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06 August 2013

Over 2000 seeds of threatened Afrostyrax lepidophyllus collected at Mt Etinde for propagation

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seeds of Afrostyrax lepidophyllus collected at Mt Etinde

In an effort to restore the population of the threatened plant Afrostyrax lepidophyllus, a team from the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has collected over 2000 seeds of the plant commonly referred to as "country onion". These seeds were collected at the Mt Cameroon area precisely at the foot of the Mt Etinde, a volcano situated on the southwestern flank of the large Mt Cameroon. Seeds of this species were collected in mid- July by a team of Foresters working for the Mt Cameroon threatened Trees Project supported by UK Charity Fauna and Flora International (FFI) under the Global Tree Campaign Program. The seeds would be propagated at the ERuDeF Central Tree Nursery in Buea and in the recently created community nurseries in Bafia, Bakingili, Bomana and Bova I. They will later be distributed to the communities for planting in their farms. It is hoped that through this initiative, not only will threatened tree species population be restored, but the incomes of these communities will increase as the seeds which are used as a condiment will be harvested and sold by these communities to generate income. "Country onion" as this plant is locally called is a sought after product used in the Cameroonian and Central African cuisine. It is a condiment used to prepare many sumptuous and popular meals such as "Ekwang". The aroma gotten from this ingredient always leaves many wanting for more.

Every year during the months of July and August when the afrostyrax lepidophyllus starts fruiting, ERuDeF staff working for this project go to the foot of the mountain to collect the seeds. Not even the rains this year could stop the team as they went about collecting the seeds.

The Afrostyrax lepidophyllus was first identified at the foot hills of the Mt Etinde during a threatened tree survey in 2007 after several failed attempts. Since its identification, ERuDeF has been collecting them and propagating them in nurseries. This year, a community member Ekwalla Samuel joined the team and served as a guide into the forest. Upon identification of a tree, the team spread around the bottom of the tree searching for the little brown seeds on the forest floor. These seeds were not easily distinguished given the dark nature of the forest, however, looking keenly these little brown seeds were picked.

Afrostyrax lepidophyllus is a species of plant in the Huaceae family. It is found in Cameroon, Gabon, and Ghana. It is threatened by habitat loss. The bark extract of Afrostyrax lepidophyllus has shown pesticidal activity against nematodes and arthropods, including insecticide-resistant strains of lice and blowflies. They are found in areas of wet evergreen forest. Their major threats include forest conversion into a commercial plantation and in some cases mining activities has destroyed areas of forest. According to the IUCN Red List Classification, this plant is vulnerable.

By Asa'a Lemawah

06 August 2013

The Divisional Classification Commission held in Menji

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Towards full protection of proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

The Tofala Forest, soon to be a full protected area

The Southwest Region of Cameroon might just be at the verge of having another protected area, christened the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. The process is just two steps away following the last Divisional Classification meeting that held in Menji, chief town of the Lebialem Division on Tuesday July 23, 2013.

According to Messie Anicet Charley, Representative of the Director in charge of Wildlife and Protected Areas in the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, this is the last major stage at the level of the region towards the classification of a sanctuary. After this stage, the file is forwarded to the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife who will go through the file and submit to the Prime Minister's office for final declaration of the area as protected by the State.

The Divisional Classification Commission meeting was chaired by the Senior Divisional Officer for Lebialem, Mr. Kouemo Simon. It brought together stakeholders from the lead Ministry in the sanctuary creation process, the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, MINFOF, different traditional authorities, elites of the forest adjacent communities, collaborating government Ministries, other administrative authorities and the general population of Lebialem.

The meeting was crucial given that it is one of the final stages in the process of creating protected areas in Cameroon. Stakeholders attending the meeting reviewed twenty petitions that had been submitted by the people following the publication of the public Notice of on November 2, 2011. The South West Regional Delegate for Forestry Mr. Ebai Eben Samuel, indicated that Researchers drew the attention of the government to the conservation importance of the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in 2004. Mr. Ebai explained that given the cumbersome nature following up these processes, the government usually works with technical partners to ensure protection. He quoted the examples of Takamanda, Korup, the Kupe, Mbanyang-mbo sanctuaries, whose creation was technically supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). He made it clear that with the case of Tofala, it is the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) which has been technically assisting the government. He insisted that the creation of protected area is not an ERuDeF thing but the initiative of the government.

