the SDO challenged the entire population to take part in the project in order to ensure success and called on the president elect of Folepi Village Forest Management Committee, the Fon to plant a tree each to symbolise the launching of the project.

By Ruth Suh and Bessinula Emmanuel (Youth Advocacy Network students on internship)

02 July 2013

Divisional Delegate for Forestry and Wildlife Installs the Folepi Village Forest Management Committee

Posted in News, Views 1044

Towards full protection of the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

Newly installed members of the Folepi Village management committee

The Lebialem Divisional Delegate for Forestry and Wildlife, Mr. Mboui Jacques, has installed 7 members of the Folepi Village Forest Management Committee (VFMC). The installation took place on June 17, 2013 under the watchful eyes of the Senior Divisional Officer for Lebialem Division, Mr. Kouemo Simon and the Fon of Folepi village as well as other administrative authorities, staff of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) and the local population.

 

Speaking at the Installation ceremony, the Delegate for Forestry, Mr. Mboui called on the newly installed members to be the watchdogs of the forest and provide a safe home for the remaining population of the Cross River Gorillas and other endangered wildlife in the forest of the Lebialem Highlands. The members on their part pledged their support towards ensuring the full protection of the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. These members of the VFMC will undergo training to prepare them for their task at hand.

Addressing the newly installed team, the Divisional Delegate for Forestry and Wildlife called on them to take on their new responsibility deligently. Some of the duties of the Village Forest management Committee would include ensuring local communities respect and cooperate with the protection of the forests and wildlife in the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. The committee equally has to make sure that the local communities respect the Forestry and Wildlife Laws of the Republic of Cameroon. The committee is entrusted to ensure that local communities continue to respect the texts relating to the exploitation, management and conservation of the natural resources in the area. The committee equally has as mission to make sure that the local communities ensure a smooth collaboration with Ministry of Forestry authorities, especially the local authorities in the area and its technical partners. This committee is also charged with reporting any act of illegal activities poaching, poisoning of streams, illegal exploitation of Timber and Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs), to the authorities of the Ministry of Forestry.

Folepi village is one of the 8 villages in the Wabane subdivision adjacent the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary that harbours the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli), endangered Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) and other important fauna and flora species.

By Allen Enokenwa Tabi

02 July 2013

The Green Monkey, another rare germ of the Lebialem Highlands

Posted in News, Views 1163

A narration of two primary school kids about the mystery behind this precious animal and a call for its protection

Green Monkey

The Green Monkey is a small wild animal that lives in the forest locally known in the Lebialem Highlands as "Nkeh". They walk in groups of about 15 each and live on Bananas, cocoa, monkey cola, palm nuts, pears, and maize, which are some of the crops we cultivate in our communities as a means of livelihood. This has made our parents to see them as rather destructive in their nutritional habits and as a result, have derived several mechanisms to get rid of them. One of these is the erecting of scarecrows with frightful colours like white, red or black cloths at different parts of the farm to scare these animals away. One interesting thing about this scarecrow measure is that the Nkehs seem not to be scared by them because they have monitored the activities of farmers in this area and know exactly when they visit the farms and can differentiate farmers from scarecrows. They won't visit the farms around the communities where scarecrows have been erected because humans are always around but they visit farms in the forest even with erected scarecrows.

Poised to eliminating this group of wildlife, our parents have therefore derived local techniques to keep them away from their farms. They visit renowned hunters in our communities, who visit the farms as early as 5AM, when these monkeys leave their habitats in search of food, and as they jump down the trees, they are surprised by the bullets of the hunters with at least 2 of them killed in each outing.

While some hunters hunt them for family consumption, others hunt them for commercial purposes-selling them for up to 15000FCFA depending on their sizes.

The green monkeys it should be noted are of great traditional values to our communities; they are considered as totems and so, many people buy, kill and use their hearts for rituals which too has greatly increased the demand for the monkey and their hunting rate in our communities.

As we grow up, our parents also charged us with the responsibility of guarding these crops against Nkeh consumption and since these animals visited our farms only by dawn (between 5 P.M and 8 A.M), when the environment is quiet and our parents (farmers) are still sleeping, we had to visit the farm too at dawn to chase them away. As we 'interact' with this wildlife on a daily basis, their behavior, agility, beauty and life style increasingly are becoming more fascinating to us.

One of the fascinating mysteries of the Nkehs, is their defensive mechanism against other predators like the elephant and bush pig, who kill them for food. Since these monkeys are commonly hunted by other animals at night while they sleep the Nkeh sleeps on tree tops and passes out faeces in their palms, which they hold till morning before dropping for fear that the larger animals will locate them by the scent of their faeces.

