Silver Back Company, ERuDeF’s Biodiversity Business Component

The Lebialem highlands forest area is predominantly a palm oil exploitation area.The Lebialem palm oil development project was introduced in 2011 by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). It led to a considerable improvement in the livelihood of the local population with increase in household income from 20% to 45%.

In the course of the project, it was noticed that the capacity of the local population was not adequate for sustainable management of the project. To build up these lapses in management, the Social Business Development, was created at ERuDeF with a specific mission to sustainably manage conservation projects’ fall outs for the betterment of the local population.

In addition, the division of Social Business development was thought of as stimulant to foster rapid economic development in these communities living adjacent to conservation habitats in Lebialem highland. The department came to fulfil the aspirations of the local communities aiming at improving on economic welfare through job creation, socioeconomic advancement and the institution of community development projects.

In the same light, the Silver Back Company Ltd (SBC Ltd) was created as an institution in November 2013. Principally,it manages activities and operations of the Social Business Division.

The Company is named after the male Cross River Gorilla characteristic with a silver lining at his back. He is popularly known as the Silver Back Gorilla.

The company is a special class of limited liability, in which profits generated are not for the interest of the shareholders but to further enhance and promote conservation activities within the geographical limit of the project area. The company is concern with value addition to the activities of ERuDeF.It came on the heels of observation with partners and local communities that the people cannot adequately and efficiently manage sustainable livelihood project donated to them, market projects and bring back profits to the community for development and conservation support. The company has the opportunity to do value chain development for products within the conservation site. It can as well do legal and environmental acceptable businesses which are directed at preservation and protection of the natural environment.

The main objective of SBC Ltd is to ensure support for long term management of a system of protected areas in Cameroon starting with the newly created TOFALA Hill Wild life Sanctuary. Consequently, the company had to

– To enhance profitability of the company.

– Support long term conservation efforts through the capitalization of the – Forest Protection Fund (FoProF)

– Production and commercialisation of forest products through the setting up of small scale cottage industries for the production and marketing of basic commodities with interest in Non Timber Forest Products found in conservation habitats.

Specific objectives of SBC Ltd

The company will sustainably do the following:

  • Processing and marketing of palm oil.
  • Production and marketing of aromatic plants such as Echinopsgiganteuse and Mondiawhiteiwithin and without Cameroon.

· Collection, processing and marketing of Non Timber Forest Products and by product in and out of Cameroon.

· Support the financing of integral conservation development programs throughout Cameroon especially in regions where ERuDeF is implementing its activities. This can be done by creating a conservation finance unit to better manage the project.

· Production and marketing of environmental news articles by setting up a media and publishing unit as well as publishing on line newsletter for the company to create visibility with partners and stakeholders.

· Position the company as the leading social business organization in Cameroon.

The company has created positive impacts in communities such as Bechati, Besali, Nkong and Essoh-Attah in Lebialem Division. Quality production in palm oil, echinops, and mondia whitei and honey has put smiles in people’s faces. This is possible thanks to the efforts of the Silver Back Company Ltd.

BY: Peter Tendongzi

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