In his opening word, the SDO highlighted some international conventions on the protection of the environment which Cameroon has ratified. By ratifying these, he said, the government has a duty to respect these conventions by protecting some species like the Cross River Gorrila, the Nigeria Cameroon chimpanzee and other threatened species which are hosted in the Lebialem Division. He went on to say that, even if these apes were not present, the area in question is a major watershed and should be protected to save the entire area of imminent droughts and other environmental hazards in the future. Lebialem, he added is the only Division in the South West region without a protected area and because of this, they are losing out on many benefits which accrue from tourism. He enjoined the people to support this laudable process.

After the presentation of the petitions, four of which came from Alou Sub division and 16 from Wabane Sub division participants posed different questions. Key amongst these questions was how the issue of farmlands within and around the protected area was going to be handled. At the end of the day, the basic resolution on this issue was that the management plan which will be developed after the creation of the sanctuary will actively involve the participation of the people. Other resolutions which were agreed upon and signed by all statutory members present were that the existing relationship amongst the administration, local populations and technical partners should be improved upon to ensure proper communication amongst the stakeholders. Most important of all, participants resolved that the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary classification file should be forwarded to MINFOF for onward transmission to the Prime Minister's office for the eventual classification of the sanctuary.

Traditional Rulers present said that there was need for continuous sensitization even after this meeting. They were of the opinion that they will do their bit talking to the people about the importance of the sanctuary.

Just to note that the legal procedure for creating protected areas in Cameroon stems from the ministerial decision No1354/D/MINEF/CAB of 26th November 1999. It is a six-step process that begins with submission of a case file to the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife which is the technical note. After judging that there is enough evidence and confirmation of the existence of threatened species in the area a public notice is put up clearly showing the boundaries of the proposed sanctuary. A sensitization meeting is held to sensitize the elites, local administration and traditional authorities on the intention of the government to create such a thing in their area. Then village to village sensitization meetings are organized to inform the people of this intention. After the publication of the public notice, the people have thirty days to react. All of these have been done by the Technical partner, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in collaboration with the Cameroon government. The Divisional classification meeting is therefore the last meeting at the level of Division after which the file will be submitted to the Minister of Forestry and then to the Prime Minister for final proclamation of Tofala as a full protected zone.

By Ita Nawom

06 August 2013

The Environment and Sustainable Development in the Cameroon Press

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A Review of over 15 Media organs in Cameroon on what is making news on the environment

Standards for Best NGOs Practice in Cameroon

Most media houses in Cameroon ushered in the month of July with reports on some standards set aside by 25 Non-profit Organizations (NGOs) as basis for any ideal NGO practice in the country. These standards according to state-owned Cameroon Radio and Television, Ocean City Radio, The Post Newspaper (No: 01443 Monday, July 01, 2013) and other local media included; governance, sustainability and management. Governance according to these media houses means the NGO must first be registered with the State, be non-profit making, have a Board of Directors, an Executive organ with a head, a constitution and articles of association. It must also have a physical office and not hide in a suit case; must have a bank account in the institution's name and has co-signatories for transparency purposes, among others. In terms of best management practices, the media said that such an NGO must, among other things, have a good organisational structure, proof of beneficiary satisfaction etc. These standards according to the media, were set aside June 25, 2013 during a-one-day working session in Limbe organised by The World Wide Fund for Nature's Coastal Forests Programme (WWF-CFP)-a session, which the CEO of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Louis Nkembi said came at the right moment.

