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16 May 2013

Trees for the Future Cameroon in partnership with ERuDeF launch the 2013 Best Agro-forestry Farms Awards

Posted in News, Views 1086

In order to promote sustainable agriculture and reduce substantial use of chemical fertilizers in peasant farms in Cameroon, Trees for the Future Cameroon (known as TREES Cameroon) in partnership with the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, (ERuDeF) have launched the 2013 Best Agro-forestry Farms Awards. The award amounting over FCFA 3.900.000 (US$ 7800) will be given to 13 best agro-forestry farms, each per Division distributed across the Northwest, West, Littoral and Southwest Regions in December 2013. The award information was made public by the Country Director of Trees for the Future Cameroon, Louis Nkembi, recently in a chat with the officials of the Communication Department of TREES Cameroon and the Cameroon Desk Manager at Trees for the Future, Maryland USA, Benjamin Addlestone, in February 2013 during a one-week tour of their projects in the Western Highlands region of Cameroon.

This prize, Nkembi explained, will only be given to farming groups and not to individuals whose members have individually planted at least 5000 leguminous trees in their farms in the course of 2013. The Trees for the Future Country Director, Louis Nkembi, who doubles as the President/CEO of ERuDeF further revealed that the seeds and seedlings will be supplied by the organisation. Such species would include Acacia, calliandra, Leucaena, Prunus, Grevillia ETC.

The importance of this award is to encourage farmers to incorporate modern agro-forestry technologies into their farming systems and abandon the use of expensive and unhealthy chemical fertilizers costing up to (FCFA 20.000-25.000 for a 50 kg bag).

The access to improved and increasing food production has become very difficult for rural resource poor farmers, thus increasing food insecurity in the rural areas of Cameroon. It is, therefore, the mission of Trees for the Future Cameroon to fill this gap and move the Cameroon rural world along the lines of the green and sustainable economy, Nkembi added.

The overall objective of this award is to increase food security in Cameroon especially among the rural resource poor peasants.

Launched in 2013, the award would henceforth be a yearly award.

Trees for the Future is a USA-based charity working in the tropics to promote sustainable land husbandry and reduce poverty among resource poor farmers through the use of multi-purpose and fast growing agro-forestry species.

Trees for the Future began operations in Cameroon in 1990 and in 2007, it became a full Cameroon Program.

16 May 2013

MODO Partner visits Trees for the Future Cameroon Program

Posted in News, Views 1511

Ms. Francesca pose with farmers in Mendakwe, NW Cameroon.jpg

Francesca Lanaro, the Representative of the Eco glasses firm MODO has expressed satisfaction on how farmers in Cameroon are planting trees and using agroforestry technologies to improve on soil fertility, secure their water catchments and fight global warming. She was speaking in Buea on Thursday, May 8, after a one week tour of projects sites of Trees for the Future Cameroon Program.

Ms Francesca, a professional photographer was visiting Cameroon for the first time. Her mission was to tell the story through photography of how a tree grows from a tiny seed, to a seedling and then to a big tree. Her first stop was at Batoke, Limbe in the South West Region. Here, she met with the "Oneness farming group" who just incorporated tree planting.They explained that they started planting trees because they saw the face of climate change "I remember some thirty years ago Batoke used to be cold, given that we live just a few metres away from Dibuncha, a town which is the wettest in the world. In a month like May, the atmosphere would be foggy. But the scorching sun we have been witnessing lately made us to understand there was need for action. This is why we decided to start planting trees to help reduce the amount of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere" Nimbo Samuel, Coordinator of the farming group explained. Equally, the General Secretary of this farming group, Ndengue Mathias said that they are planting agroforestry species such as Acacia and Leucaena to use the leaves as natural fertilizer for their crops.

