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14 July 2014

ERuDeF Sets Up New 35000 Capacity NTFP Nursery at Mmockbie

Posted in News, Views 1279

Children filling polybags for the establishment of an NTFP nursery at Mmockbie

In a bid to support the farming population of Mmockbie, a forest adjacent community to the proposed Tofala Wildlife Hill Sanctuary, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has set up a 35000 capacity nursery to raise and distribute seedlings of some Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs). Some of the seedlings include Cola sp (atara), Garcinia kola (bitter kola), Citrus sinensis (sweet orange), Persea avocado (pear) and (Plums). The objective of setting up this NTFP nursery is to help reduce the people's dependence on the forest thus provide a safe place for the different endangered wildlife species in this forest including the critically endangered cross river gorilla.

The NGO has also supported the planting of environmentally friendly trees around all the water catchments in this community which has been suffering from acute water shortages due to exposed catchments. In April this year 3000 seedlings of Acacia angutissima and Calliandra calyoptus were transplanted into the main water catchment of this community and a 10.000 capacity nursery has been set up to continue to support the water catchments.

The establishment of this new 35000 NTFP nursery has been received with a lot of joy. According to Chief Fominot, the Chairman of the Council of Chiefs of the village, this is a laudable initiative. "The produce from these trees will greatly aid the members of this community, 95% of whom are farmers. It will generate income for their families and also ensure household food security''. He said. In the days ahead, the farmers of this community will be trained on methods vegetative propagation of tree species thanks to a giant Non-mist propagator that has also been set up. They will also be schooled on how and why to raise and incorporate nitrogenous trees species into their farms so as to increase soil fertility and hence farm produce.

It would be recalled that two of such nurseries have been set up in Folepi and Nkong, all villages bordering the proposed sanctuary. Additionally, in Nkong demonstration sites have also been set up that incorporate nitrogenous trees into farmer's fields.

By Limbi Blessing Tata

14 July 2014

Mak- Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary Soon To Get Legal Status

Posted in News, Views 1639

Participants brainstorm on technical note

The proposed Mak–Betchou Chimpanzee Sanctuary, located in Lebialem division, SW, Cameroon will soon have a legal status. This follows a two-day workshop to prepare the Technical Note for the creation of this sanctuary that took place on June 23 and 24 in Buea. The workshop, organized by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) was aimed at bringing together stake holders involved in the classification process for the creation of a protected area, notably the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife MINFOF SW to prepare a Technical Note that would give the proposed sanctuary a legal status.

Speaking at the workshop, the President/CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, disclosed that recent bio-monitoring results through camera traps and direct sightings have confirmed the presence of large populations of the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees, African forest elephant, Cross River gorillas, Drills, Buffalos, and other mammals. "This forest also harbors 6 globally threatened birds including Cameroon mountain green bul, crossley ground thrush, Bangwa forest warbler, green breasted bush shrike, bannerman's turaco, red headed picathartes, montereo bush shrike, as well as a number of endangered reptiles, insects, amphibians and butterflies" Nkembi enumerated..

Also speaking at workshop, The Divisional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife (DDMINFOF), Lebialem, Mboui Jaques congratulated ERuDeF for her efforts towards conservation and promised their collaboration and support each time a protected area is identified and proposed. 'We did not come here to joke, Mak- Betchou is rich in wildlife species. It is our responsibility to support partners in conservation like ERuDeF. We are also aware of the benefits that Mak – Betchou if protected can bring to the region and the country, that is why we must ensure that this technical note is properly done, before we forward it to Yaoundé, just as we did with the Tofala which has already gone very far' he said.

Mr. Mboui Jacques's reaction was not different from that of the Divisional Delegate for Kupe Muanenguba, Kebou Jean Pierre, the SW Regional Chief of Forestry and Wildlife, Nono Jeseph, the Chief of Section for Wildlife, Lebialem, Njimin Thomas Amin, and the Chief of Forestry and Wildlife for Fontem, Ndnitchiba G. Edisson, who all appreciated work done and promised collaboration at their various levels, to ensure that the Mak- Betchou Chimpanzee Sanctuary moves from being just a proposed to a legally classified protected area.