Cameroon, China Identified Environment and Sustainable Development Projects

The Post Newspaper in her maiden edition for the month of July (No; 01443 Monday, July 01, 2013), reported the story of some priority sustainable development projects in the country identified by the Cameroonian and Chinese governments during a workshop organised recently by World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF. The projects according to the paper include; Enhancing forest management and protection of nature, increasing corporate social responsibility in extractive operations and related infrastructures, and increasing corporations on renewable energy. The paper stated that Chinese government has recognised the challenges of environmental problems linked to economic development in Cameroon and will thus share experience on ecosystem and natural capital management with the country because "it is the basis for a sustainable development agenda". The post Newspaper further revealed that this relationship according to experts, is much needed for Africa's economic development, as only sustainable development will ensure food, clean energy, water supply for all, and the protection of natural resources upon which millions of people depend for their livelihoods.

African mining experts seek ways to fight longstanding foreign exploitation

Mining Contract Manual Harmonized

Cameroon's lone bilingual daily, The Cameroon Tribune (Issue No: 10377/6578 Fiday 05 July, 2013) took us to the Country's Administrative headquarter, Yaoundé, where mining experts from some six African Countries including Liberia, Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Cameroon met, July 4-5, and produced a harmonized mining contract manual that will henceforth govern mining exploration in the continent. This meeting according to this paper and other media reports came against the backdrop of the inexperience with which countries in the continent go to the negotiating table with mining companies for exploration and production, often disfavouring the countries and their population. The paper stated that these African countries were positive that with the unique/harmonised mining contract negotiation manual, the continent's seemingly weak mining institutions and governance which often plunge its blessings into "natural resource curse" will belong to history.

The paper cited participants at the workshop like Melvin Sheriff from Liberia, Fui Tsikata from Ghana and Jill Howieson from Australia as saying that "there is need to federate effort in this sector so that foreign investors do not continue to feed fat on the continent's sub oil while its population languish in abject poverty".

$1.7 million Allocated for the Sustainable development of the Bakossi/Bayang Mbo wildlife sanctuary

Another event that animated most media houses and newsstands in the country, was the Limbe July 3-4 Project Inception Workshop which saw the allocation of 1.7 million US dollars (approximately FCFA 850 million) for the sustainable development of the Bakossi/Bayang Mbo wildlife sanctuary. The state media, the Cameroon Radio and Television(CRTV), just like The Green Vision Newspaper, The Post Newspaper, Spectrum Television (STV) reported that the Bakossi Landscape that covers the Kupe Muanenguba and the Bayang Mbo area are habitats for some of the most endangered species such as the Cross River Gorilla and chimpanzees and equally harbours lots of high value fauna and flora. Bringing together experts from the Ministry of the Environment, representatives of international funding and support partners like: Adamou Bouhari of the United Nations Environment Programme, Rob Brett of the Fauna and Flora International, FFI, a representative of the, GEF, CHEDE and the Buea-based Environmental NGO, ERuDeF, local chiefs, representatives from WWF and Herakles Farms the project according to these media houses, was conceived to see how farming in this area can be made sustainable while mainstreaming and effectively conserving the rich biodiversity of the area.

Gorilla Habituation to Go Operational in southeast of Cameroon

The Post Newspaper (issue No: 01444 Friday, July 05, 2013) reported that the Chief Coordinator, Network Priority Places/Species Team, WWF Japan Naobi Okayasu, said that they have identified a group of gorillas with high potentials for habituation in the Lobeke National Park-southeast Cameroon. The identification according to this paper started in April 2013 and continued through May 2013 as the team went visiting the Petite Savane, and Djangui forest clearings and Djembe base camps of the park. The paper added that during one of such outings, May 24 2013, the team came across "this same group of six gorillas on the same spot and approached them as close as 30 metres, but the apes did not flee, which is a good sign for a possible habituation. The paper disclosed that the network has put in place a team of three people to further track the gorillas for three months beginning June 2013.

