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05 August 2013

ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity Hosts Cameroon Chapter of AfroMont

Posted in News, Views 1452

Mt. Bamboutos, one of the degraded mountains to benefit from the AfroMont Initiative

The Executive Bureau of the African Mountains Research Initiative (AfroMont), Cameroon have held the first meeting in Buea to draw up a plan on how to manage Cameroon's Mountains most of which are under serious degradation. The AfroMont Cameroon resolved to commence their research with three Mountains in Cameroon namely Mt Bamboutos, Mt. Cameroon and Mt Oku. The meeting took place on July 27, 2013 at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF)'s Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies in Buea, SW Cameroon.

Speaking during the meeting, the President of Afro Mont Cameroon, Dr. Jean-Emmet Nodem, Sociologist and Lecturer at the University of Dschang, said the choice of these three mountains is because some amount of research has already begun on them. "We are going to examine what has been done and what is going on. This has already begun in the University of Buea where four research activities on the mountains have been conducted" Nodem explained. He equally said that the choice of these mountains is because degradation is rapidly going on and people are already suffering because of this. "Scarcity of water and the destruction of the water table in an important watershed like Bamboutos compel us to do something to make available fresh water sources" He added.

The first AfroMont Conference for West and Central Africa held in January 2013 in Dschang, Cameroon and according to Dr. Nodem, following this summit, it was imperative that the Cameroon chapter takes off.

AfroMont is an initiative of the African Mountain Research Initiative based at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. It works for the management of African mountains. This management is at the level of culture, economy, management of water and soils. Other activities of AfroMont include following up what has been laid down by the mother organization in South Africa especially aspects like good governance of mountains and in the case of Cameroon, Mt Bamboutos and Mt Oku.

Concerning the use of research material already done by students in the Universities, the President said AfroMont will operate differently from Universities. 'First, we will see what has been done, organize seminars to indicate what has been done, what is yet to be done and the recommendations suggested by students will be used and made available to other stakeholders who need to use them"

Talking about the expansion of the Group, Mr. Nodem said "membership is going to obviously going to expand. We cannot have an organization which is limited just to founders, so we are going to open up AfroMont Cameroon to Researchers, to Associations, NGOs and even Students who will be willing to work with us"

The Secretary of the group, Louis Nkembi, President CEO of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation(ERuDeF) noted that many good initiatives have begun but have never moved forward. He hoped that this initiative will leave the discussion table and become a fully implemented field project. He cited money as being one of the major factors that cause projects to collapse, the delay of funding, and mismanagement of funds. He therefore cautioned that for such a project to succeed, people who were ready to stake their all in it must come forth. Other members of the team like M. Tepoule Joseph GIS expert and Lecturer at the University of Buea insisted that excellence should be the watchword for the realization of activities. Equally in attendance were Ms Foutchum Georgette and Ms Seemndze.

Meetings will hold at least four times a year and this will move from Buea through Dschang to Bamenda. Members will have to initially put in their own funds to set the ball rolling. They will then work together to write projects and get funding for research to be conducted on these mountains.

The AfroMont Cameroon Executive includes amongst others Dr. Jean-Emett Nodem ( University of Dschang) President, Dr. Fonge Beatrice (University of Buea), Vice President, Louis Nkembi (ERuDeF) Secretary, Tekam Michel (ADEID), Treasurer and Joseph Tepoule( University of Buea), Editor.

By Ita Nawom

05 August 2013

FFI and GEF Allocate $7 Million for Protected Area Management in Southwest Cameroon

Posted in News, Views 1218

Balancing conservation and development

Participants pose after  workshop

 

Leading international conservation partners, Fauna and Flora International (FFI), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have set aside about $7 million for wildlife habitat conservation, and the sustainable management of agriculture and protected areas in Southwest Cameroon.

This revelation was made during a two day workshop on Sustainable Farming and Critical Habitat Conservation to Achieve Biodiversity Mainstreaming and Protected Areas Management Effectiveness in Southwest Cameroon. The workshop took place on July 3, 2013 in Limbe bringing together the Directors of GEF, FFI, UNEP and local implementing partners like the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), the University of Dschang, CHEDE , collaborating Ministries, the representative of the Governor of Southwest Cameroon and other environmental Stakeholders.

The inception workshop was organized to prepare the logical framework for this 4-year project. Speaking at the workshop, the FFI Programs Manager for West and Central Africa Daniel Pouakouyou, said the project, which seeks to balance development and conservation, has three components-including supporting the initiative of the local community with special consideration to environmental protection and legislative issues plus institutional arrangements.

