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01 March 2013

Trees Cameroon announces award for best agro forestry farm in 2013

Posted in News, Views 1421

Promoting agroforestry in Cameroon

Women dance to the news of the award and vow to get the prize in their division

"Plant a minimum of 5000 trees in your farm and get a cash prize of 300.000FCFA". These were the words of the Cameroon Country Director of US Charity Trees for the Future as he announced the 2013 contest for the best agroforestry farm in every division of operation in Cameroon. Mr. Nkembi Louis made this announcement to all the farming groups he, alongside officials of Trees for the Future visited during a week-long tour from the 8th -15th of February to evaluate the progress of agro forestry technologies in the South West, West and North West of Cameroon. Mr. Nkembi explained that the essence of launching this award was to motivate farmers incorporate agroforestry systems and abandon chemical fertilizers.

This prize, Mr. Nkembi explained will be given not to individuals, rather to groups where each member is able to plant a minimum of 5000 trees in their farm. He explained that the award is one per division and it would be given to only one group in any Division. The Country Director for Trees for the Future told the farmers that they need not border about getting seeds, for a team of agroforestry technicians will from February visit each farm to give them seeds of forest species such as Acacia, Caliandra and Leucania and teach them how to plant and organize their farms.

The announcement was received with a lot of joy by farmers who all pledged to plant even more trees. Mr. Ayong Thomas, a farmer in Kugwe-Batibo in the North West promised to mobilize his group members and have every member plant a minimum of 10.000 trees, so they could grab the award.

The women also received news of the award with great delight. Ms Teke Janet, a member of a focus group said the award would act as a very good motivation for them "I will rally all our members to plant more agroforestry species. Already, we are witnessing a lot of improvement in our soils due to the trees we planted. Our maize, groundnut and beans have all increased this year. This award is an additional motivation for us because we the women want to take the lead in agroforestry" The reaction in another village in the Muyuka Sub-division in the South West Region, where Trees for the Future has introduced agroforestry technologies, was the same. Farmers in Owe were excited at the announcement and promised to plant more trees. Mr. Ebai Romanus, leading a small group in Owe village said "I have seen the gains in agroforestry. I used the leaves of acacia as natural manure for my plantains. The bunches were very big and some of my neighbours said I was using black magic to have such harvest". With the announcement of this award, Mr. Ebai plans to increase his capacity and bring many more people to practice agroforestry.

By Regina Fonjia Leke

28 February 2013

ERuDeF enhances the conservation of Afrostyrax lepidophyllus

Posted in News, Views 1704

The bark of "Country onions" as it is locally called is a good resistance to pesticides

ERuDeF enhances the conservation of Afrostyrax lepidophyllus

 As part of Environment and Rural Development Foundation ERuDeF's 2013 vision to plant 30.000 globally threatened trees on the Mt Cameroon forest, the organization has started working to conserve one of the trees which has been identified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list of threatened species as Vulnerable, the Afrostyrax lepidophyllus. The seed of this tree commonly referred to as "country onions" is a rare gem of the natural evergreen forest with multiple uses. The seeds and bark of this threatened species are used as a condiment in cooking. They render a strong flavour and mouth watering aroma to traditional dishes of Cameroonian cuisine, most especially "ekwang". The bark extract is resistant to pesticides nematodes and arthropods and insect resistant strains of lice. It is also believed that the strong scent of the species is repulsive to reptiles like snakes.

The species are currently being propagated at the organization's project tree nursery. Wildings and seeds of the species are collected from the wild and raised at the nursery. These will be subsequently distributed to farmers in communities around the Mt Cameroon National Park who will plant them out in their farms. The aim of this initiative is also to reduce pressure on the Natural resources within the Mt Cameroon National Park. It would be recalled that Afrostyrax is one of the many species within the ERuDeF Project of conserving threatened trees within the Mt Cameroon area. The tree belongs to the family Huaceae and has the species which grows in areas of wet evergreen forest is found in the Mt Cameroon forest area.

Planting the species will help to increase the income levels of the local communities in a long run-when seeds will be harvested and sold. The presence of these trees will equally contribute to the Microclimate of the area and reduce CO2 in the atmosphere while enhancing carbon sequestration.