. Trans-Border Anti-Poaching Squad Created for Sangha Tri-national Sanctuary

The focus of most media houses especially in the Francophone regions of the country, during the second week of July, was the putting in place of a tri-national anti-poaching brigade to fight wildlife criminals in the 7.5 million hectares Sangha Tri-National Sanctuary (TNS) that spans across Cameroon, the Central Africa Republic, and Congo (Brazzaville). This according to Canal2 Television ,The Post Newspaper (Issue No: 01445 Monday, July 08, 2013) and many other media, was revealed by the Executive Manager of TNS, Dr. Timothée Fometé Nembot, during a recent press conference in Yaounde that marked the end of a Board meeting of TNS. The putting in place of this brigade as the media revealed, was necessary to neutralise trans-border trafficking and massive poaching in the Sangha Sanctuary rich in cultural and exceptional natural biodiversity including "a huge population of forest elephants and western lowland gorillas and chimpanzees amongst others. The Post Newspaper further disclosed that over 26 forest elephants were killed in the Dzanga Bai clearing last year calling on the state and its partners "to react with all the force in the face of this crisis"

Villages Receive Second Mt. Cameroon National Park Boundary Payments

CRTV Buea Regional station just like The Post (01445Monday, July 08, 2013) and many others told the story of how some seven villages in the West Coast and Limbe II Subdivisions including Batoke, Etome, Lower Boando, Bakingili, Njongi, Bibunde and Sanje, July 6, received the balance payments amounting to FCFA 3,080,000 for clearing and re-opening of a 44-km line demarcating the Mount Cameroon National Park, MCNP, from the villages.

The payments exercise took place under the auspices of the Southwest Regional Chief of Service in Charge of Wildlife and Protected Areas at the Regional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF), Joseph Nono. According to these media houses, this served as an avenue for MINFOF officials to beseech the villager to avoid taking their farms closer to the boundary and to stop hunting in the Mt Cameroon area given that it is extremely rich in plant and animal species such as the elephant, chimpanzee and a variety of monkeys.

Meanwhile the traditional authorities of all seven villages expressed happiness with the payments, saying the second payments further gives them hope and trust in the whole project of making Mt Cameroon a National Park for the benefit of all.

The Cameroon Media and Environmental Reporting

The Star Newspaper ( issue No 257July Monday 8, 2013) took us to the world of environmental reporting in the country. The paper said although Cameroon is regarded as developed and free, environmental reporting is far from being developed in the country. The paper revealed that until the launch of the Green Vision Newspaper by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), June 17, 2013, the country was without any specialised medium on environmental issues. The paper attributed this to lack of access to vital environmental information and basic skill about environmental reporting given the fact that Cameroonian Journalists are trained mostly on conventional journalism. This, according to the paper, is such that even the few environmental issues reported often have "obscure or unambiguous environmental information which turn to confuse the readership the more.

3 Face Trial for Killing Gorillas

The Post Newspaper (Issue No: 01447 Monday, July 15, 2013) took us to Eastern Cameroon where some three Cameroonians suspected of killing three gorillas, in the village of Ntam in Ngoyla Subdivision were arrested, June 19, 2013, by forest rangers working at the Nki National Park in that region. The paper said the suspects are currently detained in a prison in Abong Mbang in the East Region.

According to this newspaper, gorilla is Class A protected species, and going by the 1994 Cameroon Wildlife Law, if the suspects are found guilty, they could face up to three years imprisonment and or a fine ranging between FCFA 3 to 10 million. Meanwhile an estimated 2,500 gorillas are said to be in the Nki National Park and 2,000 more in the Ngoyla-Mintom Forest Block adjoining the Park.

Book on Marine Environmental Care launched

The launch of an environmental book, "Marine Environmental Care", by Nsahilai Athanasius-a seasoned Cameroonian Marine Administrator in the country, was another event that greeted many media houses in the country. Prefaced by the Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, Hele Pierre, the book, according The Star Newspaper (issue No 257, July Monday 8, 2013) comes to challenge individuals, civil societies, industries, maritime companies, academic institutions and government establishment to join in combating pollution especially marine pollution from land based and other sources. The 12-chapter book is in recognition of today's industrial globalization and the need to develop pollution prevention and waste management programs so as to bring environmental compliance.

Herakles farm in trouble again!

