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WWF, EU Showcase Successes Of Ngoyla-Mintom REDD Project 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

After six years of existence (2011 to 2017), the achievements of a WWF-EU Project for the conservation of forests and wildlife and promotion of local development in the Ngoyla-Mintom forest massif, was showcased during an event at the Hilton Hotel in Yaounde on March 28.

The project, dubbed WWF-EU reduction of deforestation and forest degradation in the Ngoyla-Mintom forest massif, covers about one million hectares of forest straddling Ngoyla in the East and Mintom in the South Regions of Cameroon. From zero hectares of forest under sustainable management, today, 48 percent of the forest is under sustainable management.

Financed by the EU and implemented by the World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF, the project supported the process for the designing of a land use plan that defined the different management options for the forest block.

“Thanks to this plan, some 14 community forests, including specifically two for indigenous Baka people, have been created,” said Dr. Hanson Njiforti, National Director of WWF Cameroon, during a workshop to reflect on the future of the forest massif. Two communal forests were also created for the Ngoyla and Mintom Municipal Councils so they can sustainably exploit and generate sorely needed incomes to implement development projects. 

Through a payment for environmental service (PES) project, over 5,000 hybrids cocoa seedlings were distributed to households and individuals to boost sustainable agriculture and reduce pressure on forest. In its effort to improve on household incomes, the Ngoyla-Mintom project supports income-generating activities, including animal rearing, fish farming and the valorisation of non-timber forest products. As efforts to reduce deforestation, some 817 farmers who accepted not to extend their farmlands further into the forest, benefitted from the initiative.

Other results recorded by the project included the setting up of 21 farming associations; the creation of 13.5 hectares of cocoa farms by the direct beneficiaries; the cultivation of cocoyams, maize, peanuts, plantains, pepper, cabbages, irish potatoes, etc, on a 25.65 hectares of land; three school gardens covering a surface area of 2,200 metres; and five semi modern poultry farms with some 6,000 fowls produced between 2014 and 2017.

The creation of two fish ponds; the setting up of six groups for the collection, processing and sale of non- timber forest products, facilitating the creation of two periodic markets in Mintom and Ngoyla to ease the sale of the products and the elaboration of 12 micro projects by community organisations with the technical support of the project, were some of the gains highlighted at the strategic reflection workshop of March 28.

Challenges

Announcing that funding of the project is unfortunately coming to an end, the WWF National Director said the strategic reflection workshop was necessary for stakeholders to brainstorm on what next must be done in order to continue to protect the Ngoyla-Mintom forest massif endowed with huge ecological and subsoil resources.

Little enthusiasm from some beneficiaries who hoped to receive support in cash from the project; bad state of roads in some sectors of the project area; bad governance by beneficiary groups; problems of selling some products following the departure of mining companies whose workers were buyers and the unavailability of some local agriculture and livestock experts to assist local people, were some of the difficulties faced in the course of the project.

The event that was also marked by speeches from the Attaché at the EU Delegation in Yaounde, Alain Castermans, and the Secretary General of Cameroon’s Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Joseph Nyongwe, also saw the presentation of papers. Such presentations were grouped under three main themes, notably; forest management and surveillance of the massif; climate change and sustainable funding; regional development.

Considering the enormous successes, stakeholders feared that if new funding is not rapidly secured in order to consolidate such gains, it could jeopardise the conservation efforts of the Ngoyla-Mintom forest massif.

 

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