He cited the speedy gazettement of the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and the restoration of the Kupe Integral Ecological Reserve as top priority under this project. The Task Manager, Biodiversity/Land Degradation at UNEP Adamou Bhuari on his part, said 2/3 of the allocated amount ($1.7 million) from GEF will be used to support community based concrete conservation activities.

The Representative of the Governor of Southwest Cameroon M. Fabian Kenfack, drawing inspiration from Growth and Development Strategic Paper said the project will contribute to the country's 2035 vision of becoming an emerging country. He advised the population of the project area between the Bakossi National Park and the Bayang Mbo elephant sanctuary to conserve their biodiversity as to benefit from environmental equilibrium, eco-tourism and all other ecosystem services that go with a healthy environment. Mr. Kenfack used this opportunity to beseech Cameroonians to contribute to biodiversity conservation via sustainable farming and habitat management, as to better their living conditions

To ensure that the project has the utmost desired success, FFI's Program Director for Africa, Rob Brett's divulged that "community structures that actually worked in the past, be built upon and put to good use in the project" with more local people involved in the project especially given that 'It is not possible to achieve conservation objectives without community support'. He added that dialogue be promoted between protected areas and the people living around these areas. For all these to be possible according to him, Government ministries, project management team, local institutions and executing partners all have to work together to maximize resources and at the end of it all justify the global environment and social benefits that have been generated by the project.

A logical frame work for the project was developed with the validated project document to be submitted to GEF before the end of 2013. The Project implementation would begin within the first quarter of 2014.

By Ita Nawom

05 August 2013

Two ERuDeF Staff benefit from IUCN’s Training Workshop on project writing

Posted in News, Views 1353

Participants pose after the workshop

Two staff from the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Enokenwa Allen Tabi and L. Alida have gained skills in project writing, management, monitoring and evaluation in a three-day-workshop organized by the International Union for Nature Conservation-Protected Areas of West and Central Africa (IUCN-PAPACO). The workshop which took place in Yaounde at the Hotel Azur from 23 to 25 July 2013 was organized under the supervision of Thomas Bacha, the Coordinator of the section on capacity building of small initiatives programme (PPI). It was focused on project writing management and monitoring and evaluation. The trainer of the workshop Léopold Mbarirande came from Kinshasa and he is a consultant in projects management.

The three-day activities were focused on the introduction of a project cycle, presentation of project logical framework, identification and analysis of problems, identification and analysis of objectives. The logic of intervention, identification and formulation of hypothesis, identification and formulation of objectively verifiable indicators and sources of verification were equally key aspects of project planning which the workshop delved on. Planning and implementation of project, monitoring and evaluation of project and elaboration of terms of references were equally not left out.

In the course of the workshop, three groups were formed depending on their domain of intervention to identify a project title, objectives, expected results, activities. Each group also presented the log frame of their project, the chronogram of activities and the budget of $ USA100, 000.

At the end of the training, participants did an evaluation and trainers handed over certificates to every participant.

According to one of the participants, L. Alida, the workshop was an experience she would cherish for a long time. "The workshop gave me the opportunity to beef up my knowledge in project writing. Coming from a non-profit world I think I will use the skills gathered from this workshop to impact my organisation. I also had the opportunity to meet other NGOs, interact and exchange experiences with them and re-enforce our knowledge on project elaboration, management and follow up" Ms Alida added.

In all, there were 19 Participants who took part in the workshop including the Trainer Leopold Mbarirande, consultant in projects Management, from Kinshasa, Thomas Bacha, the organizer and 17 other members from 9 different NGOs around the country.

The IUCN-Protected Area Program works in partnership with civil society organizations of 27 countries in West and Central Africa. It implements small initiatives dedicated to capacity building of African civil societies actors who are active in protected areas management and generally in the conservation of nature.

By Lea Kenmene A.

05 August 2013

Over 50 orphans to benefit from ERuDeF scholarships schemes in Lebialem Division

Posted in News, Views 1158

Some of the Young Orphans who would benefit from the Scholarship

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) with support from Tusk Trust UK continue to improve education through its 2013-2014 scholarship scheme. Over 50 orphans within the age bracket 5-16 in the Lebialem Division would benefit from this scholarship scheme. These children would receive basic school needs such as; school bags, school fees, text books, exercise books and some other didactics materials for the 2013/2014 academic year. The aim of this scholarship is to first to encourage education for the under-privileged and also to breed young leaders in the field of the environment.

During the first semester of the year 2013, the ERuDeF education team visited several schools around the Lebialem Division. The aim of this activity which is carried out every year under the banner of the ERuDeF Environmental Education Program, was to improve the participation of school environmental clubs in conserving their environment.

