SILVER BACK COMPANY
Conservation efforts by the local Cameroonian NGO – the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, ERuDeF has led to the conservation of the critically endangered cross river gorillas, the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee amongst other Great Apes. With the creation of Silver Back Company Ltd in 2013 as a Social Business Division where the proceeds are directed to the effective conservation and protection of the habitats of these Great Apes. With the creation of the social business division headed by the Silver Back Company Ltd charged with the processing and market of the forest-related products – None-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs).
Proceeds generated through the SBC will be used towards the capitalization of the FoProF (community-based conservation trust fund and the ERuDeF Endowment Fund) designed to support the charitable activity of ERuDeF and partly reinvested into the company.
The Lebialem palm oil development project that was introduced in 2011, has led to considerable improvement in the quality of lives of the local population through improved yield (over 45%), household income while at the same time, saving significant energy for other activities and better quality of life. In the course of this period, it was realized that the capacities of the local population were not ripe enough for its sustainable management. To overcome the managerial lapses of the local community beneficiaries, the division of social business development was created at ERuDeF with specific mission to sustainability manage the conservation fall-outs projects for the betterment of the local population.
One of the products of SBC Ltd “the Lebialem palm oil development project” that was introduced in 2011 to process palm oil from local and archaic methods to improved milling using the semi-industrial press made up of the hydraulic system. Four giant mills were installed in the communities of Essoh-Attah, Nkong, Besali and Bechati. The social and economic environment prior to the set-up of the company is characterized by hardship and underdevelopment of the general masses, with over 40% lacking basic social-economic necessities to make life more comfortable. With an estimated population of these four communities at 2,500 inhabitants with over 90% of the total population directly involved in unsustainable subsistence farming, and poverty rate described as high, high level under-scholarization characterized by high degree school dropout, exclusion of the girl child from higher education, the company is promising to engage in a course to reverse this trend by contribution to social and economic welfare of the masses, thanks to its social business policy set out by Silver Back Company Ltd. G
The over goal of SBC Ltd is to provide long term financing to ERuDeF’s charity programmes through ploughing back profits generated from the company’s businesses. In this way, the institution is looking forward to;
Producing and commercializing standard and industrial driven forest products, by way of setting up small scale cottage industries for the production and marketing of basic commodities including forest products around conservation habitats. Key result
- 192 liters of honey was produced from 250 beehives in Mmock-Leteh, Fossungu, Bangang, Essoh-Attah, Upper Lewoh, and Magha.
- One cottage industry for soap production has been installed in Dschang on the 7th December 2018 with the aim to support the local population in the Tofala-Mone area. The industry that has the capacity to produce about 100 cubes of soap per day is an initiative to reduce the local population dependence on forest resources in Cross River gorilla and Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee habitats. This industry which is temporarily located in Dschang due to the socio-political crisis will be transferred permanently to the Tofala-Mone area when the socio-political crisis has been subsided.
- Two other potentials for cottage industry development was identified in the Mt Bamboutus area these are avocado and Raphia.
- 145kg of dried mondia roots were transported from Lewoh to Buea to be transported to V. Mane Fils.
- Silver Back Company products were sold at the Douala International Trade and 99 liters of honey and bee wax was sold at 308500 FCFA and 25 liters of palm oil at 10500 FCFA.
Securing new funding from 2019 to 2022 will help us upscale our impact in the area of concerned. The target population will increase from 1000 to 5000 inhabitants to benefit directly and indirectly in the current Lebialem conservation highland complex while including the Mount Bamboutos, Bamenda high lands, Adamawa plateau, Mount Nlonako, Kupe Muaneguba and in the western highlands.
The existing livelihoods activities will be up scaled, None-Timber Forest products value chain development incorporated. The livelihoods activities will be a more business like project, from production, Value addition, and commercialization of final products. The model to be adopted is the Community Conservation Social Enterprise Development (CoCoSED) Initiative. This model was developed by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) to cover the gap of the livelihood program and to enable the program sustainable with or without foreign aid.