COMMUNITIES OUTREACH, CONSOLIDATING AND SCALING-UP: THE ADOPTION OF INGA ALLEY CROPPING IN CAMEROON. (July 2020)
By Atanga Wilson Nebafor
I am very pleased to put forward my news on my Inga Alley cropping project, and how targeted farmers are responding to the project. As new communities are asking for the project to be taken to their communities, the older communities that started the project previously are increasing their Inga hedge rows and their Inga plot sizes, while other farmers are carrying out the pruning and Inga farm management themselves.
In my outreach I am training the new farmers on Inga Alley cropping and setting up nurseries which will be used to establish Inga Alley cropping plots.
Ntambu community training on Inga alley cropping, supported by International Rotary. Note the A-frame in the back left corner. This is used for planting along the contours on a hillside to prevent erosion.
With slash and burn farming the farmers’ yields are sometimes good for the first year after clearing and burning the forest, but it is not always a good yield. The yields and the quality of the crop from the Inga plot after pruning is far better than in the first year after clearing and burning the forest. In addition farmers have been able to grow different crops. Ngu Divine had never planted yams in the area where he established his Inga plot. But with the Inga he can now grow yams and they are growing very healthily.
It is 10 times easier to plant Inga tree seedlings than to clear the same sized area of forest. Pruning Inga alleys is also easier because you are cutting Inga trees in hedge rows but in the forest you have other things to cut off as well. In Inga alley cropping there is no undergrowth once the Inga has covered the alley and is ready for pruning.
Inga Seedling ready for planting (Alori Community)
I am also conducting hands-on training to improve the farmers’ skill on Inga plot management.
Nibaba Community Inga Plot 1 year after planting
Pa Aldolfshu measuring his height with a 1 year Inga tree
The farmers talked of ‘the Inga tree as a wonderful tree that grows day and night’.
Mrs Elizabeth Inga farmers Munam Community
There are some insects attacking the Inga tree which need to be looked into. You can see their effect on the Inga leaves.
Cocoa cultivation is one of the major drivers of deforestation. Farmers of Buea (Muyuka, Yoke, Malende, Banga Bankundu, Bombe Bakundu and Balangi villages) turned to cacao farming since independence. As the soil becomes degraded the cacao trees start dying. After about 15 year the cacao trees started dying because then there was no more soil fertility and no shade that the cacao tree needed.
When I started the Inga project I had to take some Inga seedlings to plant in cacao farms. This was to improve the lost soil fertility, provide shade and firewood that is used in the drying of cocoa beans. It has been shown that cacao under Inga grows better and faster,
Cacao farmer Julius Awah says that his cocoa trees were dying but after planting Inga in the cacao plot the cacao trees stopped dying and are growing very green now.
On the left healthy cocoa bush under Inga. On the right not as healthy cocoa without Inga.
Inga provides the much needed fertile biomass for the cacao tree to grow better.
In total I am working with 125 farmers with Inga Alley cropping and 22 farmers with cacao and Inga in 13 villages of the South West and North West Regions of Cameroon.
Atanga Wilson Nebafor
Tel: 237 677812631/237660791262
Mr. Atanga Wilson is one of our partners in Cameroon. He has been working with Rainforest Saver for several years as part of the Cameroon Inga Project. He is based in Buea in SW Cameroon. He was trained to do Inga alley cropping by Mr. Gaston Bityo in 2016 with a grant from the Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission, and currently a lot of his work is supported by Rotary International.