NGOs petition against Herakles' land grabbing

The Recorder Newspaper (Issue No: 048 Thurday July 11, 2013) brought us back to the land grabbing saga of a-US-owned palm oil firm, Herakles Farms. The paper said some two Cameroonian Civil Society groups; the Centre for Environmental Development (CED) and the Network for the Fight against Hunger (RELUFA), June 13, 2013, handed over a letter to the US government calling on them to investigate into the land acquisition and forest activities of Herakles Farms. This petition according to the report, came after persistent complaint from the local people about practices of this firm, which have deprived them of thousands hectares of their forest land. Citing CED Coordinator, Samuel Nguiffo, the paper disclosed that the petition falls within the legal frame work of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which states that international investors carry out better policies to improve the livelihood of the population, and not destroy it. The paper added that the practice also goes against the law of both the United States and the Cameroon governments.

500 Hectares of Land Allocated to Flood Victims in Far North Cameroon

The State-owned bilingual daily, Cameroon Tribune (Issue No: 10381/6582, Thursday July 11, 2013) reported how the Cameroon government has allocated some 500 hectares of land for the 2012 flood victims in Gobo, Kai-kai and Yagoua localities in that region. This decision is aimed at permanently removing these victims from the risk zones. The decision was reached on July 8, 2013, after an evaluation meeting by the Crises Committee, which took place under the auspices of Far North Regional Governor, Augustine Fonka Awa.

Projects Underway to Boost Cameroon's Tourism/Wood Sector

The Cameroon Tribune (Issue No: 1038/6582 Thursday 11, 2013) disclosed that the Cameroon government and the world Bank Group are working toward reconstructing an over $ 30 million (15.3 Billion Franc) value chain project that will render the country's economy more competitive. The project which also seeks to boost the country's economic growth, reduce poverty and improve on standards of living mostly concerns the Tourism and Wood sector of the country. With its 20 million hectares of forest, Cameroon is reportedly second to DR. Congo and counts well over 300 wood species in its thick and vast forests.

Limbe Flood Carries away one, Renders Many Homeless!

On a rather tragic note, The Post (Issue No: 01447Monday, July 15, 2013) joined the Eden Newspaper and The Star Newspaper amongst local radio stations in Buea to report how a flood in Limbe-Chief Town of Fako Division-Southwest Cameroon carried away a 9-year-old boy and rendered inhabitants of some three neighbourhoods (Mbonjo, Motowo and Jengele) in the area homeless. These newspapers reported that the flood, which occurred in the first week of July, came after hours of heavy down pour.

Most media houses in the country attributed the flood to the topography of Limbe adding that "Limbe is a basin so those residing atop the hills, dump all their waste downwards, such that those living at the bottom suffer". As to what government is doing to resolve this crisis, The Post Newspaper reported that the Limbe City Council is planning to demolish houses built on water ways. According to other media reports, this is the third time Limbe is been affected by flood (1990, 2001 and 2013).

Water Crises Persist in Buea-Southwest Cameroon

The post (Issue No 01448Friday July 19, 2013) rounded off their environmental column for the month with the Buea water crisis. The paper reported that Buea residents are facing worsening water crises than ever before and that the country's water management body has resorted to rationing water. The paper said in spite of this measure some neighbourhoods in this metropolis have gone for almost a year now without a drop of water flowing in their homes with taps growing rusty. This is such that the people largely depend on run-off from rain for home uses meanwhile statistic from the ministry of water and energy indicate that only 3% of Cameroon's 20 million people have access to clean water. This they attribute to ageing infrastructure.

Cameroon Fish Highly Contaminated with Mercury

The second edition of The Green Vision Newspaper rounded off the month with an article on the fish eaten in Cameroon not being too safe. According to this Newspaper, a scientific study conducted by experts from the Biodiversity Research Institute, the International POP Elimination Network et al proved that Cameroon's fish stocks are continuously being contaminated with toxic mercury waste discharged by industries in Douala in the Littoral Region. The study reveals that Douala, Cameroon's largest city and industrial hub is a mercury exposure hotspot. The study equally Medics saying human ingestion of the most poisonous form of mercury via consumption of polluted fish results in the wrecking of the immune and nervous systems. It went forth to say the Wouri estuary where most of the fishing of Douala is done is highly polluted with mercury from the various industries around.

