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FARMER SHARES SUCESS STORY OF 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