Ms Francesca later travelled to the Northwest Region of Cameroon with the Trees for the Future Cameroon and ERuDeF team. Here she met with over 50 farmers planting trees to improve on soil fertility through agroforestry technologies. In Mendakwe, a village in the Mezam Division NW Cameroon, a workshop facilitated by Trees for the Future Cameroon Program Assistant, Kingsley Neba explained the benefits of agroforestry and the various stages involved. This was followed by an on-farm demonstration on how bare root nurseries are established and seeds sown. One of the farmers, Nfongang Francis explained how beneficial tree planting has been to him "I started practicing agroforestry in 2010. I am now three years in the project, yet I am already reaping a lot of benefits. The quality of my soil has improved since I started planting Acacia, Caliandra and Leucaena. My maize and beans have since witnessed an increase. In addition to these, the leaves of these trees serve as fodder for my pig. Planting trees and incorporating agroforestry in farming has really affected my life positively"

From Mendankwen to Mankon still in the NW region of Cameroon, farmers told the same story of increased yield after using planting trees and using the leaves as natural fertilizer for their crop. A farmer Akuma Eric, said he has moved from just using the leaves of the tree to improve the quality of the soil to selling seeds to other farmers "I now have a new source of income. Other farmers who have witnessed how beneficial agroforestry has been,now come to buy seeds of Acacia, Leucaena and Caliandra. I also use the sticks as stakes for my beans. Currently I am establishing a forest of Acacia in my farm whereby I would sell the wood as timber" Mr. Eric went on.

In the West Region, Ms Francesca met with farmers who incorporated agroforestry to replace the use of chemical fertilizers on their crop. Mr. Djeukeng Phillipe explained that he has benefited a lot from planting agroforestry trees in his farm. "I now understand that using natural fertilzers such as the leaves of Acacia helps not just in increasing the quantity of my crop but quality. I am comfortable with the food I eat knowing it is free from chemicals" Mr. Phillipe went on.

After taking pictures of trees from the seeds to when they are sown and finally the matured ones, Ms Francesca had this to say "My trip to Cameroon was a very successful one. I had the opportunity to experience how a tree grows from a tiny seed, to a seedling and then to a big tree. I believe with the pictures I took, I would be able to tell the world of the great work Trees for the Future Cameroon in partnership with ERuDeF are doing".

Trees for the Future is a United States headquartered Charity that works to plant trees and improve the income of resource poor farmers. The Cameroon program Trees for the Future Cameroon was set up in 2007. It works in partnership with Cameroon based non-profit the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) to teach farmers how to plant multi-purpose trees for varied uses.

By Regina Fonjia Leke

16 May 2013

ERuDeF installs yet another Palm Oil Mill in Bechati village

Posted in News, Views 1399

Bechati people rush to catch a glimpse of newly installed mill

In an effort to continuously divert the attention of the villagers living adjacent to the forests of the Lebialem Highlands and conserve the last great apes in the Lebialem Highlands, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has installed another diesel run palm oil mill in the Bechati village. The event which brought villagers from every nook and cranny took place on Friday April 19 2013. The oil mill comes three weeks after another diesel run mill was installed in neighbouring Essoh-attah. The industrial palm oil mill with an average daily capacity of 2,000 litres of crude palm oil is designed to process both local and cheated nuts with the aim of improving on the income level and thus living standard of this forest adjacent community.

This mill it would be recalled represents an alternative source of livelihood for the people of Bechati whose village form a significant portion of the proposed Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary in the Lebialem Highlands, Western Cameroon. It is hoped that with this would divert the attention of villagers from hunting or farming in this proposed sanctuary which hosts some 40 critically endangered Cross River Gorillas and over 150 endangered Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees.

The installation ceremony was attended and supported by a cross section of youths from the village, who promised to take care of the mill and make better use of it. This mill has the ability to increase palm oil yield by about 50%. This implies that the people of Bechati will have more oil than in the past as one of the villagers explained " In the long run, I don't think there would be need to expand palm farms since small farms can give us large harvest. Equally, we have already signed conservation agreement not to intrude into forest so as to receive benefits such as the mill. I believe with such a mill in addition to other livelihoods like pigs and bee hives we have been provided we can help preserve these last species of Cross River Gorillas" the indigene concluded.

