The Sustainable Run for Development (SURUDEV) has donated over 30 tins of seeds for Market gardening, Fodder/Pasture and Agro-forestry to some community members of Baisu and Metang, all forest adjacent communities of the Kom-Wum forest hosting the endangered Nigeria Cameroon Chimpanzee., The seeds included; Celery, Leeks, Cabbage, Cotmanjo, Huckleberry Rebi, Macun, Bracharia, Acacia Leucaena and Prunus Africana. The community members were equally trained on agro-forestry, market gardening and bee keeping as alternatives to their traditional forest chasing and hunting for feeding. Pasture/fodder seeds were distributed to the indigenous Fulanis in other to discourage bush burning and over grazing. Field demonstration on market gardening and nursery creation for agro-forestry were equally done for the inhabitants to learn and eventually practice when planting their seeds.
The donation which took place on March 29, 2016, is in line with the objectives of SURUDEV’s ‘Habitat restoration of the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee’ Project. The aim is to divert the attention of people living adjacent to the habitat of the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee, from relying heavily on the forest, to some alternative sources of livelihood.
Baisu just like Metang are communities close to the heart of the Kom-wum forest of the Bamenda highland a natural habitat of the Pt.ellioti (Nigerian-Cameroon) chimp. Baisu is an extremely rural forest community with its inhabitants relying or surviving mainly on the forest and with a population of about 100 there is bound to be exploitation. Their major activities are farming and hunting.
During the donation, the SURUDEV team educated and empowered the community members about their forest, the chimpanzees, and how to live sustainably without much reliance on the forest.
Educating the Baisu community on biodiversity conservation and the protection of the Nigerian-Cameroon chimp is just in time when the population of the chimp according by the IUCN status is on the red list and classified as Endangered. So there is need to conserve and protect our natural heritage. By empowering them on sustainable market gardening techniques, tree planting, agro-forestry, folder crop cultivation, bee keeping and the cultivation of non-timber shrubs such as eru, and bush mango, it is hoped these sustainable ways will keep them away from the forest.
By Mongo Victor Mbabit