By Asa'a Lemawah

28 February 2013

Chemical fertilizer is not good for your soil, shun it and adopt natural agro-forestry technologies-farmers advised!

Posted in News, Views 1158

Farmer shares success story of agroforestry

Healthy maize harvested from Mr. Moshimbo's farm, thanks to agroforestry

Farmers all over Cameroon have been called upon to abandon the use of chemical fertilizers and take on natural agro-forestry technologies to increase food crop production and quality. The call was made on February 12th, 2013 by a farmer in Mankon, NW of Cameroon. Mr. Moshimbo Joseph Nde, 62 was speaking on the occasion of on –farm visit of officials of a U.S conservation charity Trees for the Future to evaluate project progress. Born in 1957, Moshimbo who hails from Mankon served as a medical laboratory technician up to 1997 when he took up farming as a permanent occupation. He explains the benefit he reaps from using agro-forestry technologies

"I have loved doing farming all my life. I planted maize, beans, cassava, yams, cocoyams and fruits. The harvest I would not say were bad but when I came in contact with the U.S charity Trees for the Future in 2008, while leading a Common Initiative Group, I was schooled on how we could increase the quantity and quality of our crops using agro forestry techniques. We were introduced to the planting of forest species such as Leucania, Acacia and Caliandra. We were taught how to nurse them and later transplant them to our farms alongside our crops. We were again trained on how to trim the leaves of these trees incorporate them as natural manure. Once I did that, my story changed. My yields increased significantly." The lover of the North West delicacies fufucorn and corn chaff explained that he now harvests 15 bags of corn on a small piece of land where he used to harvest just 05. He went forth to say this has gone a long way to improving the livelihood of his family hear him "Feeding is not a problem now, I have enough food to eat with my entire family and I sell the rest and use the proceeds for medical care and others".

The father of seven went ahead to explain that applying organic compost adds nutrient-rich organic material to the soil, improving quality, adding organic material to the soil increases its ability to hold water, reduces erosion and raises soil pH, he noted. "I am confident of the food I eat because I know it is free of toxic chemicals and it keeps me strong and healthy. I therefore call on all farmers to avoid the use of chemical fertilizers because sometimes they contain ingredients that may be harmful to the skin or respiratory system especially if you do not mix and measure them accurately. If you use too much of it, you can kill your plants. Chemical fertilizers can build up in the soil, causing long-term imbalances in soil fertility" Mr. Moshimbo added.

In Mankon in particular and Bamenda in general people now call me "role model" and for that I am proud. I have been able to introduce many people to using leaves of forest trees to enrich their soil. Since 2008 that I learnt about agroforestry, I have brought close to 20 people in our CIG, and they too are beginning to sing the same song of increased soil fertility. These leaves have also made our clay soil very loose and easy to till. In 2011, my maize seeds were tested in the lab and proclaimed as the best maize seed in the whole of the North West Region. The leaves are also an interesting feed for livestock such as pigs. Pigs grow healthier when fed with Acacia leaves. The trees equally act wind breaks in the farm preventing crop destruction by wind. Mr. Moshimbo noted.

In his last word, Mr. Moshimbo thanked God for leading him to the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, ERuDeF who later introduced him to their US based partner Trees for the Future and called on the two to expand the program to other regions for many more people to benefit from agro forestry techniques.

Awards won since the introduction of agroforestry

North West Region best corn seed multiplier in 2011

Award of National medal: Knight of the Agricultural Order of Merit: 2008

Best beans seed, 2012, North West agricultural show

3rd Prize award for poultry best farm cultivation by Bamenda II Council: 2012

By Regina Fonjia Leke

26 February 2013

World Wetlands Day: Stakeholders call for urgent actions to conserve degraded wetlands

Posted in News, Views 1737

Environmental actors in Cameroon have celebrated the 42nd edition of the world wetlands day with a strong call to protect some fast degrading wetlands. The ceremony was organised by the Environmental Science Students Association in the University of Buea, under the theme "World Wetlands and Water Management".

