EIBiNS Trainees Learn Agro-forestry At IRAD

Trainees from the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-Profit Studies (EIBiNS) have picked some knowledge about agroforestry systems and different agroforestry tree species at the Institute of Research and Agricultural Development (IRAD) Ekona, Southwest Region. Course Delegate, Ms Neba Grace led the trainees recently.

Expert in agroforestry, Samalang Patrick took the team to observe some agroforestry trees and systems. The first was the use of ornamental palms and trees in lawns and in life fencing around the Institute. Some tree species observed were Leucaena leucophela, Gliricidia sepium, Kajianus Kajan, Senna, Calliandra calothyrsus and many other ornamentals.

In addition to these, the trainees observed a variety of livestock farming including; Snail farming, Rabbits and Cane rats.

The team equally visited a tree nursery where they examined some propagation practices such as Macotting, Budding, and Grafting and later observed a series of agro-forestry systems notably alley cropping farming system and life fencing.

Dr Samalang Patrick lectured the students on the various agro-ecological zones of the South West Region relating them to existing Zonage system in Cameroon. The trainees asked questions after the lectures and their trainer responded to all the questions leaving them satisfied.

Trainees expressed satisfaction after the training and confessed it was an interesting expedition and wish many more sessions could be organized. “The integration of such practical field work and theory I learnt in school has helped me gain more knowledge on agroforestry. This is the true meaning of professionalism” Ms Neba Grace, one of the trainees said.

Some trainees however complained that the exercise was a bit strenuous given that they found it hard to differentiate the different agro-forestry species. To this effect, they suggested that a museum be created in the EIBiNS campus where students can visit regularly to remind themselves of these plants and their unique characteristics.

Dr Samalang Patrick who is also a Lecturer at EIBiNS promised the trainees that many of such field exercises would be organized to keep agro-forestry trainees on track.

EIBiNS makes practical studies relevant for its students by providing forum for its trainees to exploit more on field observations than theoretical doctrines delivered in class. Through such expeditions, the Institute aims to encourage its trainees to take up challenges and become more professional.

It is worthy to note that the agroforestry program at the institute enjoys some technical support from the Cameroon Program of US Charity Trees for the Future and also has a partnership with the Virginia-tech University.

By Marius Mbimenyuy

EIBiNS Environmental Journalism Intern

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