According to Nono Joseph, the sanctuary if protected would not only be implementing the Cameroon Government Policy on Forestry and Wildlife Management which stipulates that at least 30% of the national territory be set aside as protected areas (law No. 94-01 of 20 January 1994), but would also contribute to biodiversity and nature protection and improve on the livelihood of the local communities around the Mak- Betchou area through job creation.

With the technical note done, hopes are rife that the classification goes on as planned since according to the Coordinator ERuDeF's Wildlife conservation program, Enokenwa Allen Tabi, the gazzetment process now depends greatly on the promptness of government reaction.

The Lebialem division has a stunning landscape with sub-montane to montane areas, fogged and gallery forest (forest mosaics) interspersed with savannah vegetation that also attracts some endemic plant species. The area is a major watershed that feeds the river Manyu. In spite of its richness in forest and wildlife resources, Lebialem Division remains the only division that does not have an existing protected area officially classified in the whole of Southwest region. The distribution of protected areas is a s follows; Manyu has 47.74%, Ndian 59.6%, Fako 23.2 %, Meme 13;8 %, Kupe 40.2 % and Lebialem 0%.

By Immaculate Mkong

14 July 2014

Local Communities Commit to Plant Threatened Trees

Posted in News, Views 1364

Forest Manager in Bakingili signing MoU

Community members of Woteva and Bakingili, all adjacent to Mt Cameroon have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the NGO, Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) committing themselves to plant seedlings of some threatened trees species in their community forests. The signing ceremony took place on June 20, 2014, between the Chief of Woteva, Woloko Bernard, the Forest Manager of Bankingili, Elive Thomas and ERudDeF's Project Coordinator, Asa'a Lemawah. In bankingili, the ruler, Chief Elive signed on behalf of his community.

Through this MoU, these communities pledged to plant and nurture the trees planted. Already, the communities have begun planting over 5000 seedlings each of threatened species including Microberlinia bisulcata (Zingana), Entandrophragma angolenses (Mahogany), Prunus africana (Pygeum) and Afrostyllax lepidophyllus (Country Onion) in their community forests created some 14 years ago.

Prior to the signing of the MoU, ERuDeF staff held meetings to sensitize the communities and map out a strategy for the planting out of these threatened trees at the community forest. With the support of the communities, the ERuDeF team demarcated different areas to show where the different species would be planted.

The signing of this MoU, it would be recalled is within the framework of ERuDeF's Tree Project Conservation of Threatened Trees at Mt Cameroon area. The Woteva and Bakingili Communities forests were selected as areas where the propagated threatened tree species raised within the project scope would be planted.

These community forests were created some 14 years ago within the framework of the new forestry policy of Cameroon Law which encourages the local communities to participate in the management of the forest estates through the creation of community forests. Given that the forests' Simple Management Plan (SMP), highlights reforestation as a priority, vast areas of land formerly occupied by forests which have been turned into farmland were identified as a priority for regeneration. The taungya system was proposed as the most appropriate method for regeneration in the community forest especially the areas where farmlands had taken over. This implies, the trees are to be planted in these farms alongside food crops and would eventually take over the area after some years and the farm owners would simultaneously cater for the trees alongside their crops.

The community forests have suffered encroachment by adjacent forest communities since creation. To this regard, trees are being planted at the borders of the community forests especially where the boundaries cannot be easily determined. This would serve as clear boundary demarcations between the communities adjacent the forest, hence reducing boundary disputes.

By Asa'a Lemawah

07 June 2014

Chimpanzee Population On a Rise in the Tofala Forest

Posted in News, Views 1781

Mother Chimpanzee carrying baby chimpanzee

A German Researcher has said the presence of many baby chimpanzees captured in camera traps in the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is an indication that chimpanzee population is on the rise in this Forest. Sebastien Linarz was speaking on May 30th, 2014 at the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-Profit Studies (EIBiNS), Buea during his send forth ceremony, after completing the first phase of his PhD Research at the Institute.

In a speech, the President/CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, thanked Sebastian for choosing ERuDeF to carry out his research pledging the Institute's total support for the project.