Opening the ceremony, the Head of Department of Environmental Science explained that in the 1600's, over 220 million acres of wetlands existed but unfortunately, less than half of the world's original wetlands remain today. Mr. ...explained that human activities including commercial and residential development, damming, discharge of pollutants, tilling for crop production, logging and mining, road construction, water pollutants, grazing by domestic animals are some activities that have contributed to the degradation of our wetlands.

Speaking during the event, a biologist from the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) explained that wetlands are areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year. These lands are very important as they save as biodiversity hotspot harboring varieties of aquatic organisms. To continue, he added that one important wetlands of Cameroon is the mangrove swamps along the coastline and from record about 30% of these mangroves have been destroyed between 1980 - 2006. Current trends reveal that this situation is likely to continue and is even worsened given that the human population is fast expanding into the mangroves. This situation warrants a quick conservation action to be taken.

Listening from the second resource person from the university, he pointed out that wetlands play a number of roles in the environment, principally water purification, flood control, shoreline stability and habitat for aquatic organisms. As such we should avoid the degradation of our wetlands.

The day was marked with dramas, songs and poems from the students all passing messages on the importance and needs to conserve our wetlands. The ceremony ended with a word of gratitude from the Head of Department thanking the participants. He concluded that the rate of loss and deterioration of wetlands is accelerating in all regions of the world and the students should carry these messages to the public and sensitize them on the importance and needs to manage our wetland.

By Sigalla Emmanuel

25 February 2013

Wabane students declare commitment to be ambassadors of conservation

Posted in News, Views 1516

WAW picIn line with section IV of the UN millennium development goal, which calls for the intensification of collective efforts in the management, conservation and sustainable development of forest resources, students belonging to some ten environmental clubs in the Wabane subdivision, SW Cameroon, have taken various commitments to fight against deforestation and wildlife exploitation in the proposed Tofala forest area.

The commitments were made during a week-long activities marking the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, ERuDeF, annual Wildlife Advocacy Week, WAW. The event officially sponsored by ERuDeF's French partner, Man and Nature held from February 11 to 15, 2013 in Lower and Upper Wabane to increase wildlife conservation awareness with special emphasis on the great apes.

The wildlife advocacy week was launched in Government Primary School Bechati, during celebrations marking the 47th national Youth Day. Environmental club pupils / students from 6 primary, 3 nursery and 2 secondary schools in this area, marched pass the grand stand with unique conservation messages. Some of the clubs brandished painting of some protected wildlife species, conspicuous amongst which were Chimpanzees and Gorillas, while others marched with green cards denoting their support for environmental protection and symbols of trees, chanting conservation songs depicting their desire for a green economy. It would be recalled that the Green Card for environmental conservation is an initiative of ERuDeF, inspired from the red card internationally used for the fight against racism, child labour and the fight against HIV.

Having launched the WAW, the ERuDeF education team organized seminars and workshops with environmental clubs in both Lower and Upper Wabane and projected some documentaries on tree planting and the activities of some wildlife species in the forest. Some of these were "Hope in a changing climate", "Chimpanzee" and "Titus, the Gorilla King" They equally had constructive interactions with these future conservationists on the short and long term implications of conserving the country's wildlife species and biodiversity. The seminars and workshops culminated in the production of over 40 local post cards with drawings of some wildlife species and birds, and the posting of over 300 posters with some protected wildlife species and reasons for their conservation in communities around the Proposed Tofala wildlife Sanctuary

After the workshops and seminars, these environmental club pupils/students, committed themselves to protecting their environment as well as conserving protected wildlife species. Making allusion to the 2003 landslide in Wabane that destroyed both property and farm lands, Paul Ketu, representing the G TC Wabane environmental club, vowed to alert his parents, brothers and sisters on the need to plant more trees in their community. Prisca Neba and Brice Nebunyi, from Government High School Mudani environmental club on their part, pledged their club's commitment to sensitize the community against bush burning, farming and hunting/trapping in the Tofala forest protected area. They equally supplicated trees from ERuDeF to plant in their communities as a first step toward landscape restoration and reducing the impact of climate change in their community.

