The Cameroon Forest Garden project is supported by TREES FOR THE FUTURE (TFTF) and implemented by Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in Cameroon. It aims to improve food nutrition and income security of poor farmers through the restoration of degraded agricultural lands and optimization of smallholder farmers’ land. This approach has improved soil quality, increased food production, enhanced food security, and generated adequate fuel wood, fodder, fruits and medicinal plants. The project sites for 2019 were Mt Bamboutous Landscape (Bamboutos, Lebialem, Menoua and Mezam Divisions), Western High Plateau Landscape (Haunt-Nkam, Haut Plateau, Nde and Noun Divisions) and Nlonako – Muanenguba Landscape (Nkongsamba and Nlonako Divisions).
A total of 660 farmers were mobilsed and trained on the various aspects of forest gardening with the successful planting of 1,860,146 trees accros the three landscapes. A total of 771 forest gardeners were registered. The formation of cooperatives was an essential component of the forest garden approach with 57 local groups registered and 7 cooperatives are under the process of creation. To cater for farm products, farmers field were more diversified through the introduction of multiple crops such as vegetable, maize, beans, plantain, pear, plum, Moringa, Neem, Prunus, cassava, coffee, cocoa. More diversified farms ensured food , nutrition and income security
Mr. Keuneu Joseph Alias Masa Yo is a model forest gardener in Bana. He was delighted to share his journey with the agroforestry model of agriculture. “Some years back, I used to buy inorganic fertilizers and pesticides to use in my farm with low yields that were not encouraging. I learned about planting fertilizer trees to improve my poor soils. I will never forget Sorel from ERuDeF who taught me practically what to do. I followed her lessons keenly and today the situation is very encouraging. My harvest is bumper. I sold the surplus agro-produce at the local market. Besides the fertilizer and medicinal trees in my farm, I have been cultivating cocoa, coffee, pepper, vegetables, bananas, yams, cocoyams. I often use the branches of fertilizer trees as stakes and fuel wood and use the leaves and twiggs as organic mulch and fertilizer. Since my farm is on a slope, I planted acacia on the hedges to reduce soil erosion during the rainy season. Last year, I earned about 200,000 FCFA from selling only chili pepper in the local market. I have also prepared my bee hives to install in the farm. The honey bee will feed from acacia and Leucianae flowers and other flowering plants in my garden. I am very grateful to the staff of ERuDeF for giving me such invaluable skills”.
The way forward for this project is to mobilise, register and train additional farmers in the landscapes with a vision to further capacitate the farmers and upscale the model of forest gardening being promoted by ERuDeF.