Sebastian Linarze on his part expressed utmost gratitude to the staff of ERuDeF and EIBiNS for the hospitality and high sense of professionalism exhibited during this phase of the research.

He said his desire to enroll into the EIBiNS Post Graduate Research Programme (PR) in January 15, 2014 was to carry out a carry out a research on a "Comprehensive study of the ecology and behavior of Cross River Gorillas and Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees in the Lebialem Highlands in Cameroon". This was instigated by the quality of research, which he saw ERuDeF carried out through its Institute during his six-week-volunteering with the organization in 2012. A research, which according to the German, was motivated by his interest in the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees and Cross River Gorillas given their 'closeness' to man, and his desire "to prevent the extinction of these two unique species of global importance and to know more about their way of life"

Under the technical supervision of Professor Joyce Kimbi, the German researcher together with his field supervisor, Ms Asoh Bedwin, who doubles as EIBiNS' Research Coordinator, spent 6 months in the Tofala and Mak-betchou forest blocks in the Lebialem Highlands, collecting data for the first phase of the research work.

With the aid of a field guide in each of these blocks, Bedwin and Sebastian, set up camera traps, carried out a day-to-day biomonitoring of these apes in Tofala and Mak-betchou recording various signs like feeding signs, nests etc and collecting hairs and dung samples for the genetical analysis.

At the end of this phase of the project, this researcher was thrilled with the kind of information registered. "We were marveled by the images we saw in the camera traps we set. For the first time, an image of a cross river gorilla was gotten on camera including different groups of chimpanzees; both young and old as well as many with babies. Many other animals like duikers, some cat species, squirrels and Preuss monkey were captured. I also discovered that chimpanzees like moving on the tracks but gorillas avoid the track" the PhD researcher said.

Then that unforgettable day; "It was Monday evening; we had just come back from hiking and were resting when all of a sudden we got chimpanzees coming down the mountain, probably to make sleeping nests close to our camp. We decided to go and look for them. When we reached the place, it was already dark. The light of our flashlights indicated our presence. Suddenly there was panic in the group. Chimpanzees were shouting all around us. They were so afraid, that they started to pee down the trees. While some of them climbing down and ran away, others instead climbed up and hit in trees. We spotted one chimpanzee with the flashlight far up the tree. The next day we returned to the nest sight and saw 10 nests, which we tagged to determine the decay rate" the PhD student narrated.

The German researcher with the supervision of the EIBiNS Research Coordinator, collected leave samples from the nest and with the aid of a "liquid" also collected dung and hairs of gorillas and chimpanzees.

At the end of the first phase of this research, the German Researcher disclosed that the dung collected will be taken to Germany and analysed to determine the diet of the two primate species and their food composition while the hair will be used to determine the genetic flow between the gorillas in the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and those of the Mak-Betchou forest (now being proposed as Mak-Betchou Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The leaves collected will aid to determine the various species which these two primates use to build their nests.

By Bertrand Shancho Ndimuh

07 June 2014

ERuDeF Collects Over 250 Seeds Of Threatened Lophira Alata Plant

Posted in News, Views 1692

Lophira alata

A team of Foresters from the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) have collected over 240 seeds of the threatened Lophira alata tree from the Lilale and the Likoko forests in the Mt Cameroon area. The seeds collected in April 2014 have been nursed in ERuDeF's central nursery located in Buea. The collection of these seeds was very exciting to the team given that since the identification of this particular species in previous surveys, seeds were never found but during this latest survey in April, they were identified and collected. This period was therefore noted as the fruiting period of the species and henceforth, forests of these areas will be surveyed for the Lophira seeds collection. After propagation in the nursery the seedlings will eventually be distributed to communities to plant them in their respective forests as well as seedlings of other threatened trees.

While in the forest, the team found it a little tricky to distinguish the Lophira seeds given their brownish nature as leaves in the forest floor. They were also difficult to be distinguished from those of the threatened Entandrophragma angolenses due to the leaf-like structure on it. However, the round-seeded nut at the bottom clarified doubts and the seeds were distinguished and picked.