At the latter months of this semester, outstanding school clubs, which had proven their engagements in protecting the environment, were selected. The school authorities together with ERuDeF education team thereafter nominated at least 2 candidates each for the scholarship award from every school. The following criteria notably family background, class position, honesty, respect of hierarchy, and involvement in the school environmental club were the key criteria taken into consideration during the selection process. The selection process was equally gender balanced, given that, at least a girl and boy were selected from each school.

Just to note that kids selected are orphans who are academically sound, but are not able to further their studies because of their financial difficulties. Some of them have been adopted by well-wishers just so they can have a place to sleep and some balanced diet to eat. Also some of them are the head of their school environmental clubs while others are the hands which are faithfully working towards a greener school environment. With such tremendous efforts, ERuDeF felt obliged to put a smile on the faces of these kids through this scholarship scheme.

The launching of the scholarship program would take place at the Lebialem Headquarters (Menji) during the third week of September 2013. All candidates will be present with a Representative of their school authority

By Mahah Vladimire

15 July 2013

A Post-mortem Of CDC’s Use Of Toxic Chemicals

Posted in News, Views 2566

Until Banana-Link made a documentary exposing the Cameroon Development Corporation/Delmonte Tiko Banana Project's apparent casual use of toxic chemicals to spray their banana crops, the corporation had been an adorable agro-industrial undertaking in the eyes of the public.

 

By Regina Fonjia Leke

 

Some of the most common nematicides and herbicides that the Tiko Banana Project uses are also known to be hazardous to humans. While the nematicides (Dithane, Counter 15G, Mocap and Furadan) kill borers, weevils and other nematodes which destroy the root systems of bananas, the toxic chemicals may also slowly and stealthily harm labourers.

A worker at Camp 8, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said inhaling the vapours or coming into contact with the said chemicals, directly or otherwise, may cause cramps, vomiting, fainting and can even cause sterility in men.

"Indeed, the chemicals are highly toxic. However, they neutralize with dolomite or calcium carbonate. The trouble is, CDC does not seem interested in the labourers' welfare," the worker told The Green Vision.

"No prior warning is issued before aerial spraying. Often aerial spraying is carried out even when workers are in the field," he said, "after the spraying, women who are de-leafing the bananas are affected by sigatoka. Men harvesting fruits immediately after spraying are also victims. People who are passing, or living around the banana plantation areas and other workers not involved in spraying traverse applied areas, are affected too because they don't have personal protection equipments (PPEs). To make matters worse, there is no enforcement of safety regulations."

A young man, who works in the packing house told The Green Vision that, "whenever they spray, they don't consider those in the packing house who are not protected."

"Most often, the CDC authorities rush to give us gloves only when a team from outside comes for inspection," said Albertine, a 35-year-old mother of three, who is a packer at the plantation.

She said the noxious chemicals used on banana at CDC/Delmonte Tiko Banana Project have destroyed her palms.

"Before I came to Delmonte, my palms were very healthy. But because we are not given gloves to use when working, the chemicals have damaged my palms," Albertine said.

Richard Ntah, 37 year old and married, with a son, said a "very dangerous chemical Counter has killed about five people whom I knew."

The deflowerer said the company uses Counter to spray the bananas to kill insects which eat up the roots of the crops, thus retarding their growth.

"This chemical is toxic and because often workers are not protected, they inhale it and they are often affected by the chemicals," Ntah told The Green Vision.

Other problems that seem to plague the CDC/Delmonte workers include pick-ups as early as 4 a.m and low pay, which stands at between 30.000 and 40.000 francs cfa, pay range for unskilled workers.

"We lose sleep. In addition, vehicles are supposed to pick up workers from the farms by 2 pm, but most often the trucks delay by hours and some farmers collapse due to hunger," said one of the workers.

He added, "If CDC can acquire more vehicles, it would solve this problem," he said.

Implicating Scientific Study

A scientific study adds to concerns about CDC's use and removal of chemical waste.

"All factory effluent in Tiko is jointly drained into the settling ponds after residual rubber recovery at the rubber trap. Factory wastewater is a mixture of high strength type (generated from rotary screen, creeper and moulding) and low strength effluent (from wet scrubber, shredder through washing," says a Cameroonian scientist from the University of Roskilde, Denmark, Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change (ENSPAC), Napi Wouapi, in a Masters thesis on Towards a Comprehensive Analysis of Cleaner Technology Potentials to Address Industrial Pollution arising from Natural Rubber Processing Industry: A Case study of Cameroon Development Corporation - Rubber Factories

According to the results of the study, there was apparent evidence of poor waste management as dictated by the malodour experienced during the research, a view supported by formal and informal interviewees.

One interviewee said that "the CDC is too powerful to push around on their poor environmental performance. [It's] a major employer in the area where unemployment rates and poverty are rife. CDC-dependents hardly complained for fear of losing their jobs and victimisation."

