Linus Arong Melike
Linus was trained in Inga alley cropping by Gaston Bityo. He works in the villages near the Korup National Park in the Anglophone region of Cameroon. He has trained 3 assistants who work with him.
Linus’s method differs from others in that he works with village based groups It is traditionally the women’s job to provide the food, so it is appropriate for the women to work in the Inga alleys, though the men help with the more physically demanding jobs like pruning the trees.
Those who want to be part of the Inga project elect one woman to be the leader and organizer in that village. She ensures that when Linus and his assistants come to the village that everyone is ready for them. A village nursery is set up and up to 4000 Inga seeds are sown. Two women are then paid to care for the nursery. When the seedlings are ready for planting out the Inga farmers work together as a group, planting all the seedlings on the first farmer’s plot, then on the next one and so on. The rest of the workis organized similarly.
This has been very successful. Linus has now (July 2022) started Inga plots in 10 villages with a total of over 300 farmers. The ones he started earlier have had harvests and the farmers have found that the productivity of their various crops (cassava, beans, cocoyams, maize, groundnuts, poky seeds) is much increased. That has induced some farmers who didn’t initially take part to join in, and others who earlier left the project to come back.
There are many more villages in the region for Linus to approach, once the ones he is working with now have become independent of his help.
Linus became very concerned about the extensive illegal hunting in the Korup National Park. In many African forests the wildlife, particularly the larger mammals, are being decimated. In time that will lead not only to the loss of the species themselves, but they pollinate many of the trees, particularly the larger tree species. Loss of the wildlife will eventually lead to the loss of the trees also, as old trees die and are not replaced. Linus, himself from one of the villages, talked with the hunters and asked what would they need to be able to give up the hunting. They suggested farming pigs. So we have just started to set up pig farming. Hunting is not very profitable for them, and even though there are few guards in the forest it is illegal and so carries some risk. It is also mainly a night time activity, which means they are mostly away from their families.