The Lophira alata species is a threatened species of plant of the Ochnaceae family. It is found in Cameroon, Congo, Gabon and Nigeria and has been widely exploited mostly for its wood, particularly in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon due to hardness of its wood and larger volume than other woods.

Also the wood is being used for construction work such as hydraulic works, marine construction, bridges and staircases owing to its resistant properties. From a traditional standpoint, experts say the bark extracts of this plant are used as a cure against menstrual/kidney problems, headache and stomach problems. However due to the very high level of exploitation in its areas of distribution, it has been classified as 'vulnerable' by the IUCN Red list.

In Cameroon, primary populations of Lophira alata have disappeared since the 1950s and 1960s. Most of the landscapes which harbored these plants are degraded or have almost disappeared completely as a result of human activities in the tropical forests.

In an effort to restore this species and other threatened tree species, ERuDeF in partnership with the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife has been collecting the seeds of such plants in the Mount Cameroon area to propagate and later replant in the forest in order to replace these globally protected species.

By Adeline Woquan

07 June 2014

Raise Your Voices, Not the Level of the Sea

Posted in News, Views 1546

World Environment Day June 5

No action is too small. Every step towards safeguarding our environment counts! This year's event recognizes that we are all connected and that the challenges that face islands are global challenges that affect us all – so make every action counts.

World Environment Day is celebrated annually on 5 June and this year, in support of the UN designation of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Cameroon will be joining her counterparts worldwide to commemorate the day under the theme "Raise your voice, not the level of the sea"

Reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have shown that global sea levels are rising at an increased rate, which may have effects such as increased global temperatures, expansion of seawater and sea level rise when polar ice melts. Small islands happen to be the most vulnerable to sea level rise and the effects of climate change, they are also places that have been successful at implementing environmental initiatives that increase resilience and show real innovation, for example, by transitioning to renewable sources of energy and restoring mangrove ecosystems which protect against severe floods and storms.

World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations' principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries. It also serves as the 'people's day' for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.

In Cameroon, the day is usually celebrated in grand style under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED). Civil societies always join voices and involve themselves in awareness raising activities. This year, stakeholders called on Cameroonians to speak out and save the planet rather than stay quiet. They warned that any one who is aware and does not raise his voice especially against rising sea levels is guilty of any environmental hazard that befalls Cameroon in particular and the world at large.

Regina Leke

07 June 2014

Mane Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Cameroon’s Ministry of Environment

Posted in News, Views 1785

Minister Hele Pierre and Co-Director of MANE signing MoU

Following the Access and Benefit Sharing ABS principle recently instituted in Cameroon, the government, through the Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a French based cosmetic enterprise V. MANE Fils, represented by the Director General, Michel Mane. The MOU recognizes and lays terms and conditions for a win-win partnership in the exploitation of Echinops giganteus, an aromatic plant found in Magha- Bamumbu, Southwest Region of Cameroon.

Prior to the signing ceremony, Mr. Mane, accompanied by Eric Belvaux, Program Coordinator with French Charity Man and Nature and a delegation from ERuDeF held deliberations with personnel of MINIPDED, experts of the ABS process, local community representatives amongst others. During these deliberations, Mane drilled those present on what his organization really does and how he could work with Cameroon for a win-win partnership. Mane said the MOU will move the Echinops project to the commercialization phase. He said his engagement in the project and with Cameroon is long- term and promised to be back in Cameroon soon, given the warm welcome he received from ERuDeF, Fons and local communities like Bamumbu and Magha, since his arrival in the country. The signing of the MoU comes a day after a working visit by Mr. Mane and his team to Magha.

On his part, the Minister of Environment, Helle Pierre said that the MOU indicates that the Cameroon government recognizes that the French enterprise Mane et Fils is exploiting the plant Echinops giganteus, within the framework of the ABS process. The signing exercise was done with solemnity and serenity. This was done in the presence of MINEPDED officials, ERuDeF staff, ABS experts, the Mayor of Wabane, the chief of Bamumbu amongst others.