These animals are so wise and we love them. We just wish people will stop hunting them. They feed on our crops because we invade their habitats with our farms. We cut down their trees, leaving them homeless. They won't visit the farms in and around the communities if we plant scarecrows in them, but they will keep destroying those in the forest because that is their home. No one can plant a mango tree in your land and deny you from feeding on it. Nkeh may just be animals for some humans but they are our pride and inheritance, they make us unique. I really hope someday our parents will understand these truths. I hope my friends; the Nkehs will one day be comfortable in their habitats. My best friend and I are mobilizing the other kids to join us protect these monkeys and conserve their habitats, it's a big challenge but we are determined.

Narrated by Njifua & Tazi(members of the Environmental Club, GS Nzanchen)

10 Year-old Class Six Pupils of the Lebialem Forest Area

 

Picture Courtesy Ariandne Van Zandberrgen

 

Compiled by Mahah Vladimire

02 July 2013

Trainees laud quality of training programs at IBiNs

Posted in News, Views 1082

End of semester assesment meeting

Barely six months after matriculation, trainees at the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies (IBiNS) have testified of having acquired enough entrepreneurial and managerial skills that can enable them be self-employed.

 

They made this confession during an end-of-semester assessment meeting that took place recently at the Institute's campus, Mile 18 Buea bringing together the Founder of IBiNs, Louis Nkembi, Program Coordinator of IBiNS, Mr. Shey Aloysius and the Director of Administration Mrs Seemnzde Ita Nawom.

The trainees, most of whom never had the professional experience demanded by non-profit organizations and companies in the country were thrilled by the diverse-amount of skills they have acquired from the Institute within "a very short period of time". "I graduated some 3 years ago and was not able to secure a job because most NGOs and companies demanded experience, which I never had. However, IBiNs has given me the required experience; I can now conceive and write fund raising projects and execute them, manage a company, manage finances and many more. I am really happy" one of the trainees, Mrs Lea Alida Kenmene testified.

Another trainee, Ms. Blessing Limbi said the training program has made her rather versatile. "I have not only gotten the necessary check list for establishing and sustaining an NGO, which has always been my ambition, but have also improved on my professional and entrepreneurial know how with the ability to conceive and write feasible fundraising projects" she added. On a rather very elated note, other trainees including Smith Kanjo, Tengem Adeline, Kumji Hanna, Rose Enanga and Christina Enanga said they beside acquiring management and fundraising skills greatly improved on their writing and communication skills.

The trainees expressed satisfaction on the content of some essential courses like Scientific Writing and Publishing, Business Communication and Public Speaking, Financial Management, and Professional Reporting amongst others. They said that the courses are very important and are directly or indirectly linked to the realization of specialized programs.

Speaking in the meeting, the Program Coordinator, Aloysius Shey said many more professional courses will be introduced during the second semester, beginning July 2013. These courses he explained, would help to fully equip the trainees for the job market. These courses include but not limited to e-Journalsim, Social Survey, Biogeography, Wildlife ecology, Economics and financial analysis of projects, Participatory Management and Evaluation, and Publishing.

Meanwhile Louis Nkembi, advised trainees to be dynamic, punctual and consistent in the training programs, given that "we live in a competitive world and need to have basic skills in almost every field of life to be competitive.

By Betrand N. Shancho

02 July 2013

ERuDeF celebrates World Day to Combat Desertification

Posted in News, Views 1039

ERuDeF CEO calls on stakeholders to fight desertification

As the world wakes up to increasing threats of desertification, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) on June, 17, 2013 joined the world over to commemorate this year's edition of the world day to combat desertification under the theme "drought and water scarcity" with accompanying slogan "don't let our future dry up".

 

ERuDeF used this day to launch its pioneer edition of the environmental newspaper called the Green Vision. Speaking during the launching, the CEO of ERuDeF Louis Nkembi, said desertification remains one of the biggest threats plaguing the environment. He quoted the example of Northern Cameroon which suffers the highest rate of dryness. According to Mr. Nkembi, desertification just like other environmental problems could be better handled if people are informed. "It is therefore not a coincidence that we chose this day to launch our environmental newspaper-The Green Vision. We decided to launch the Green Vision on this day, because we believe its presence on the newsstands in Cameroon would inform people on how to tackle desertification and other environmental problems" Mr. Nkembi hinted.