Creation of Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary Imminent

The Green Vision Newspaper also carried a story on the imminence of a protected are in the Southwest region christened Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in the Lebialem Division. According to The Green Vision Newspaper, the creation of this Sanctuary is almost complete following a Divisional Classification meeting which held in Menji, chief town of the Lebialem Division. Stakeholders at the meeting led by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) put a cap on the case at the level of the Division and now waiting for the announcement from the Prime Minister of Cameroon.

Compiled by Ndimuh B. Shancho

06 August 2013

FFI’s Africa Program Director visits ERuDeF

Posted in News, Views 1684

Dr. Rob being interviewed by one of ERuDeF's Staff

The Director in charge of the Africa Program for the UK Charity Fauna and Flora International (FFI) has paid his first official visit to the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). Dr. Rob Brett was at the ERuDeF Head Office in Buea on July 4, 2013 where he met with a cross-section of staff working for different programs in the organization. In an interview Dr. Rob Brett said "It is very nice to be back in Cameroon. As a specialist in the conservation of Rhino I was here in 1997 in the North to advise the then Cameroon's Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MINEF) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on how to conserve the remaining species of Rhinos in Northern Cameroon. So I did a lot of work in the Benue Complex Park"

Speaking about the long standing relationship between ERuDeF and FFI, Dr. Rob Brett said the partnership between the two organizations has been very fruitful given that FFI has seen ERuDeF grow quite considerably and expand its program in recent years and "that's very encouraging to us" He added. Dr. Rob explained that the measure of FFI's success is being able to build the capacity of local implementing partners such as ERuDeF. "FFI is able to be effective when it is able to support a local partner organization to be effective itself. In fact, the measure of our success will be how well we are able to build the capacity of our local partner and enable them to be effective in their conservation objective" Dr. Rob explained.

Speaking about the future, Dr. Rob said "certainly looking ahead, ERuDeF will continue to be our main local NGO partner! We would like to continue supporting the organization and help it grow so that it can become sustainable". He said just like other partnerships FFI has with other local organizations in Africa and elsewhere in the world, what FFI is trying to focus on now is concentrating on fundraising for different programs, but at the same time, "we expect that ERuDeF at some point will be needing some core support. So the fact that ERuDeF is very diverse now means we are heading somewhere" Dr. Rob went on.

Speaking about the conservation priority for FFI, Dr. Brett said "the priority for FFI at this particular juncture is conserving species in their habitat locally important to the locality and globally important because of their uniqueness and biodiversity importance. "In the SW of Cameroon we have some fauna that is very important. FFI tries to find out what are the incentives of the forest to local people". He went on to say a large proportion of FFI's program in Africa is the conservation of forest. He explained that most of FFI's projects which include forest conservation are settled around community based management "so that's why we put much importance on local partners to find out the local incentives of the people who live closest to the forest and how we can re-enforce this" Dr. Rob Brett continued.

At the end of his stay at the ERuDeF Headquarters in Buea, Dr. Rob was feeling at home "Thank you for a very warm reception. It was my first time to be in this part of Cameroon and I get a very strong feeling that a lot of people support forest conservation in Cameroon. I think with this kind of spirit, we can be sure of saving local species for posterity. It is really the people who matter". Dr. Rob Brett was accompanied by Dr. Rob Small, the Program Manager for Agricultural landscapes and Biodiversity and Dr. Daniel Pouakouyou, the Program Manager for West and Central Africa.

By Regina Fonjia Leke

05 August 2013

Trees for the Future Cameroon donates 3500 Moringa oleifera seeds to farmers in SW Cameroon

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Trees for the Future Cameroon donates 3500 Moringa oleifera seeds to farmers in SW Cameroon

Farmers in the Southwest Region would in September this year benefit 3500 seeds of the Moringa oleifera plant from the US Charity Trees for the Future Cameroon Program. The decision comes four months after Trees for the Future Cameroon Program initially donated seeds of the plant Moringa oleifera to farmers in Southwest Cameroon and the farmers began testifying the goodness of Moringa oleifera (moringa), to their health and their families and pleading for more seeds.

