The Cameroon Desk Program Coordinator for Trees for the Future in USA, Ben Addlestone has said the introduction and consolidation of the forest garden approach amongst farmers in Cameroon is a veritable way to increase food security. Mr. Addlestone was speaking in Buea, SW Cameroon at the Trees for the Future office on January 17, 2014, after a two weeks visit to farms practicing agroforestry in the West, Southwest and Northwest regions of the Country.
“The forest garden is not a very new technique. We want to use the alley cropping system that we are already doing to improve soil fertility, but include other species of trees such as fruit trees, medicinal and animals to increase the diversity of the farms so that if one crop is affected, they can feed or sell the other. This will definitely increase food security and farmers’ opportunity to boost their income. It will equally increase sustainable land use, by increasing the diversity of trees, it will help land to be used more sustainably” Mr Addlestone said.
Speaking about the objective of his trip, Mr. Addlestone said one of the main objectives was to monitor the progress of Trees for the Future Cameroon. “I came to assess how farmers are inculcating agroforestry system of farming and also to assess how the new technique of forest garden can be applied to Cameroon. Most of the farms I saw were very good and most of the farmers were already practicing forest garden in one way or the other. I think to bring that to the next level where farmers can really generate income from the technology, will be a very easy thing to do” Mr. Addlestone said.
Mr. Addlestone accompanied by the Cameroon Country Director, Louis Nkembi and the Program Assistant, Neba Kingsly, visited dozens of farms across Cameroon and spoke with different farmers practicing agroforestry. According to Mr. Addlestone, the experience this year was better than last year. ” First, this year was longer than last year and we saw a lot of farms and we travelled in a lot of different directions and I think that the experience was better than last year because we saw some incredible farmers practicing real improved agroforestry techniques and we saw a huge spectrum of topographies, rural conditions and farmers”
Commenting on the trend of the Cameroon Program, Mr. Addlestone said “I went to all the new farms this year and equally the old farms and putting all together I think the project is a step in the right direction with new farmers saying if they commit to it, in three years time, they will see real benefits”
Mr. Addlestone hopes that as the year goes by, the Cameroon Program will keep growing and impacting as many lives as possible. “We just intend to keep growing, seeing what the community needs in terms of agroforestry and being able to give the community”
He thanked all the staff of Trees for the Future Cameroon for a job well done and also extended words of gratitude to the management of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF)for their support to Trees for the Future Cameroon. “I was so glad to be here and I look forward to coming back next year” He added.
By Regina Fonjia Leke