The theme of this year's celebration is very timely, given that it comes at a time when water crisis is plaguing most parts of the world. Water is life! Unfortunately, research has shown that only small amounts of this water are available. According to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), of all the water on earth, only 2.5 % is fresh water which is available for animals and humans. 70 % of the freshwater available globally is held in the soil and is accessible only to plants. According to the UNCCD each person needs at least 2,000 m3 of water per year for sustainable development. However, those in the dry lands have access only to 1300m3 which accounts for their high poverty levels. The prolonged droughts in the Horn of Africa (2011) and the Sahel (2012) resulted in humanitarian crisis, leaving millions hungry and malnourished, especially children.

Unlike earthquakes and other natural disasters, droughts and desertification are predictable and their effects can be mitigated, avoided and even reversed through the planting of trees.

In response to the threats of desertification, ERuDeF has been setting up strategies that seek to address drought preparedness and risk management, as opposed to disaster management. In this regard, through tree planting, the restoration of degraded landscapes in the Western highlands of Cameroon is being achieved. Since 2007, the emerging conservation organization has planted over 4 million agroforestry trees, Non Timber forest tree species and recently threatened trees within the landscape. All these are aimed at restoring the degraded landscapes while ensuring sustainable land management and soil improvement. Through this, a significant increase in income levels of the poor and rural people who depend solely on agriculture for livelihood in these areas have equally been recorded.

This year's slogan, "Don't let our future dry up" calls for everyone to take action to promote preparedness and resilience to water scarcity, desertification and drought. We are all responsible for water, land conservation and sustainable use. Land degradation does not have to threaten our future.

By Asa'a Lemawah

02 July 2013

Hunter’s son guns down sister in Besali

Posted in News, Views 1177

Young Gideon Cheli-paying for his father's crime?

When a tragedy strikes, we mourn, but sometimes especially in the African tradition we ask questions why certain calamities befall certain people. We mourn with a hunter who lost his daughter on Sunday, June 9, 2013 when his son used his gun to shoot the daughter. We might be tempted to ask the question; Can gorillas curse their killers, given that the gun which was used to kill the poor girl belongs to a hunter.

 

As the story goes, at about 10 am on Sunday June 9, 2013 young Gideon Cheli, a form one student of GHS Besali, promoted to form two was playing with his younger sister with their father's gun who just returned from hunting the previous night. Jokingly, Gideon shot and shattered the face of young Cheli Julie of age 7, and a class 3 pupil of Besali village and she died on the spot.

Eye witness account say these children were playing hide and seek with the gun not knowing that it was still loaded as the father had returned from an unsuccessful hunting expedition the previous night. The father Mr. Menkeng Benjamin in his early fifties was arrested together with the son by the gendarmerie brigade post of Bechati where they have been detained for one week. At press time, Gideon and his father were awaiting trial at the gendarmerie post in Menji.

Even though Besali village is not known for excessive hunting following series of conservation and community education conducted in the village by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation(ERuDeF), there are still some spotted cases of illegal hunting going on within the village. While there may be a myth attached to such killing, the need for more sensitization for local communities to drop their guns cannot be overlooked as it may end up gunning the hunters themselves.

By Forbe Hodu

02 July 2013

Trees for the Future Cameroon Program to donate 1000 seedlings of Prunus africana to Bakassa Community.

Posted in News, Views 946

Prunus Africana to be distributed to the Bakassa Community

Trees for the Future Cameroon Program would donate 1000 seedlings of Prunus africana commonly referred to as "pigeom" to the community of Bakassa, West Region of Cameroon. The announcement was made recently in a meeting with some farmers in Bakassa by the by the TREES Coordinator for the Agroforestry Program in the West/Littoral, Ms. Tionou.

The decision to donate these trees stems from the fact that the Bakassa Community has shown a lot of interest in this plant. The people explained that they want to plant the trees around their water catchment so as to maintain and sustainably manage the flow of water in the community. They have equally expressed their interest in the bark of the tree for its medicinal purpose. The community will receive the seedlings this July 2013. Over 15 farmers groups already practicing agroforestry for soil health improvement will benefit from this medicinal tree.

The community received this news with a lot of joy. According to one of the farmers Jean Baptist, planting Prunus africana, a plant whose bark is known for its huge medicinal value would help improve on the health of the Bakassa people.

Just to note that Prunus has for long suffered from excess exploitation for commercial and medicinal purposes without replacement. This caused the plant to almost go extinct in Cameroon. Given this situation, the government of Cameroon put a ban on the exploitation and exportation of Prunus africana. It was only then that people began to recognize the importance of this plant.

As a result of the scarcity of Prunus, some developmental NGOs decided to regenerate this plant and fight its local extinction. It was against this backdrop that the Trees for the Future Cameroon Program trained communities, farmer groups and individuals on grafting pigeom. Pigeom can be found around SW Cameroon, in the West and North West Regions of Cameroon.

By Payong T. Marquise

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