The farmers were speaking recently to the Trees for the Future Cameroon SW Coordinator, Ms. B. Tata during an evaluation session in some local communities notably Ikiliwindi, Bangem, Ekambeng, and Fiango. Trees for the Future Cameroon in February sensitized these communities on the medicinal value of Moringa and gave them seeds of the plant. The farmers in turn planted these seeds and consumed the young leaves as tea. When Ms. B. Tata visited these communities four months later, she was thrilled with the testimonies she got from farmers. "Since you told us about that plant Moringa, it has become a permanent tea for my household. From that time till now, none of my children has been sick of fever and catarrh as has always been the case during rainy seasons" Mr. Kum Simon, a farmer in Ikiliwindi told Ms. B. Tata.

Another 65-year-old farmer Ma Ngoh, said that after consuming the 'Moringa tea', the frequency with which she used to fall sick reduced significantly. She noted with excitement; ''I have weeded and harvested all of my maize this year without taking a tablet thanks to that plant Moringa''.

In Bangem, just like in Ekambeng, the story is the same. "There is one of my daughters who complained frequently of fever but because of the plant Moringa, she has not visited the hospital in the last 8 weeks" said Mr. Primose Metuge, a Bangem based farmer.

A farmer from the Fiango community, Mua Bernard, on his part, revealed that he has always been losing quail birds in the past years during the transition from dry to rainy season but after incorporating Moringa leaves with quail feed, he registered just 2 deaths down from an average of 16. The Farmers now call it 'miracle stick'.

Research has shown that the nutritive content of Moringa, aids in boosting the immune system, which help fight diseases in the human body. Its leaf is the most nutritive part as it contains vitamins B, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese and protein, among other essential nutrients. The Moringa leaf contains 3 times the potassium in bananas, 7 times the vitamin C in oranges, 4 times the calcium in milk, 4 times the vitamin A in carrots, 2 times the protein in milk, 13 times more vitamin A than spinach 2,500 times more amino acids than green tea, 242 times more amino acids than an apple, 3 times the potassium found in bananas and 4 times the fiber of Oats.

According to an Author, Monica G.Marcu in one of her books "Miracle Tree", Moringa Oleifera contains more than 92 nutrients and 46 types of antioxidants. Moringa is said to cure about three hundred diseases and almost have all the vitamins found in fruits and vegetables. With all the health benefits of this miracle herb, it can easily be termed as the most nutritious herb on Earth. With all these potentials, little wonder why many have termed it "The miracle tree"

By Limbi Blessing Tata

05 August 2013

BCT micro loans helping farmers and local business people alleviate poverty

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Petit Trader says BCT micro loans makes her fruit business flourish

The Biodiversity Community Trust (BCT) is the community arm of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF)'s Forest Protection Fund (FoProF) Program. It was re-organised in 2010 to give financial support for income generating activities to forest adjacent communities as a means of reducing human pressure on the forest.

Just over two years since BCT started giving out micro loans, farmers and local business men in and around Buea, have expressed satisfaction to the quality services BCT offers and testified how BCT has helped them alleviate poverty.

They made this confession recently to the Financial Manager of BCT, Ms. Nkeng Ursula, as she went visiting projects/businesses supported by this micro-finance.

A Molyko-based Restaurant Attendant, Frida Molulu, after being with BCT for close to a year, testified; "I had some financial hardship that almost stopped me from supplying food to the University of Buea-my only source of livelihood. I turned to my bank and they said I have only a savings account and could not receive loans. However when I went to BCT, they readily gave me a loan and it was such a great relief to me". Ms. Molulu recounted.

Another business woman in Molyko, Julie Tangi, said "I like BCT because it is reliable. Each time I need to loan money, I can be sure of getting it from BCT. I have not had any difficulties in my business. So I must say thank you".

A dealer in electronics and jewelleries in Buea Town, Noah Dong, was impressed with the training and lucrative business ideas BCT gives her members. "BCT usually organizes workshop to teach us about good business ideas and besides, their interest rate is very low compared to many financial houses in the country" he added.

Another Molyko based business man, Mr. Eric Nkeng divulged that BCT is very unique from other micro-finance institutions in the country because it has the members at heart. According to him, BCT gives short term loans at very minimal interest rate and follows up to ensure that the money is used for the purpose it was intended. "A good number of friends in and around Buea have testified of the impact BCT has made in their businesses and ventures in live. If BCT should continue this way, I think many more people will get loans for income generating activities and the rate of criminality and destruction of the forest on Mt Cameroon will greatly reduce in this town" He added.