Some workers expressed concerns about the working environment but helpless to complain. Some residents next to the factory said, "We are used to the odour it is no longer an issue."

A company staff categorically said, "Bad smell from rubber is not harmful to humans and the environment."

Napo says "these testimonies indicate lack of knowledge and environmental awareness on the potential threats arising from rubber factories."

His thesis quotes the principal of a nearby college in Tiko as saying that "Only an ignorant person would think that a factory located in the proximity of a hospital, residential houses presents no human and environmental threats."

"The CDC is government institution; it is too powerful to complain or engage a legal battle for its relocation or environmental improvements," the principal is further quoted.

The study further reveals that even though treatment points exist in Tiko, more often than not, they are dysfunctional and during this time, the raw rubber waste is discharged directly into the Atlantic Ocean.

It equally revealed that the Tiko Rubber Factory is the only factory with treatment ponds, whereas Mukonje and Penda Mboke factories do not have any.

CDC Slums

As if to add insult to injury, CDC dwelling camps are rotting slums of a sharp horrible vivacity – a whole mess bisected into squalid segments of moulding walls and sagging roofs by wild grass – dingy sceneries peopled by sad-faced unattractive adults and ill-clad children, sometimes at play, others brooding in a purposeless, rather ominous way. They are dwellings of weird fascination.

Ndongo Camp in Tiko is a crow's flight from the prestigious well groomed Golf Club. The dissipated face of the camp tells the common story of abject poverty, misery and neglect. Although Ndongo sits side by side with the Golf Club, it wallows in darkness as soon as the sun sets. It is not electrified.

"There are about 200 workers living in this camp and there are only three toilets and no proper bathrooms. Water is scanty. Often, we have to buy drinkable water from a distance," said the wife of one of the labourers.

He said some of the chemicals from aerial spraying descend on the camp "and they spray when workers are in the field. They don't care."

A retired CDC general labourer, who said he worked for 40 years on 118 francs cfa per hour, and is now living on a pension of 25.000 francs cfa, reminisced that when they were growing palm in Mondoni, the camp was well equipped.

"We had water, electricity and the camp was painted. Now in Ndongo, the CDC has moved from palm to banana, it has never been nasty. What is it with CDC?" he wondered.

Guilty Or Not Guilty?

CDC officials deny the above allegations but admit that there are some problems.

"Those allegations have never been proven medically. But, we are struggling to spray on days when workers are not on the field," the Tiko Banana Project Human Resources Officer, John Njike Njangpou, told The Green Vision in an interview in his Tiko office.

Although the Human Resources Officer said the standard distance between a dwelling place and a plantation that is sprayed is about 400 metres, some camps, village communities and schools are separated from the plantations by just metres.

Njike said they are trying to enforce instructions that workers are not allocated to work in areas to be sprayed.

"CDC has hygiene and safety committees at all levels and the workers are aware of the safety rules but some are just stubborn and careless," the Human Resources Officer said.

He adds, "We try to educate the workers, unfortunately they are mostly illiterate."

Njike said spraying is normally done early in the morning in designated areas and workers are instructed not to go to those areas. Spraying stops at around 10 am, thereafter it is safe to go through the sprayed area.

"For those workers who have to apply the toxic chemicals, the corporation takes them through a cholinestressal test to determine whether they are fit to handle the chemicals. They must pass 75 percent, otherwise they aren't allowed to apply the toxic chemicals," Njike explained.

The corporation's regulations, according to Njike, require that the workers are "detoxicated" after applying the nematicides.

"We provide bathing detergent in showers at the work place and the protective equipment is handled by experts," he said, adding, "Internal regulations sanction defaulters of protective equipment."

As concerns the morbid dwelling conditions in the camps, Njike said "Tiko Banana has no camps, but CDC has. Most camps around Mondoni area and Tiko have been demolished. The corporation now pays the workers housing allowance and it is up to them to find accommodation."

Hot MOCAP Cake!

The condition of the CDC labourer couldn't be worse.

"They steal a very toxic chemical known as mocap and hide it in their underpants," Njike said, "mocap is applied manually only twice a year to kill weevils. It is such hot cake that we have to hire the military for a month as the nematicide is being applied. Mocap is also sold in the markets packaged as rat poison (Arata bomb)."

Said the Human Resources Officer,"We pay millions even to guard our warehouse at Camp 7."

Responding to the question of low wages vis-a-vis eight hours a day of hard labour , Njike said CDC does not determine workers' wages.

"CDC works according to State procedures of fixing workers' pay based on the National Collective Convention on Agriculture and Related Activities. Workers' wages and salaries are based on that. CDC may participate in the collective bargaining, but may not have total control over the final decisions. The workers, meanwhile, are represented by their trade unions," Njike told The Green Vision.