Apart from the signing of the MOU, the French duo and ERuDeF team paid a series of working visits to the University of Yaoundé I (Department of Chemistry Laboratory and ENS Bio-chemical laboratory) and IRAD (National Herbarium), meeting with some scientists. During these meetings, participants discussed how Cameroonian universities and Research Institutes could be instrumental in the identification of plants with aromatic and pharmaceutical smell and taste. The scientists looked forward to further cooperation in the research on aromatic and essential oils.

The French Corporate Partner disclosed that international laws have changed in favor of Cameroon. With the introduction of the ABS and FPIC processes, Cameroonians can benefit from the exploitation of their natural resources and ecosystems. The French men acknowledged that research is growing in Cameroon and recommended that it be geared towards development and the market, so that the ecosystem will also gain from the valorization of a plant.

By Immaculate Mkong

07 June 2014

Illegal Exploiter of Endangered Microberlinia bisulcata (Zingana) Caught

Posted in News, Views 1759

Tons of Microbelinia seized from illegal logger

Authorities of the Southwest Regional Brigade of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife have recently intercepted the transportation of over 1400 pieces of sawn Microbelinia bisulcata which were headed for Douala by an illegal exploiter, Tsafack who possessed neither authorization nor exploitation permit.

Chief Ngoh James of Dikome Balondo village said the Forestry chief of Post of the area had presented Tsafack to the community for exploitation. The villagers accepted without any reservation given that the exploiter was with the chief of post- a government official, and the species was considered a hindrance to the growth of their crops. To this regard, the chief of post reportedly advised the villagers not collect money in exchange of the trees but rather to ask the exploiter to reward them through a developmental project in the community. To this effect, the villagers went into verbal agreement with the exploiter in which he was to exploit and saw out 10.000 pieces of logs and in return construct a modern community hall of 15m X 8m consisting of two bedrooms, a conference hall and 2 modern toilets. Consequently, he exploited and transported 2 trucks of the species on two occasions. On the third occasion, the villagers held the truck filled with sawn pieces of Zingana hostage because he had not commenced his side of the bargain as promised. To this effect, the verbal agreement was transformed into a written agreement with the community. On a patrol to area by the South West regional MINFOF brigade team supported by ERuDeF, a pile of over 1400 sawn pieces of Zingana were found pending transportation to Douala by Mr.Tsafack in the village. The MINFOF team confiscated the sawn logs using the official forestry hammer and reported the matter to the Regional office and area gendarmes which prompted the detention of the illegal exploiter. He was charged 2 million FCFA as fine and damages caused which was to be paid into government treasury before his release.

Nonetheless the villagers still interrupted the confiscation and auction of the logs by MINFOF authorities. They argued that the logs could not be auctioned because the owner of the logs –Tsafack had gone into agreement with the community before exploiting the species and till then had not executed his terms of the agreement. The Regional Delegate of Forestry Mr Ebai Samuel together with his team summoned a conflict resolution meeting at the community. In the presence of the Divisional Officer of Bamusso Mr Ndille Joseph, community members and ERuDeF staff, the conflict was sought to be resolved.

Speaking at the meeting, the D.O blamed the community for accepting and going into agreement without his consent. He highlighted that the DO as the administrator of the area had been sidelined by the community and illegal exploiters hovered into the community. He explained that the DO was there for the community and urged the community members to always direct strangers who wanted to work in the community to him. He emphasized that villagers had privileges and not rights of allowing persons to exploit the forest without informing the necessary government authorities. He bemoaned the fact that the exploiter had duped the villagers to exploit the timber without authorization.

In response to this, the Regional Delegate said the wood had to be auctioned and the money paid into the government coffers. RDFOF however said that given the underlying circumstance, he would talk with his team and seek to consider that 50% of the logs are given to the community to sell and use the money to complete the hall while 50% is auctioned and money paid into the government coffers.

Reacting to the unfortunate circumstances, the project Coordinator of the Mt Cameroon threatened trees project at ERuDeF, emphasized the need for protecting these trees whose population has declined almost to extinction due such illegal exploitation.

