Welcome to the Rainforest Saver Newsletter no. 59A. January-February 2015. Cameroon: sowing seeds
Over several years now the Cameroon Inga Project, directed by Gaston Bityo Delor, has been sowing not just Inga seeds, but the seeds of this new way of farming, called Inga alley cropping.
47 farmers have a small Inga plot, and there are about 25 more set to start as soon as rain and supplies permit. Eight schools have, or are about to have, Inga plots.
Changing the lives of poor farmers in remote villages is one of the hardest issues one can tackle, but also a very important one. These are the poorest people, and they are the ones who are clearing the rainforest, just to survive. They may be farmers but nonetheless they can go hungry. According to the UN the world produces enough food to feed 12 billion people. Our current population is over 7 billion. There is hunger because the food is not fairly distributed. The poor cannot afford to buy it, or they do not have adequate means to grow enough of it. Inga alley cropping provides the food right where it is most needed, very inexpensively, without the need for chemical fertilizers or pesticides, while reducing the destruction of the rainforests.
Villagers who want to start Inga plots, and Gaston Bityo demonstrating the system. You can do without a blackboard when it’s fine outside.
Our Cameroon partner, Gaston, started farmers from different locations with small Inga plots which would then serve as nuclei from which to spread the system – the seeds from which sustainable farming would grow. We expected that to take several years, as the farmers naturally want to see the results before trying it themselves. We have now had harvests from two excellent mature plots, three more are being pruned now, with several more likely to be ready later in the year.
Joshua Konkankoh, director of Better World Cameroon, Kevin Mascarenhas, visiting Permaculture expert from the UK, and Gaston Bityo, holding a meeting in Gaston’s house at Yaoundé.
There are now 6 communities/community leaders who have joined the Cameroon Inga project. Some of you recently sold raffle tickets to cover the considerable cost of taking Inga seedlings to Bamenda where another NGO, Better World Cameroon, is very keen to try the Inga system. Their eco-village is based on Permaculture principles. The Inga system is similar to Permaculture. Gaston will set up a demonstration plot there, and start five women with Inga plots. He visited Better World Cameroon several months ago, and saw various techniques demonstrated there as well as telling them about the Inga. We expect this to turn into a mutually beneficial co-operation.
At Denis Amougou’s excellent Inga plot in Yaundé, Gaston is explaining about it. From the left: Denis Amougou, Gaston Bityo, Kevin Mascarenhas and Joshua Konkankoh. Note how dark it is in the alleys under the Inga. This plot will be pruned soon.
Kevin Mascarenhas with an Inga pod at Denis Amagou’s Inga plot
Kevin Mascarenhas demonstrating various techniques at Better World Cameroon