In a rather solemn tone, Hilton Tanga representing the Government Secondary School Bechati Environmental Club, said they will intensify sensitization against indiscriminate trapping/and hunting in the Bechati village and other neighboring villages. "we want our younger ones and the future generation to see animals like Gorilla, Chimpanzee and others physically and not only see on posters and television and thus must conserve them" he further promised. Affirming this, Hezekiah Nkob of Government Primary School Bechati environmental club revealed that these species of animals (Gorilla and Chimpanzee) are not found in Europe. Therefore protecting them will aid increase the touristic potential of their community. He promised advising all and sundry to emulate the western world, who despite all odds, have conserved most of their animals species like Lion, Zebra and others.

The WAW activities were too thrilling that the administrative representative to the Bechati Youth Day Centre, Mr.Richard Nankeng, who is also the second deputy mayor of the Wabane council, could not hide his feelings. I think ERuDeF is doing a lot in conservation. I was moved when I saw the environmental clubs marched pass the grand stand with very edifying conservation messages.....In fact, I can only wish them the best in this venture" he said.

Betrand S. Ndimuh and Mahah Vladimire

23 February 2013

ERuDeF Installs another industrial palm oil mill in Essoh-Attah

Posted in News, Views 1785

Palm oil installation in Essoh-AttahThe Environment and Rural Development Foundation, ERuDeF has donated an oil mill processing plant to the people of Essoh-Attah, a Fondom in the Lebialem Highlands, SW Cameroon. The installation which is a third in the series of alternative livelihood support following those of Nkong and Besali in Wabane sub division took place on January 29, 2013. The giant palm oil processing plant was installed in the Fondom of Essoh-Attah within the Mak-Betchou forest landscape as conservation support by the leading NGO, ERuDeF.

 

The industrial plant is designed to boil and process palm nuts into edible oil for both local and international consumption. It is made up of an 8000liters capacity boiler powered by a local oven, a press powered by a diesel run engine, a filtering chamber, a dehydrator chamber and finally a storage tank.

The processing plant has a capacity of processing over 2 tons of crude palm oil daily and has been seen as a rational livelihood development alternative to the palm rich community. The solemn ceremony was witnessed amongst other dignitaries by HRH, Fon of Fotabong III.

 

It would be recalled that the Essoh-Attah Fondom just like other villages in the Lebialem Highlands have for decades relied on the traditional method of milling palm nuts by smashing the nuts with their feet and sticks. This led to a low quality and quantity of palm oil produced. It is hoped that with the coming of this giant oil mill, the people of Essoh-Attah would realize an improvement in the quality and quantity of oil thereby improving their livelihoods. The coming of this innovation is therefore a new dawn in the lives of the natives of Essoh-Attah.

 

Traditional method of producing palm oil in Essoh-AttahIt is worthy to note that for over a decade now, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation has been working towards the conservation of the endangered Cross River Gorillas and Nigeria Cameroon Chimpanzees in the Lebialem Highlands, an area where 80% of its population is made of farmers and hunters. The provision of this oil mill is one of the organisation's objectives to reduce pressure on the forest and give them an alternative source of livelihood through other income generating activities like the large scale production of oil mill.

 

By Hodu Forbe

23 February 2013

Trees for the Future, USA lauds Cameroon Country Program’s efforts in addressing food security through agro forestry technologies

Posted in News, Views 1562

TreesfortheFutureteamposewithfarmersUS based charity Trees for the Future has acclaimed the Cameroon Program, Trees Cameroon, for her consistent efforts in fighting food security among the rural masses in Cameroon through the introduction of agro forestry technologies. Mr. Benjamin Addlestone, Cameroon Programme Desk Manager in Trees for the Future's USA office was speaking in Buea at a Dinner on the 14th of February, after a week-long visit to farms in the South West, West and North West Regions of Cameroon. Mr Addlestone explained that it was amazing for him to see how farmers in the different Regions are incorporating technologies to improve on their yields "The strength of this program was the enthusiasm that I saw with these farmers. I was impressed with the testimonies from farmers who confessed of having witnessed a steady increase in maize, beans, Irish potatoes, etc after using the leaves of plants like Acacia sp, Calliandra sp and Leucania sp as natural manure for the soil".