A Farmer and Fruit seller in Buea Town, Mourine Awah, lauded the institution for its trustworthiness and promised abiding by her terms of receiving loans, which is limiting her going to the forest.

Mrs Nkeng in response thanked all members for their devotedness and trust for the institution. She promised them better services and more financial aid as the days go by.

By Ndimuh B. Shancho

05 August 2013

ERuDeF donates over 60 modern bee hives and 30 pigs to farmers in Folepi Forest Block

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Modern Bee hives donated to farmers in Folepi

It has often been said that conservation cannot be done in empty stomachs, and equally for conservation to be successful, the people who live adjacent to the forest must be taken into serious consideration. It is against this background that the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has donated 60 modern bee hives and 30 pigs to farmers living in Folepi one of the villages adjacent to the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. Some 100 bee hives were donated last year to this village. The organization is giving 60 additional bee hives and 30 pigs in a bid to continuously distract the villagers from invading the forest hence guaranteeing the safety for the over 40 critically endangered Cross River Gorilla and other endangered species living in this forest. This decision is within the framework of sustainable management of the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. It comes after series of capacity building workshops last year. It is hoped that with this support, the income and wellbeing of the farmers would be improved upon and their attention shifted from the forest. This initiative will also help to move the bee farming into a semi industrial level and help boost honey production to over 500 liters, mainly for local consumption. Bee farming has proven to be a very lucrative business in the Tofala area with large swam and variety of bees regularly roaming the buffer zone of Tofala forest.

The modern bee hives fabricated by, a prominent Researcher and bee farmer Folefac Dominic in Lebialem is a model for the rest of the potential farmers. It is made using local materials, shaped into semi cone structure and sealed with spines to ease colonization. The farmers have also been trained on the fabrication of these modern hives.

It is hoped that these modern bee hives would raise the level of economic activity, income level, reduce poverty in the long term, a key Millennium Development Goal.

By Forbe Hodu

05 August 2013

ERuDeF’s Researchers sight 3 African Forest Elephants in the Mak-Betchou Forest

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Elephants foraging in the Mak-Betchou forest

Just over six weeks after Researchers working for the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) spotted two Forest African Elephants in the Mak-Betchou Forest in the Lebialem Highlands, three other Forest African elephants have come face-to-face with Researchers in the same Forest. The Researchers A. Tabi (ERuDeF) and Léo Pierre from the Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse III spotted the world's largest mammal on July 10, 2013.

The elephants, made up of two adults and one juvenile were spotted foraging on herbs found around a small stream in the forest. When first spotted, the juvenile fled but the two adult elephants stayed on and continued to forage. The Research team observed the animals for about 30 minutes before leaving the scene.

Just to note the that Mak-Betchou Forest does not only harbour the African Forest Elephants but the threatened Nigeria-Cameron chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes elloiti) and an unconfirmed presence of the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli).

These Elephants and other wildlife species are constantly faced with expanding human activities and poaching in this forest block, which if not controlled might lead to an "empty forest syndrome".

As a keystone species, elephants play a crucial role in maintaining linkages in the food web, and their extermination from their habitats may cause a cascade of change or extinctions in Mak-Betchou forest ecosystems. Evidence suggests that elephants diversify forest ecosystems when free to move.

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) and her partners will continue to fight for the survival of these large mammals. It is against this backdrop that ERuDeF is currently working with the Cameroon government towards making the Mak-Betchou Forest a complete protected area. Some of the communities closest to this forest block include Andu, Etabang, Elumba, Fotabon II, Fotabon III, Etodi, Fosongwanchen. These villages have hunters whose hunting activities remain a serious threat to the existence of these animals. This implies a strong sensitization campaign would be imperative to raise awareness on the need to protect these animals and guarantee a safe haven for them.

By Enokenwa Allen Tabi

05 August 2013

ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity Hosts Cameroon Chapter of AfroMont

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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

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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

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