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The World Agroforestry Organisation, ICRAF, has approved the development of enterprises in two community forests in Fako Division, Southwest Region. This was made known by the organisation’s country representative, Divine Foundjem-Tita, on Thursday May 31, 2018.

According to approval information, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), will facilitate the development of these business enterprises for the Bimbia-Bonadikombo, and the Etinde Community Forests.“Based on the analysis of the Dryad team, we are happy to inform you that the activities proposed by both CFs have been accepted and we now request that you start immediately with the development of the IM and FM input sheets,” ICRAF said.

The approval comes on the heels of meetings held with the community members of the two community forests.The Etinde Community Forest found along the Mt Cameroon National Park and bordered by nine villages, recently agreed for Bush Pepper (Piper guineensis), and Ngongo Leaves (Marathaceae spp) enterprises to be developed.

“We have a lot to gain than to lose from the creation of an enterprise in our community forest. The resources from the forest are unevenly distributed because villagers just haphazardly exploit the genetic resources. I am very convinced that with the coming of this business enterprise, every community member is sure to benefit from its dividend,” said William Mbandu, Forest management Officer, Etinde Community Forest.

According to them, these crops have been exploited in industrial quantities over the years. Hence, they say the crops are the best. “We have harvested Ngongo leaves for so long. I am one person who has been harvesting and selling these leaves for 27 years now. My children all passed-through school thanks to the proceeds from the sale of ngongo leaves. I think its lucrative. Exploiting it at industrial level will benefit us more,” said Ndive Andreas Ngenge, an indigene of Ekonjo.

Meanwhile, Community members of the Bimbia-Bonadikombo community forest, agreed on the development of an enterprise for the large-scale production of Bush Mango and Bush Pepper. Reacting to the approval, the Coordinator of the Dryad project at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Sheron Endah expressed her general appreciation to ICRAF, for once again bestowing so much confidence on ERuDeF. “I am very impressed for having this approval from ICRAF. Indeed, it gives us much courage to pursue the objectives of the project, which is to make community forests serve as a source of income to the adjacent communities,” Sheron added.

The Drayad Project Coordinator indicated that after the approval from ICRAF, her team shall continue with the development of a detailed business plan for the two community forests. The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in collaboration with the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) are executing the project expected to run for five years.

By Yanick Fonki