 

The first stop he made was at Atulleh, Upper Lewoh, a small community in Lewoh Fondom (Lebialem Division). Here, he visited the Trees Cameroon's Regional Agroforestry Research and Training Centre (RCATSP) where there is a seed bank of 100.000 trees currently under development. Trees Cameroon is developing this Centre to support its on-going tree planting and restoration programs in Cameroon. He further communed with over 20 farmers cultivating beans, sweet potatoes, beans and cocoyams. They explained how they have used agroforestry technologies to improve on the quality of the soil which hitherto was barren due to shifting cultivation. Mr. Addlestone proceeded to the West where he met with farmers belonging to the Menoua Agroforestry Network. These farmers explained that since 2009 the US charity, Trees for the Future introduced them to planting trees and using leaves as organic fertilizer, their story has never been the same . One of the farmers in Baleveng, Kenfack Phillippe, explained that due to over cultivation, the soil had become unproductive "but when I trimmed the leaves of Acacia and Caliandra which are natural nitrogen fixers and place on the ridges where I plant my maize and potatoes, I realized an improvement in the quality of the soil and my yields equally rose". Mr. Kenfack explained that in his little farm of 0.85hectares, productivity has tripled hear him "Before, it was impossible to harvest corn amounting to 30.000FCFA, but in 2012, I had enough to eat and sold corn for more than 150.000FCFA. The father of nine explained that with this increase in yields, malnutrition has disappeared in his home and he has been able to support his children's education. With his first son graduating this year from the University of Dschang, Mr. Kenfack has become a role model in Baleveng. In 2012, he gave out seeds of acacia to more than 20 farmers who are willing to adopt agro forestry. He has equally mobilized his natives to abandon the use of chemical fertilizer and take on natural manure through agro-forestry.

 

In the North West Region, Mr. Addlestone met with farmers who have used the technologies to improve yields and won prizes at national agricultural shows. Mr. Moshimbo Joseph, a farmer who adopted this method in 2008 explained that in 2011, his maize seeds were tested in the lab and he received an award for having the best maize seed in the whole of the North West Region. The leaves of the trees he explained are also an interesting feed for livestock such as pigs. Pigs grow healthier when fed with acacia leaves. The trees equally act as a defense mechanism for wind breaks in the farms. In his last word, Mr. Moshimbo thanked God for leading him to the US based charity, Trees for the Future and called on the organization and its Cameroon partner, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) to expand the programme to other regions for many more people to benefit from agro forestry technologies.

 

During the tour which lasted for one week, the Country Director for TREES Cameroon, Louis Nkembi congratulated the farmers for using trees to fight food insecurity. He however enjoined the groups to work towards autonomy through the strengthening of their respective Divisional Agro-forestry Farmers Networks.

 

By Regina Fonjia Leke

17 November 2012

Fossimondi farmer sets example in Tree Planting Programme

Posted in News, Views 1880

A farmer in Fossimondi has made an impression worth emulating in the tree planting process. Mr. Nkemondeh Thomas who was present at the sensitization phase of the tree planting project in Fossimondi, immediately developed interest and was one of the first to have started the implementation of this project in his community.

Fossimondi it would be recalled is one of the villages in the Lebialem highlands where ERuDeF is carrying out a Forest and Landscape Restoration project. With just 12months down the lane, some major achievements are already visible.

Mr. Nkemondeh established a multipurpose tree nursery with agro forestry species (Acacia angustissima, Leucaena leucocephylla), Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) (Kola accuminata) and Medicinal species (Prunus africana, Moringa oleifera). All these species germinated and developed in the nursery except for Moringa oleifera which had a poor germination rate.

With the agro forestry species, Nkemondeh established an alley cropping farm of about half a hectare (5000 m2 ) and planted trees in two rows with 5m distance between these rows. He planted 2000 trees in the alley cropping farm in June 2012. This was immediately followed by a transplantation of about 200 kola and 200 Prunus seedlings in his farm.

Mr. Nkemondeh looks forward to selling the kola fruits and the bark of Prunus in the future to raise his income his productivity will gradually increase in his alley cropping farm. Presently, Nkemondeh acts as the contact person for ERuDeF in Fossimondi community.

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