By Forbe Hodu

16 May 2013

ERuDeF Conservationist sights 2 African Forest Elephants in the Proposed Mak-Betchou Sanctuary

Posted in News, Views 1232

African Forest Elepohant

A Conservationist working for the Cameroonian Conservation Organisation, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has sighted two Forest African Elephants in the Mak-Betchou forest block, Lebialem Highlands, SW Cameroon. The Elephants grey and black were spotted on March 23, 2013, during a bio-monitoring expedition of Great Apes by this Researcher accompanied by a volunteer from Finland, Hanna-Maija Lahtinen. Visiting Africa for the first time and seeing a wild elephant for her first time, the 28-year-old Finnish Volunteer could not hide her joy in her words "I had seen an Asian elephant before, but it was tamed. Getting to see two huge African forest wild elephants in their own habitat is an experience I would never forget".

The team first spotted a fresh track of chimpanzee and started following it. After tracking this sign for over two hours, they discovered another sign as ERuDeF's Research Officer for biodiversity conservation, Asoh Bedwin explains "Initially, what we saw were signs of chimpanzees but as we tracked on, we discovered new signs which were not really for Chimpanzees. We concluded that another animal was using the track because of the many shrubs and branches of trees found on the track proving feeding of the animal. Just some few minutes later, we saw the footprints and more evident of feeding signs of an elephant. As we went on, we heard sounds of broken branches and we knew it was coming from a feeding elephant. We followed the main track quietly and realized that it was not just one elephant, given that at some point, the path diverged. As we went on behold, we spotted two huge forest elephants feeding in the opposite direction. It was such an amazing feeling to come face to face with forest elephants, seeing it go about its daily life" Ms Bedwin Asoh concluded.

It is worthy to note that unlike the Asian elephants that have been habituated with success, the African elephants have not yet been habituated despite many attempts by researchers. This explains why coming face to face with a wild elephant is an experience one would want to have.

The bio-monitoring of Great apes is a program of ERuDeF which has as objective to track and monitor large mammals to be able to determine their status, population and their threats. It was in line with this that a team left for the Mak Betchou Forest. The Mak-Betchou forest block habours some exotic species like the Cameroon-Nigeria Chimpanzees, buffallos and elephants. Given that these creatures are under threat by man's activities such as hunting and farming, ERuDeF has proposed this site to the Cameroon government as one of the sites which needs to be gazetted as a full protected area.

16 May 2013

Volunteer adopts Cross River Gorilla in captivity at the Limbe Wildlife Center

Posted in News, Views 1372

Cross River Gorilla at the Limbe Wildlife Center

After spending two months in the Lebialem Highlands SW Cameroon, a volunteer who came for the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF)'s Great apes expedition has adopted a Cross River Gorilla in the Limbe Wildlife Center. Ms Hanna-Maiva Lahtine, 28, made this decision on May 11, 2013 after visiting this center that takes care of primates most of whom are orphans whose families were killed by poachers. She pledged to support the upkeep of this Gorilla with 50.000FCFA ($100) every year as long as the Gorilla lives. Speaking at the ERuDeF head office in Buea, on May 13, 2013, Ms Hannah explained that she is supporting this great ape because having spent two months in the Forest and hearing their sounds, she was moved to support the one she saw "I spent two months in the Lebialem Highlands with ERuDeF's bio-monitors staff. During this time, I had a wonderful experience of hearing the noises made by the Gorillas. On April 24, 2013, I heard a very loud cry of a Silver-back Cross River Gorilla in Tofala forest. Even though I did not get to see the Gorilla, it was endearing for me to ascertain that these Gorillas that are highly threatened actually live in this forest. Seeing it live at the Limbe Wildlife Center therefore motivated me to lend a hand".