Agro-chemicals Are Toxic

A medical doctor working for the CDC, who asked not to be named, admitted that agro-chemicals used on the plantation are toxic.

"Agro-chemicals are toxic. Indeed, they have side effects and can cause damage to certain enzymes in the human body, that is why we carry out routine enzyme tests on the workers," the doctor said.

He said monitoring is a regular activity to determine the amount of toxins in the body, and they provide good food for the workers who go out to spray the bananas.

According to the doctor, they practise occupational and preventive medicine and they haven't received any horrible cases.

"Our medical budget has risen sharply from a mere 500.000 francs cfa to 1.6 billion francs cfa. However, much has to be done. The CDC medical sector treats the whole of Tiko and we know that workers still live in one-room houses with sometimes dozens of dependents," the doctor said.

Formic, Ammonia

Jacob Ndifon, a laboratory technician at the Tiko Rubber Factory, said they use water, formic acid and ammonia at different stages of processing to coagulate rubber latex.

"Thereafter, we use canalisation to degrade and dispose of the waste from the rubber factory," Ndifon told The Green Vision.

Meanwhile, the CDC Industrial Unit Manager, Balgah Walters, refuted allegations from fishermen along the coast of Tiko who say the drop in their catch recently has been caused by the discharge of "toxic" effluent from the rubber factory into nature without being treated.

"The CDC has four treatment ponds behind the factory which treat the effluent before it is discharged into nature," Balgah said to The Green Vision.

He added, "The last pond has marine lives such as birds, plants and fish. These species live freely in this water. The essence of breeding these species is to be sure that by the time this water is leaving the fourth pond, it is harmless to marine live."

Reacting to a scientific study which proved that the treatment ponds exist but most often are not functional, the Industrial Unit Manager said "every industrial unit is bound to have breakdowns. This could happen occasionally if there is a burnt electric motor and the effluent is pushed directly out, but once this damage occurs, the canals are immediately fixed."

Responding to why only the Tiko factory has a waste treatment point, Balgah said, "I wouldn't know if those factories don't have treatment points because I have never worked there. But I believe they would have their own small schemes to treat waste before sending it out."

According to Balgah, in the past, CDC could have experienced problems with regards to its waste management.

"But for the six years that I have been at the helm of the Rubber Processing Factory, we have taken care of our immediate environment," he said.

"The Ministry of Environment visits the factory quarterly to be sure that we toe the line of environmental protection and cleaning," he added.

Responding to concerns raised about the fetid smell that oozes from the rubber factory, which usually engulfs the town and leaves the inhabitants nauseous, Balgah was quick to say that he does not think the smell has any health impact on the workers.

"Because for the number of years they have been working, they have not had any health problems," he said.

He said most often when the factory workers are given nose masks, they refuse to wear them because according to them it disturbs.

"Rubber is a natural product, so the smell from it is natural. Workers even eat while working even though they have been prohibited not to do so," Balgah said.

 

Published in The Green Vision Newspaper

03 July 2013

ERuDeF trains YAN interns in online communications

Posted in News, Views 1381

Bessinula Emmanuel and Suh Ruth at work

Two students Bessinula Emmanuel, 17 and Suh Ruth, 16 from the Youth Advocacy Network (YAN) have expressed satisfaction after their one-month internship on online communication with the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). Emmanuel and Ruth all promoted to Upper-sixth in Bilingual Grammar School, Buea and Government High School Buea Town respectively were in ERuDeF to put into practice online communication skills acquired at YAN.

In an interview with these two students, they said when coming to ERuDeF, they had as objectives to know how an NGO such as ERuDeF operates, gain skills as well as put into practice online communication skills gained in YAN. Some of these include creating blogs, E-mails, Facebook accounts, podcasts and videos involving interviews.

As a result of their effort to attain these objectives, they had achievements like satisfaction from carrying out research, writing news articles knowing how ERuDeF works, creating email addresses and Facebook pages. Equally they interns testified of now having an edge over their peers as they are now computer literate and can conduct interviews.

The students Ruth and Emmanuel in turn appreciated the Youth Advocacy Network Fellows Josh Nathan and Clara Rowe for leading them into ERuDeF where they have gained skills in e-communication. They urged YAN to continue training young people and linking them to organizations where they could put skills learn into practice.

In the same way the students extended the appreciation to the host organization ERuDeF for the supervision, attention and support showed them while they journeyed through this internship. They added that ERuDeF should give more opportunities to young leaders to get to know issues affecting the environment and how to conserve the environment.

The Youth Advocacy Network is an American NGO that works to enhance the underprivileged by teaching leadership and technology skills to students.

