By Shuimo Trust
Since the onset of the Mount Bamboutos initiative in 2018, ERuDeF together with her local and international partners have been working towards getting everyone involved. One of of the ethnic groups that have been highly involved in the Mount Bamboutos Initiative project are the Bororos (pastoralists). Considered to be reserved and very highly isolated people, the Bororos have been one of the most active ethnic groups as far as the Mount Bamboutos Initiative is concerned. The Bororos are considered as settlers in the Mount Bamboutos landscape. Despite their “settler” statues, the Bororos have taken upon themselves to restore the Mount Bamboutos ecosystem.
The continuous conversion of pastoral land into agricultural land by farmers have robbed this group of people of their grazing land. They are not only losing grazing land but they have little or no water especially in the dry season for their animals to drink. The lack of water is as a result of the continuous cutting down of trees in the Mount Bamboutos.
There has been tension between Bororos and farmers as a result of the continuous conversion of pastoral land by farmers for agricultural purposes. They remain in the losing side since they are the minority.
Sali Manu is a grazer and a representative of the Bororos in Bangang village, West region of Cameroon. He owns 60 cows, 15 horses and 30 sheep. The father of 13 is very worried at the rate at which the Mount Bamboutos is being degraded. Sali, as he is fondly called says his animals haven’t enough water to drink in the rainy season talk less of the dry season. “When I was young, I and my late father had enough land to graze our cattle on. Now the situation is different, we don’t have enough land to grace our cattle since every place is gradually being transformed to farm lands. During the dry season we are forced to walk long distances with our animals to get water. Usually we go to Santchou, some 6 kms away from Bangang village where am based”. “I will take part in every tree planting exercise on the Mount Bamboutos”, the 40-year-old grazer continues “in order to guarantee a good future for my 13 kids and preserve our long standing tradition of grazing”. Sali Manu just like many other Bororos want a participatory land use system in which everyone has a say. “I am very happy with the participatory land use planning system in which ERuDeF is in the process of developing and implementing for the entire landscape.” Sali Manu said with a broad smile on his face.
Nuhu Barkido is one of the pioneers of the Mount Bamboutos Initiatve. The 25 years old and and his friend Adamu Adamu, 26 have been very active as far as the 2020 tree planting is concerned. They have all answered present in all the tree planting exercise in their Bangang village. “when I was young I used to enjoy the natural beauty of the Mount Bamboutos. Now the situation has changed, the beauty of the mountain has all gone and what one can see now are farmlands doted here and there. We don’t have enough land to graze our cattle. We are experiencing absolute water shortages. We don’t have enough water to drink talk less of our cattle Nuhu lamented. “At times we are referred to as “strangers” irrespective of the fact that we were born and bred here in Bangang village. We are not bothered by this appellation, what bother us most is the state of the Mount Bamboutos. We are determined to reverse the presnt situation that is why am actively involved in tree planted”. Adamu added.
Dada Hayatou is one of the few who lived the glorious days of the Mount Bamboutos. The 77 years who is also a mother of 10 has been taken part in all tree planting exercise since the beginning of the Mount Bamboutos Initiative project despite her ill health , 2020 not being an exception. “I am one of the very few that enjoyed the rich biodiversity of this Mountain. We had enough water for our cattle since all water catchments were intact; not t now that trees around water catchments are all leveled down. Mount Bamboutos is no longer the mountain I used to know. I am dedicating the rest of my life to the Mount Bamboutos Initiative project. I wish I could live for another 15 years to see how this wonderful project will end ” Dada Hayatou said.
Hadija Dada, 55 is also very involved in the project. She is has 30 cows 50 sheep and and 10 goats. “I have taken it upon myself to be part of every tree planting exercise in my village, Bangang. My wish is to see the Mountain come back into its glorious days”, hadija Dada said.
It should be noted that the Mount Bamboutos Initiative is a project to restore 35000ha of the degraded Mount Bamboutos ecosystem through the planting of 15 million trees. The Project that was launched in 2018 will run for 15 years. Its pilot phase ends in 2021.