NO. 100 Where are we? An overview
By Tiiu-Imbi Miller | Newsletter No. 100 SPRING 2020

 Welcome to the Rainforest Saver newsletter no. 100 Spring 2020.  

Where are we? An overview.

My sincere apologies for the recent lack of newsletters. We are about to make up for that.

This is the 100th newsletter, so surely a suitable time to give an overview. I hope this will help you to understand our work and follow future newsletters better.

We work in Cameroon, Ecuador, Honduras, Kenya and Gaston Bityo, our Cameroon partner, enabled another UK NGO to start Inga alley cropping in Sierra Leone

CAMEROON.

Gaston Bityo Delor is the National Co-ordinator of the Cameroon Inga Project. He invited us to work with him in 2009 and we have we have worked with him ever since. 

He has worked with several individual farmers to establish Inga plots, including about 10 who planted comparison plots without Inga adjacent to their Inga plots. Same time planting, same maize seed, etc.  The yields from the Inga plots varied from 15 kg to 75 and over, but the comparison plots never gave more than 5 kg, showing it was badly degraded land, and how good the Inga is at re-fertilising it. 

Delivery of Inga seedlings to a farmer. September 2019

He has also worked with schools, introducing the Inga and planting Inga plots at the schools. So far about 10 schools were interested, but we have not had the resources to start Inga plots with more than one or two.

Perhaps the most important work he has done was to train other Inga promoters, take the Inga to their regions, and follow them up with long and difficult trips to ensure good understanding. 

The training workshops that Gaston Bityo has given

Commentary on the map.

Degree of forest density is shown by darkest (densest) through lighter greens to

yellow, to light brown to deeper brown, the latter indicating very little forest cover.

For the Kumba training in 2016 people came from inside the red line, and people from inside 

the turquoise line are included in the Kumba follow up. The main people trained are 

Atanga, Linus and Tabouguie.

 

 Gaston Training at Kumba

 

For the Yaoundé training and follow up people came from inside the yellow line. 

These were the first farmers that Gaston worked with, most of whom participated in

the comparison of yields from plots with and without Inga.

The white line is where the Baka (pygmies) came from, including representatives

from Moloundou, a two-day journey to Abong Mbang where Gaston held the 

workshop. 

The Akonolinga training people will come from inside the purple line. Gaston has

made several visits to there and several surrounding villages, and there is a lot of interest there, and some Inga plots have been started (so there are trees for seed too) but we have lacked the resources to really get people trained and the Inga properly established in a bigger way. 

On the road to Akonolinga to deliver Inga seedlings. Also demonstrates why Gaston needs a sturdy truck. There are worse roads in Cameroon.

 

These trainings have been supported by the Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission, for which we are very grateful.  The trip to the Baka was paid for by generous supporters of crowd funding.

We have funds from the Zurich Community Trust for Gaston to take the Inga to 4 more communities, for which again we are very grateful, even though the work will have to wait for the virus to subside.

 

Gaston speaks his native Bulu, French and English and has been translating the RFS website into French.

 

Atanga has started over 20 individual farmers with Inga, another 20 have put Inga in their cocoa farms, to very good effect, and has taken it to about 8 villages and other NGOs. He lives in Buea and works in the Anglophone region. His work has been supported by the Rotary since 2017. We appreciate this continued support very much indeed. 

Village meeting with Atanga

 

 

Linus works in hard to reach villages near the Korup National Park. So far he has started Inga plots in 11 villages, and the first 3 have been pruned – but it looks like we have to wait for the coronavirus problems to reduce before he can come to town again to report on them. He has become very concerned by the hunting in the national parks, particularly Korup, and has devised a plan to provide alternative income for the hunters, who, he says, will be very ready to abandon hunting if they can make a living otherwise. The plan is to provide some farm animals as well as Inga alley cropping.  We hope to be able to finance a pilot project for this. 

Linus’s work has been supported by the Sheepdrove Trust, again for more than one year, for which we are very grateful.

Village meeting by Linus

 

Tabouguie has worked with several individual farmers, some of whom have got to the pruning stage. This is a smaller project.

Tabouguie delivering Inga seedlings to his farmers (to the ladies I believe)

 

We have had a request from 3 more community leaders to join the Inga project in Cameroon. Two of these are in the Anglophone region and can be linked to Atanga. The third is in the Francophone region and when the coronavirus is over will be linked to Gaston.

 

ECUADOR. 

 

This project was started in 2016. We are collaborating with an agricultural college. Several Inga plots have been started and there has been a lot of interest from relevant institutions and farmers from a wide area. Antony Melville (our chair) has visited there and written a comprehensive report which I have just put up on our website, so rather than trying to duplicate it here please do read it at

 https://www.rainforestsaver.org/ecuador-inga-project

 

This project differs from much of the Cameroon projects in that most of the farmers are a lot better off than the subsistence farmers in Cameroon. But saving the soil and growing crops sustainably and organically is of value in all circumstances. We are trying to reach the poorer farmers there also now.

We are very grateful for the generous continued supported from the Patsy Wood Trust for this project.

 

Gathering up Inga leaves for weighing, and Dr. Guillermo Valle calculating from that how much nitrogen these leaves provide for the crops. 

 

HONDURAS

 

Dr. Guillermo Valle, from CURLA (part of the University of Honduras), and in collaboration with FunaVid (Fundacion Agricola Vid, a Honduras registered NGO) has been teaching Inga alley cropping and other relevant environmental topics in Honduran high schools. The project stalled for a while because he was unable to find a good assistant, but that was solved last year. Ronald Ramos worked for him for three months, and now he has Hector Talavera. They were just set to really get going when the coronavirus paused it. This work is also supported by the Patsy Wood Trust, who will support it for some further time, which is very welcome and much appreciated.

 

There is an updated report on this project at 

https://www.rainforestsaver.org/the-honduran-projects

Follow up visit to Aguacate Linea school by Dr. Valle and Ronald Ramos, spring 2019.

 

 

Marco has been managing a small project on the steep slopes of the Cangrejal River valley. He is working with a small number of farmers planting larger Inga plots, of from 500 to well over 2000 trees each. This is the hardest land to re-fertilise. The land is steep and wind and rain tend to sweep away even the Inga leaves. But much of Honduras is mountainous (as are many other places), so it is important to find ways of getting good crops even under these conditions.

Sticks laid across pruned Inga stems to prevent erosion. Photo by Marco.

 

KENYA

 

Pastor Nsandah recently moved from Cameroon to Kenya. He set to work to find an Inga tree and local partners to work with. He has started 5 farmers with Inga plots, and established an Inga nursery with the students at the Kenya Institute of Organic Farming, where he himself did a course about organic farming.

We have also received some super donations from individuals, and invaluable continued monthly support from Alara Wholefoods Ltd. We could not function without these. Grants only cover specified expenses during specified projects. We have to pay some overseas salaries whether they are working on a project or not, not all grants include these salaries, and there are various other expenses. Our UK team are all unpaid volunteers, except for my one recently employed and very valuable part time assistant.