Ms Hanna-Maiva Lahtine came to Cameroon under the ERuDeF International Volunteering Program (IVP). The IVP program was created in 2008 to respond to the increasing need for a constant bio-monitoring of great apes in the Lebialem Highlands SW Cameroon. Through this program, volunteers recruited from all across the globe take part in various expeditions with the most popular being the Cross River Gorilla expedition. Since its inception, ERuDeF has received about 200 volunteers for different expeditions. The program runs during the months of January, April, July and November. Some of the main forest blocks visited include Bechati, Besali, Andu, Bokwa and Fossemondi all in the Lebialem Highlands, SW Cameroon.

Ms Hanna spent two months monitoring great apes in these forest blocks and described her best moment in the forest when she spotted two African Forest Elephants in Mak-Betchou proposed Sanctuary. She fell in love with the popular Cameroonian dish "eru" and wishes she could be in Cameroon as often as possible.

By Regina Fonjia Leke

16 May 2013

Students and pupils around Tofala forest area nurse over 117. 000 tree seeds

Posted in News, Views 1342

Volunteer assist pupils of GS Kenkah-Folepi in nursing trees

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has through its Environmental Education Program mobilized over 200 students and pupils to nurse a total of 117, 300 seeds of different species including Acacia, Leuceana, date palm and Prunus Africana. The students and pupils drawn from some nine primary and secondary schools in the Tofala area established a total of nine tree nurseries in nine school campuses around Tofala. They sowed 80000 Accacia, 36000 of Leuceana, 500 of date palm and 800 of Prunus Africana. The exercise took place from April 15 to April 26, 2013 in the school campus of Government School (GS) Bechati, GS Malengah-Bechati, Government High School (GHS), Bamumbu, Government Secondary School (GSS) Bechati, GHS Besali, GS Kenkah-Folepi, GS Banti, GS Egumbo and GS Bamumbu. During the process the students and pupils who showed a lot of interest, gained skills in seed identification, pretreatment of seeds, establishment of bare root nurseries and construction of shed for nursery.

Getting these young people plant trees falls in line with ERuDeF's vision to educate the young people on the importance of environmental protection, for them to in turn educate their parents to support the conservation of the last great apes in the forest of Tofala. In addition to this, the enthusiasm to plant trees was ignited during the ERuDeF's annual wildlife advocacy week in February 2013 which brought together all primary and secondary schools for an environmental education exhibition. During the official closure of the event, it was unanimously agreed that school grounds have to be more environmentally friendly. Ideas were exchanged between the ERuDeF environmental education coordinators, students, pupils and teachers on possible ways to achieve a greener school environment. It was then resolved that each school should establish a 3-year forest garden project to be supervised and supported by ERuDeF. It was therefore against this backdrop that these nine schools were mobilized to plant trees.

Hanna Maija an ERuDeF volunteer who assisted in the establishment of these nurseries was very excited after a visit to the nurseries 2 weeks after they were established, 'I am so glad because most of the seeds nursed have geminated. The nursery site is so clean which indicates that the kids are taking good care of the young plants'. It is hoped that, these trees would be transplanted in September in to the school forest garden. The school authorities on their part are taking the necessary measures to ensure the growth of these trees into proper school forest. This implies if the project is successful, in 5 years 9 schools in Tofala will have their own school forests.

By Mahah Vladimire

16 May 2013

ABS National Focal Point Deputy Coordinator Visits Echinops giganteus Project on Mt Bamboutos

Posted in News, Views 1402

ABS Coordinator poses with Echinops project team

The Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) National Focal Point Deputy Coordinator has made his first visit to the Echinops giganteus project in Magha Village, Mt Bamboutos, Lebialem Division SW Cameroon. Mr. Wilson Shei was in Magha on April 12, 2013 to formalize commitments on the Echinops giganteus/ABS project. Speaking at the Chief's Palace in Magha, Mr. Wilson Shei explained that the involvement of the ABS principle in the Echinops giganteus project is to ensure that there is an equitable benefit for the local community and the enterprise.