Microberlinia bisulcata commonly called zebra wood or Zingana is found within the lowland forest of Mt Cameroon. Recently the specie has been undergoing serious threat of extinction as illegal exploiters haul logs out of the forest everyday . The species which is critically endangered and endemic to the area is highly sawn for its beautiful hard stripy timber for furniture. Given that the Cameroon government recently issued a ban on another threatened species Gebourtia mannii (Boubinga) which was highly exported, the recent upsurge has been on Zingana as a substitute in the black market of timber. Hence the illegal logging of the relics of the zebra wood or Zingana within the lowland forest of Mt Cameroon has been appalling. Nonetheless the services of South West Regional brigade of Forestry and Wildlife in collaboration with ERuDeF has been putting measures to stop the felling of these trees through the introduction of anti-logging patrols supported by the UK Charity Fauna and Flora's Global Tree Campaign project.

By Asa'a Lemawah

07 June 2014

Green Vision Newspaper Turns One

Posted in News, Views 1684

One of Cameroon's pioneer pieces in environmental journalism-The Green Vision Newspaper will celebrate its first anniversary this June 17, 2014. With over 12000 copies of 12 editions circulating around the national territory, many are those who have described the paper as an eye opener to some of the crucial environmental problems facing the country.

edition 1

First ever edition of The Green Vision



The Green Vision Newspaper was launched in June 2013 by one of the leading Cameroonian conservation non-profit, The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) with a vision of providing the Cameroonian public with news on the environment and sustainable development. Her birth was prompted by the fact that most of the existing media organs in the country had not given attention to environmental issues thus making the struggle for conservation slow.

In commemoration of its first anniversary, the paper spoke to some of its readers to find out what effect the paper has had on its audience. A fervent reader in Yaounde who works with a national daily-The Star, Theodore Mih Ndze said before the birth of The Green Vision, he was so ignorant about the environment "I was very excited to learn about the birth of The Green Vision Newspaper because I am a lover of nature, but I have never taken time to investigate any issue on the environment as a Journalist. After having read over 8 editions of this paper, I began to understand some crucial environmental problems like deforestation, pollution and climate change. I think it really brought a change in the Cameroon's media world".

Another reader in Buea said she has been able to develop interest in environmental reporting thanks to The Green Vision Newspaper. "I read a story about how the agro-industrial company CDC is discharging untreated waste into waterways causing sea creatures to die. I picked up interest since from that article and I have been investigating some environmental stories for my newspaper" Roselyn Njie, a Reporter for The Recorder Newspaper said.

One of Green Vision's subscribers, CEO of a Non-profit-Pro Climate said The Green Vision has been very instrumental in educating his staff on current climate related issues. He said the paper has also given non-profits like his NGO a voice to talk about their activities and contribute towards environmental protection. He however advised that the paper should organize workshops to train other journalists on environmental reporting so that they can pioneer the change in their media houses.

The Green Vision is distributed nationwide by a French Firm, better known by its acronym, MESSAPRESS. The paper has equally reached local communities and has been a tool for environmental education for forest adjacent communities.


IMG 2825The Green Vision team has also distributed copies to school environmental clubs, who use the paper as a learning material.

As the paper celebrates its first anniversary, the paper looks forward to moving from a monthly to a bi-monthly publication and hopes to continue providing Cameroonians with incisive environmental news.

By Regina Leke

07 June 2014

Bamumbu Fondom-Wabane Pledges Commitment To Echinops Giganteus Project

Posted in News, Views 2234

MANE Co-Director examines equinox plant

The people of Wabane, Lebialem Division, SW Cameroon have pledged their support and collaboration to the Echinops giganteus project, a project they have described as enormous and beneficial. They made this pledge on May 21, 2014 during a working visit of the Director General of French enterprise, V.MANE Fils, Mr. Michel Mane, Project Coordinator at French charity Man and Nature, Eric Belvaux and a delegation from ERuDeF. The aim of the visit was to inspect ground work on the production of Echinops giganteus and to formalize partnership with the Cameroon government. This falls within the framework of the Nagoyal Protocol-Access Benefit Sharing (ABS) signed in Japan in 2010, stating that local communities should benefit from the exploitation of their natural resources.