02 July 2013

National Environmental News

Posted in News, Views 1415

Chinese Nabbed With Protected Animal Parts

 

The Post Newspaper (Issue No: 01434 of Monday, June 03, 2013) welcomed the month of June with updates of the story of a Chinese, Wei Tao, and two Cameroonians, Elvis Theze Njangwe and Harrison Azie, arrested by Customs officials at Limbe Port on Friday, April 26 in position of seven sacks of pangolin scales. According to the paper, these wildlife traffickers are facing trial at the Limbe Magistrate Court. The Cameroon 1994 wildlife law states that any person caught with a live, dead animal or any part of a class 'A' animal like the Pangolin is liable to a jail term of 1 to 3 years or a fine of 3 Million francs cfa ( $6000) and above.

 

Divisional Delegate for Water and Energy Indicted for Granting Illegal Exploitation Permit

 

The Chronicle Newspaper (Issue No 347 of June 4, 2013) reported how the Momo Divisional Delegate for Water and Energy, NW Cameroon, Mr. Asanghanwa Jonathan, was indicted early this month by the inhabitants of this division for granting sand-extraction permit to one business magnate, Fon Kenedy from a neighbouring village. This according to the indigenes of this locality is contrary to article 26 of the mining code-forbidding an individual from occupying a mining area of more than 400 m. They are therefore challenging Fon Kenedy in court to reverse the decision given that it was going to cause lots of joblessness amongst youth in that division.

 

Untapped Touristic Potentials of NW Cameeroon

 

The Eden Newspaper (Issue No 789 of June 3, 2013) quoting the Cameroon minister of Tourism and Leisure, Belo Bouba Maigari during his visit to Bamenda recently, reported that the rich cultural diversity and blooming hilly topography of Northwest Cameroon, intertwined with patches ancestral forest, remain the region's "untapped touristic potentials". According to the Minister, the potentials if harnessed could attract thousands of tourists yearning to have leisure in Cameroon.

 

Herakles' Decision to Halt Activities in Cameroon Reversed

 

The Eden Newspaper (issue No 791 of June 10, 2013) told the story of how the Cameroon government through the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife has authorized A New York venture capital firm, Herakles Farm, to proceed with her activities of clearing forest and planting of palms. The authorization comes barely one month after the government had ordered the company to halt its activities to give it time to review the "public usefulness" of the company's activities to the community. With no specific reason advanced for the sudden change of decision, many civil society organisations in the country have termed this action of the government "incomprehensible"

 

World Environment Day; a call for the Sustainable Management of Resources

 

The World Environment Day June 5, 2013 is another very important event that greeted newspaper stands and media houses in Cameroon in the month of June. The Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) just like many other media houses in the country reported how the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in collaboration with the Southwest Regional Delegation of Environment, planted trees at the University of Buea. Drawing inspiration from this year's theme: "think, eat and save" there was a round table conference on CRTV, drama, sketches and other presentation to sensitize the public on the need to sustainably manage natural resources. According to media reports, similar activities were carried out in all ten regions of the country to mark this day.

 

Yaounde hosts International Mining Conference

 

Just like The Chronicle Newspaper (Issue No 347 of June 4, 2013), the country's bilingual daily, Cameroon Tribune (Issue 10355/6556 of Wednesday June 5, 2013) gave a panoramic view of the resolutions arrived at during Yaounde International mining Conference of May 29-30, 2013. Some of the resolutions include making Cameroon a mining destination for Africa, meeting in Yaounde after every two years to review the mining situation of Africa most especially Cameroon. Being the first of its kind to be hosted in Cameroon, the conference served as an opportunity for International investors, mining experts, directors of financial institutions, Cameroon Decision makers, development partners and other stakeholders in the mining industry to work out a road map for the Cameroon mining industry.

Compiled by Bertrand S. Ndimuh

02 July 2013

The Environment in the Cameroon Press, June 2013

Posted in News, Views 1626

National News

Cameroonian Journalist Wins African Climate Change Reporting Award

 

The Eden Newspaper (issue No. 789 of Monday June 3, 2013) opens its door to environmental news for the month of June with an article on how one of theirs, Elias Ngalame emerged amongst the 10 best African Journalist for the 2013 African Climate Change and Environmental Reporting Award. Elias Ngalamen won this award from an article he wrote titled; "Community Radio Helps Cameroonian Track Climate Change". The award according to the newspaper has earned Mr. Ngalame a short scholarship to London to advance his skills on Climate Change issues.

