Man and Nature and ERuDeF Present Echinops giganteus project to Magha

As one of efforts to valorize local plants in Cameroon
Man and Nature and ERuDeF Present Echinops giganteus project to Magha
Vast reforestation program also envisaged

Saturday, the 19th of January would go down in the history books for the inhabitants of Magha, South West Region, Cameroon, who form a significant portion of Cameroon’s 3rd highest, but fast degrading peak, Mt Bamboutos. On this day, the Executive Director of a French conservation organization, Man and Nature, Olivier Behra, with technical assistance of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, ERuDeF, officially presented to the natives the access benefit sharing Echinops giganteus project.

This was in a sensitization meeting which brought together over 50 natives of Magha including the chief’s reagent, administrative authorities and project managers. Speaking during the meeting, the Executive Director of Man and Nature, Olivier Behra, explained that the objective of this project was to find how to help the local population see more value in their resources. Mr. Olivier explained that it is evident that the Magha people are in need of economic income and of life improvement and they can only be more concerned about the conservation of nature if they see value in their natural resources. “We make survey of the plant and survey of the market and see what we can find that can give direct value to the people and we identified this plant as having a potential for the fragrance industry. We want to make value out of a plant which does not really seem to be of much commercial value to the people and help improve their livelihood. If we can manage to find a market for this plant, people can have more income. Echinops is growing everywhere in Magha so if the people have a market, they would be able to improve on the livelihood of the people” Olivier Behra explained.

The people of Magha on the other hand expressed their willingness to give full support to the project which to them would help improve their livelihood as a retired teacher, Tangong put it “We understand this is the first phase of the project. If the research proves successful, it means we would have the possibility of cultivating more of this plant and selling it abroad which would in turn fetch income for us” The chief of Magha’s impression was not different “We have so many plants growing in this area whose importance we do not know. If the researchers can carry out studies and come up with ways of adding value to these plants, it will be very much appreciated”

Speaking during the meeting, the CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi assured the people the execution of the project will not in any way tamper with existing traditions and that the people will retain their right as the sole custodian of the plant. The representative of the Delegate for environment, Tsala Tsala Emille on his part assured the people that the ministry of environment will remain the watchdog of their environment and make sure the parties involved respect the terms of reference.

Supported by French conservation organization, Man and Nature and executed with technical assistance of ERuDeF, the Echinops giganteus project it is worth noting is a component of the entire programme on the restoration of the degraded Mt Bamboutos. The root of the plant has essential oil potentials for the production of perfume and it is of interest to a French enterprise MANE.

Reacting to complain from the natives on their vulnerability to landslides, the Executive Director of Man and Nature asked the people if they are willing to plant trees to help curb landslides and the people overwhelmingly said yes. Olivier was overwhelmed in his words “It is wonderful for me to see the motivation of the local population who know that the environment has been destroyed and they want to do something about it. They are enthusiastic about reforestation. This is moving me to go back to Europe and the United states to say we need to help these people plant more trees and restore their degraded landscapes .We want to help these people to help themselves”

Magha natives say YES to the Echinops giganteus project

CEO ERuDeF, chief of Magha and Executive Director of Man and nature shaking hands to new friendship