The Access Benefit Sharing (ABS) principle, it would be noted is a feature of the 2010 Nagoya protocol. According to the ABS principle, the proceeds emerging from a natural resource has to be shared equitably between the community hosting the natural resource and the individual or corporate body wishing to exploit it.

The ABS Deputy Coordinator thus explained that the involvement of the ABS principle in the Echinops giganteus project is to ensure that there is an equitable benefit both at the level of the local community and the level of the enterprise. He expressed satisfaction about the involvement of the ABS Principle in the Echinops giganteus project explaining that "The Echinops giganteus project is a pilot project for the implementation of the ABS principle and will guide its implementation in other related projects in the country".

The event brought together the representative of the Southwest Regional Delegate of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED), Mr. Kuitekam Dongo Patrice, the traditional ruler of Magha, Chief Nembo Abraham, some village elites and Project Coordinator, Manuella Huque.

The Project Manager, Manuella Huque, on her part, reassured the ABS National Focal Point Deputy Coordinator and all present, that the French enterprise has no intention of copying this genetic resource promising to help fight against the bio-pirating of the Echinops plant.

She also urged the Chief and village elites to set up a Village Management Committee for the project as well as carry out feasibility study and cost analysis for the setting up of a village cooperative and submit to her.

Reacting to this, Chief Nembo Abraham lauded the steps taken in the project this far. He promised to set up the management committee before May 15, 2013. The traditional ruler was particularly grateful with the involvement of the government in the project pledging more moral and material support for the project. The Chief also signed a lending contract for the test plot necessary for the agronomic trials of the Echinops giganteus.

Meanwhile a Dry Station for the Echinops giganteus roots has been established and nursed seeds already sprouting, depicting a green light for the project.

Betrand N. Shancho

16 May 2013

ERuDeF sets up five 5000 capacity community nurseries around Mt Cameroon

Posted in News, Views 1475

Sample community nursery set up at Bakingili

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has supported the establishment of nine 5000 capacity community nurseries in some communities around the Mt Cameroon. Some of these communities include Bafia, Bakingili, Bomana and Bova I. "The aim of this move is to ensure the conservation and sustainable management of some globally threatened trees of the Mount Cameroon forest" says Louis Nkembi, CEO of ERuDeF. Some of these trees include the Microberlinia bisulcata, Oncoba lophorcarpa, Cordia platithystera and the Prunus african. In partnership with the Ministry of Forestry-Mt Cameroon National Park Service, ERuDeF is currently training community members on the identification of these threatened species and basic nursery practices. The initiative which was welcomed by the inhabitants is now gaining grounds. Community members now construct nursery sheds, fill polythene bags and collect seeds from the forest for the nursery. Thereafter, these communities would plant the threatened species in their farms. It is hoped that these trees would not only contribute towards minimizing the carbon in the atmosphere and fight global warming, but subsequently serve as a source of income for in terms of furniture derived from the wood.

Mount Cameroon it would be recalled is one of Africa's largest volcanoes. This Mountain locally referred to as "Efasa moto" meaning "the Chariots of the gods" is the highest peak in sub-Saharan western and central Africa, rising to 4,049 metres above the coast of West Cameroon. This Mountain stands tall in plant and animal biodiversity. It is home to plants that are not just endemic to the region but equally threatened. Unfortunately for some time, human pressure on this mountain such as indiscriminate logging and creating of farmlands has put some plants under threat. It was in line with this that the Cameroonian conservation organization, ERuDeF designed the Mt Cameroon threatened trees project with a goal to restore globally threatened trees. Supported by Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and the Global Tree Campaign, this project has identified some 17 species within the Mt Cameroon area which are highly endangered. Amongst these species identified, ERuDeF set up a central tree nursery at the Regional Delegation of Forestry to premises of Buea where 7 of these species are currently being raised. Creating community nurseries is therefore an effort to indulge the communities more in tree planting, given that nature can best be taken care of by those who live closest to it.