 

Ammunition Seized from Suspected Elephant Poacher in East Cameroon

 

The post (Issue No 01439 of Monaday June 17, 2013) again told the story of how forest rangers near the Boumba-bek National Park in the East Region of Cameroon last May 2013 seized a K 47 (Kalashnikov) war gun, including 70 bullets from a suspected elephant poacher, who escaped abandoning his weapons. This edition of the paper noted that at least five of such guns have been seized suspected poachers and 30 elephants killed in this area since the start of 2013.

 

The Birth of Cameroon's Pioneer Environmental Newspaper; The Green Vision

 

One of the most talked about events that spiced the news content of both the audio-visual and print media in Cameroon was the launch of one of the pioneer environmental medium-The Green Vision Newspaper. The paper was launched by one of the country's leading conservation NGO, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). Launched on June 17, 2013, The Star Newspaper (Issue No: 245 of June 24, 2013) citing the CEO/President of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, who doubles as the Executive Editor of the Newspaper, said the birth of this newspaper is to draw public attention to the dangers of human action on the environment most especially deforestation. One of Cameroon's leading private television, the Spectrum Television (STV) just like other community radio stations in Southwest Cameroon, quoted Louis Nkembi saying that the newspaper will aid in investigating issues on poor environmental governance, tracking environmental budget and ensuring that irresponsible officers are brought to book. The paper is charged with bringing timely information about the country's mountain, floods, eruption and Cameroon's compliance to international treaties. This maiden edition of the paper carried headlines like; "Post-mortem of CDC's Use of Toxic Chemicals", "Cross River Gorillas at Cross road", "Government Deserts Wabane Landslide Victims", "The Death of Bakundu Forest Reserve", "Restoring Mt Bamboutos Through Access and Benefit Sharing" and many others

 

Flood Feared In Far North Cameroon

 

The Post Newspaper (Issue No 01441 of Monday, June 24, 2013) took us to the far North Region of Cameroon where the Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, Pierre Hele, enjoined the technical services of the Regional Delegations of Forestry and Wildlife, in charge of preserving the forest ecosystem, to stop the abusive felling of trees for firewood in the region. He made this call while presiding over celebrations to mark the 19th edition of the World Day to Combat Desertification in that part of the region, noted for its extreme climatic conditions of drought in the dry season and floods in the rainy season. The minister expressed fear that the water from the river that separates Chad from Cameroon, has shifted more to Cameroonian territory and may have devastating effect on the population with the advent of the rains.

 

African Heads of States Pledge Fight Piracy in the Rich-Biodiversity Gulf of Guinea

 

The first ever African Summit on maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea, which took place at Cameroon's administrative head quarter, Yaounde (June 24-25, 2013), is what rounded off the environmental news column of many if not all media houses in the country for the month of June. Cameroon Tribue (issue No: 10369/6570 of Tuesday June 25, 2013), disclosed that the 13 African Head of States for the summit, reaffirmed their commitments to fight against arm rubbery, piracy and other illicit practices at sea. This according to the newspaper, came against the back drop of the fact that the International Maritime Organization recorded197 attacks in the Gulf of Guinea between 2009 and 2013. Meanwhile the state media, the Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV) just like The Post, Eden and others, beside the recommendations arrived at during the Summit, highlighted the richness of the Gulf of Guinea in term of natural resources like forest resources, fish, gas and crude oil amongst others.

COMPILED BY NDIMUH B. SHANCHO

02 July 2013

Taiwan’s Aid Supporting Conservation in Cameroon

Posted in News, Views 1478

On April 12, 2004 the world woke up with breaking news that another sub-population of the Cross River gorillas has been discovered in a hitherto unknown forest location and further unknown local conservation organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). This breaking news came at a time when the major conservation players in the Cameroon-Nigeria border region (WCS, WWF, FFI etc) were actively engaged in the survey of the remaining fragmented forest patches in this border region in search of new sub populations of the Cross River gorillas.

The Cross River Gorillas are the most critically endangered primates in Africa and one of the 25 world most endangered wildlife species. With a population of just about 300 individuals in the wild, there was and there is still a 'man hunt' for the sub-populations of these gorillas.

The entry of Taiwan's Forestry Bureau/Conservation Division in Cameroon in 2004 was the start of a long journey of conservation support in Cameroon by the Government of Taiwan. This support came at a critical time to fill the gap of limited international funding to support the great apes conservation program in the newly established Lebialem Highlands Great Apes Conservation Program in South West Cameroon. This annual funding that has continued up till 2013 continues to provide timely support to keep the conservation program.

