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26 February 2013

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

Posted in News, Views 1853

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 1648

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 1954

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 1676

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 2007

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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