By Asa'a Lemawah

16 May 2013

Lebialem Senior Divisional Officer supports Tofala Sanctuary creation process

Posted in News, Views 1612

Picture: SDO poses with team after sensitisation meeting

Lebialem Senior Divisional Officer supports Tofala Sanctuary creation process

The Senior Divisional Officer for Lebialem Division alongside some top government officials recently visited some villages in the Wabane Sub-division, Lebialem Division SW Cameroon to educate the people on the need for the creation of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. Mr. Kuemo Simon alongside other officials of the Ministry of Forestry, on April 5, 2014, visited three villages including Folepi, Bangang and Bamumbu. These villages form a significant portion of the Proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.

Speaking during a sensitization meeting in Folepi, Mr. Kuemo Simon explained that carving out a protected area was not a punishment, but a way of preserving a Nation's rich heritage for posterity. He had the indigenes of Folepi understand that, the Cross River Gorilla is critically endangered and if not conserved, might go extinct. He therefore urged the natives to commit themselves fully for the realization of the Wildlife Sanctuary.

This proposed Sanctuary is home to about 40 critically endangered Cross River Gorillas, 150 endangered Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees and a host of other endemic fauna and flora. In a bid to save the last great apes, the Cameroonian conservation organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), working with the Cameroon government initiated a legal process in 2010 towards making this site a full protected area. It was in line with this that the Senior Divisional Officer for Lebialem went to three villages to call on the natives to throw support for the project.

The villagers in turn pledged full commitment to support the process but called on ERuDeF and the supporters to provide them with alternative sources of livelihoods to replace farmlands which would constitute part of the Sanctuary.

It would be recalled that, according to the Cameroon 1994 forestry law, community participation in the creation of protected areas and the sustainable management of forestry and wildlife resources for local development is vital. This explains why ERuDeF and its partners went to sensitize natives of these villages, which form a portion of the proposed site, on the importance of conservation of wildlife.

This is the fourth stage of the process of creating a Sanctuary. According to the laws of the land, the creation of protected areas involves six legal steps. These include the production of a technical note, publication of a public notice, sensitization of administrative authorities and local elites, village to village sensitizations, divisional classification and compilation of documents by Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife for onward transmission via Ministry of Forestry headquarter to the Prime Minister Office for final gazzetement of the area. The first three steps were completed in 2012 and 8 out of 11 villages adjacent to the proposed protected area were sensitized.

By Allen Enokenwa Tabi

07 April 2013

ERuDeF Women call for action following the killing of a Cross River Gorilla

Posted in News, Views 1520

Celebrating international women’s day

The 1st of March would forever be remembered as a tragic day for the Cameroonian conservation organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, (ERuDeF). On this day, one of the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla that strayed from the Proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, was killed in neighboring Pinyin in the North West Region of Cameroon. On the 8th of March, a day set aside as women's day, the women of ERuDeF used the event, not just for the march pass but also to send a strong message to government on the urgent need to protect these last great apes. The women carried placards bearing messages such as "Don't kill them, don't eat them, protect them".

In a rather pathetic mood, the wailing women waved a board carrying the picture of the dead Gorilla to the watching crowd at the Grand stand saying enough is enough! This drew widespread attention as other women taking part in the march pass came to find out about the death of this animal. The women used the opportunity to create awareness for women calling on them to be at the forefront of conservation.

The march pass also gave the women a unique opportunity to call on women to plant trees and fight climate change. The women of ERuDeF bore posters with messages such as "one woman one tree, women take the lead in the fight against climate change and the general protection of the environment". Coincidentally, these messages happened to have been on this year's fabric for March 8.

One of the women at ERuDeF, Payong Marquise who works for the restoration of degraded landscapes through tree planting, explains why women should take the lead in reforestation "women are directly involved with the environment. They are the people making use of fuel wood from the forest, they farm and they use water for house chores. Mitigating climate change does not only mean planting trees, but also managing energy and water resources in a way that helps to promote the fight against global warming. They should therefore champion the struggle for environmental protection"

By Regina Fonjia Leke

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