The outcomes of the Taiwan's conservation support in Cameroon have been primarily focused in the Lebialem Highlands of South West Cameroon. These include but not limited to;

In 2004/2005, Taiwan's support led to the new discovery of new sub-populations of the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee and extended the knowledge of its distribution in Cameroon. In this regard, three new sites namely the Tofala, Mak-Betchou and Nkingkwa Hill forests were identified. Given this new distribution map, and the role ERuDeF was playing, the major actors in the Nigeria-Cameroon border region resolved to invite ERuDeF to become an active member of the Nigeria-Cameroon Cross River Gorilla Conservation Group. This major success in 2006 caused the Lebialem conservation site to be included into in to the IUCN published Nigeria-Cameroon Cross River Gorilla Action Plan.

In 2007/2008, further support from Taiwan was critical in the establishment of the genetic Corridor linking the Tofala gorillas with those of the Takamanda-Mone Forests. From 2009 through 2011,Taiwan's conservation support was also important in the final establishment of the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex. This Complex is comprised of six proposed conservation sites including the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, proposed Mt Bamboutos Integral Ecological Reserve, the designated Tofala Mone Wildlife Corridor, Mak-Betchou proposed Wildlife Sanctuary, Nkingkwa Hill Forest and the Nyi-tebongFuagonkem Hills Reserve.

In 2010, with funding from Taiwan and other partners, ERuDeF launched the process of assisting the government of Cameroon to create the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. This process is continuing and is expected to be completed in 2013 with a Prime Ministerial Decree.

Besides the active support of conservation process, Taiwan's support has also gone to support the biological monitoring of the great apes populations across the Tofala-Mone proposed wildlife Corridor, the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mak-Betchou forest. Bio-monitoring is critical in providing important updates on the status and distribution of gorillas and Chimpanzees to support government action. Taiwan's support has also been important in building the human resource capacity of some young Cameroonians. Two of ERuDeF's staff are currently pursuing a Ph.D in primates conservation, a further third had earlier completed with an M.Sc in Primates Conservation. The Environmental Education Program has been strengthened in schools with the creation of school clubs and networks as well as the school's environmental newsletter.

Finally, the Livelihoods and Economic Development Program has continued to receive an annual booster with support from Taiwan. Many income generating projects have been supported and most especially the livestock, agroforestry and the palm oil mills.

The Taiwan's Aid to Cameroon has been continuous with a firm commitment to support the long-term conservation of Cross River gorillas and Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees in Western Cameroon.

By Louis Nkembi and Regina Leke

02 July 2013

Trees for the Future donates over 350.000 seeds of agroforestry to farmers in Bangem village

Posted in News, Views 1135

Over 350.000 agroforestry species of Leucaena, Acacia, Calliandra, Moringa, and Jatropha have been distributed to 50 Farmers belonging to 50 farming groups in Bangem Sub Division-South West Region of Cameroon.

 

This was during a three day capacity building workshop and tree planting exercise, which took place recently in the Ekambeng, Bangem and Mboku communities. Organized by Trees for the Future Cameroon, these farmers, 20 from Ekambeng Village, 17 Bangem and 18 from Mboku were schooled on the role of tree planting in the mitigation of climate change, the use of plant biomass and agro-forestry technology in improving soil fertility. They were also trained on nursery establishment and composting techniques.

To ensure a better understanding of what had been taught, the farmers were after the workshop taken to some farmlands around the area for an on-farm demonstration. After demonstrating to the farmers how plant biomass and agro-forestry technology could be used to increase farm yields, and training them on nursery establishment and composting techniques, they were given seeds of nitrogen fixing tree species and over 350000 seeds of to nurse for posterity. This move according to the TREESs Cameroon Agroforestry Assistant, Ms Tata is to divert farmer's attention from the rather unhealthy method of farming characterized by the excess use of chemical fertilizer and to improve on degraded soil fertilizer.

The farmers these 3 communities received this technology with joy. Many of the farmers confessed that it will go a long way to improve upon their livelihoods. The Treasurer of Young Farmer's Common Initiative Group (CIG) Ekambeng, Mr. Thomas Enongene, just like many other farmers in these communities, said the money which they used to spend on chemical fertilizers, will be diverted to other developmental activities. The president of the Struggling Hands CIG, Bangem, Mr. Primose Kang, who doubles as councilor of the Bangem Council, also revealed that this new farming technology will lead to an increase in farmer's income. He equally complained of the increasing degradation of watersheds in the Bangem Subdivision. He hoped that the planting of these trees would help to protect these water sheds

Reacting to these, the Trees for the Future Cameroon Agroforestry Assistant attributed the degradation of watersheds in this area to the planting of non agro-forestry tree species like the Eucalyptus tree. Ms. Tata promised to extend this sensitization exercise on the importance of agro-forestry technology to primary and secondary schools in the Subdivision. Meanwhile plans are underway to train the people of these communities on transplanting techniques, simple book keeping and the use of plant biomass to improve soil fertility.

By Limbi Blessing T.

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