Echinops giganteus is a plant that has been found to contain aromatic potentials by the French enterprise. Mr. Mane, Director General of French enterprise V. MANE Fils, explained his rationale of getting involved in the production of cosmetic products and partnering with ERuDeF to encourage its production in Cameroon. Echinops comprises between 125 and 130 species and grow in open grassland. It is widely distributed in Nigeria, Zaire, Rwanda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Cameroon. The presence of the plant in Magha gave birth to the Echinnops giganteus project which falls under the Livelihoods and Economic Development component of ERuDeF.

Mr. Mane arrived Cameroon on Monday, May 19th 2014, to join Mr. Eric Belvaux, Program Coordinator for Man and Nature Association, who had arrived Cameroon one week earlier. The duo was accompanied by an ERuDeF team to Mahga, to assess the potential of the plant in this area.

Inaugurating the newly created Echinops cooperative in Magha, Mane thanked the villagers for their hard work and commitment in the Echinops giganteus project. He also presented a brief history on how the Echinops project started, saying that it all began in 1999 when one of Mane's partners proposed the plant to him saying it could be of importance to him, since his organization deals in aromatic and pharmaceutical products. He then discussed it with the Director of the French charity, Man and Nature, who collaborated with ERuDeF to locate and carry out research on the plant. The plant was discovered to be growing in the wild in Magha and following the Access Benefit Sharing-ABS policy recently instituted in Cameroon, Mane, through ERuDeF, has been concerned with encouraging the cultivation of this plant in Magha, so that both his organization and the people of Magha as well as the government of Cameroon can benefit.

Mane presented a sample of the essential oil derived from the echinops plant, for the community to see and smell by use of what he called, paper blotters. Excited by Mane's presence and the demonstration of the echinops essential oil, the people of Magha promised to continue collaborating with Mane and ERuDeF, in order to make the project bigger since according to Mane, they are still at the pilot and research phase of the project. The villagers also used the opportunity to thank their visitors for the newly opened cooperative, the support of the bee keeping project and other development initiative this project has brought to their community.

The Assistant Project Coordinator of the Echinops project, Lea Kenmene also encouraged the people to work harder in order not to lose the benefits this project would bring to their community, since plans are already underway to move the project to the commercialization phase. She reminded them that the project started in 2012 with an agronomic study on the plant. Sample seeds were provided and villagers were trained on how to cultivate Echinops giganteus and that the arrival of Mr Mane was the result of their hard work.

The President/CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi on his part, thanked the Cameroon government for giving the opportunity to sustainably manage natural resources for the benefit of both partners and local communities, and Mr. Mane for accepting to respect the provisions of the 2010 Nagoyal Protocol- ABS convention signed in Japan

On his part, the Mayor of Wabane Council, Nembo K. Isreal, said that 'community expectations from this project are very high, because we are in an enclosed and underdeveloped community and we welcome any thing that can alleviate poverty and improve the living conditions of the people. If the state of Cameroon is involved in this project which we know is a big one, it should help us institute a good road network in this area because it is difficult for villagers to transport their farm produce to the main road which is about 70km away; we need electricity and more. Our area has suffered natural disasters and needs rehabilitation.' he said. The Mayor also assured their commitment to the project as long as his locality stands to benefit in the process. He requested for a free flow of information between Paris and Wabane to avoid any misunderstandings, as has been the case with other partners in the past.

To quench the curiosity about what the community would benefit from the project, Mane explained that it is still early and difficult to say with certainty what Magha will get in exchange of Echinops giganteus, since that depends on if the market is going to welcome the cosmetic product that would be made from Echinops giganteus. He further explained that the essential oil gotten from echinops is just one amongst the about 3000 components used in producing a single cosmetic product.

A traditional dance ushered the team out of the cooperative premises, to the cultivation sites of plant. After the first and second stops to plots one and two respectively, observation was that direct seeds do better than transplanted plants. However, the duration of the plant before it is ready for harvest could not be determined just yet. The team also visited the reforestation site, where a landslide had occurred killing over 20 persons.

By Immaculate Mkong

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