Cultivation and Sustainable Management of Eru (Gnetum spp) in the Buffer Zone of Korup National Park

The demand to CENDEP from women’s groups for training and assistance on eru cultivation has kept on growing over the years. However the lack of funds has limited the ability of CENDEP to extend the training on eru domestication to these women. In early 2006 ICCO’s programme officer for West and Central Africa visited CENDEP and some of her field work. This led to a grant in 2006 to train women groups in the support zone of the Korup National Park on the domestication of eru. The project is ongoing.

This project centers on the production and marketing of Gnetum spp (Eru), a highly priced and harvested Non-Timber Forest Product in the forest regions of Cameroon. Because of free access and high demand, wild stocks are disappearing from the forests in Anglophone Cameroon, shifting the harvesters to the Francophone part of the country where the forest vegetable is still found in commercial quantities.

Project Description

The purpose of this project is to assist the trainees to contribute to forest conservation and improve their livelihoods by diversifying their production through the introduction of a high value NTFP into their farming system.

The objectives of the project are to:

  • Sensitize at least 150 farmers in 5 villages through village meetings;
  • Create 5 farmer groups to champion the domestication, marketing and sustainable management of eru in the Buffer zone of KNP;
  • Build the capacity of 150 farmers, 4 AEWs and local NGOs on the production and marketing of eru through the organization of 5 village training workshops and technical support visits;
  • Establish 5 pilot community/demonstration farms;
  • Establish and manage 5 village nurseries;
  • Assist trainees to establish their individual eru farms;
  • Assist trainees in the processing and marketing of eru harvested from the wild and/or farms;
  • Increase the post harvest life of eru through post harvest treatment and
  • Assist trainees in the sustainable management of wild stocks (enrichment planting, sustainable exploitation).

Summary of Results
A rapid market appraisal on Eru was carried out in the project area (read the report). The market analysis constituted a useful tool for informed decision making as far as production and marketing of Eru is concerned in the area. The findings of the market appraisal were later presented to stakeholders in a workshop (read the report). This study reshaped the project as its recommendations led to a revision of the project’s action plan. As a result of the market appraisal a trial processing and marketing of Eru was done instead of the previewed trial sales of unprocessed Eru.

Packaging of Eru
Consultation meetings were held with key development organizations and government services operating in the project area to inform them of the project and to seek their collaboration. This support was obtained and in addition CENDEP was briefed on potential challenges. This paved the way for sensitization meetings, five of which were held and 239 farmers sensitized. As a result of consultation and sensitization meetings there was general awareness of the project as well as support by all the stakeholders contacted. Notwithstanding, some villagers doubted if Eru would grow in their community. This doubt was later cleared when the trainees themselves were independently producing Eru seedlings and planting them on their individual farms. Another proof was through the demonstration farms that were established using Eru seedlings supplied by the project.

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