PROJECT TITLE: Agro – Silvopastoral project for climate change mitigation and combating land degradation for smallholder farmers/ Mbororo pastoralist Fulanis
The town of Balikumbat is located approximately 15km West of Ndop, the capital of the Ngoketunjia division within the North West region of Cameroon (located at latitude 50551011N, longitude 100221011E and elevation 1199m).
It is bounded on the East by the villages of Bamali and Bambalang; on the West of Bafanji; on the South by Bamumkumbit and on the North by Babanki, Tungo and Awing. Balikumbat has an estimated population of 65,000 inhabitants, which are predominantly peasant farmers.
There is a notable presence of Mbororos herdsmen occupying the hill where they tend their cattle.
The populations of this area are predominantly young females, significantly overshadowing the male population. Balikumbat has neighboring villages, which are Balikumbat, Bafanji, Bamumkumbit Baligashu and Baligasin. With the effects of climate change in Balikumbat, the support of the GEF small grant program (including CAEPA), has introduced a means in which climate change can be mitigated and combat land degradation for smallholders farmers and Mbororo pastoralist Fulanis.
The goal and objective of this project is to improve the livelihood for small farmers coping with current climate change variability. This is achieved by implementing long-term climate change strategies through the increase use and intensification of tree planting and the diversification and buffering farming system in Balikumbat. Furthermore, CAEPA has established community awareness and conservation education programs in Mbororo pastoralist settlements, schools and communities to promote local community involvement and reduce the vulnerability to climate change. This was achieved through the mapping of transhumance areas; improved pasture plots within Balikumbat Sub Division.
ACTIVITIES AND OUTPUT
The activities planned has resulted to the indicators and output project such as:
- Project launching and participatory planning in which traditional authorities shall provide lands for farming groups.
- Baseline scans on household demographics crop productivity, farm constraints, uses of trees, food security and prospective on climate change, observation of household amenities, soil type, and soil erosion and number of trees planted for each household.
- The creation, organization and restructuring of environmental clubs in schools and Fulani community groups and communities in Balikumbat.
- Sensitization on climate change and land degradation in school environmental clubs and smallholder farmers and common initiative groups.
- The demonstration of tree planting to students
- Training workshop on nursery creation, which taught small farmers especially on which kind of tree to plant.
- Creation of community nurseries created in Balikumbat, Baligashu and Bamumkumbit.
- Celebration of World Environmental Day in which government officials takes part in the tree planting exercise at the premises of the council at the sub divisional hospital.
- Workshops for smallholder farmers on agro forestry techniques
- Integrating trees into farming systems for mitigating climate change on improving soil quality whereby 3251 trees of 4 species have been planted covering 24 hectares of degraded land.
- Monitoring trees in farming systems where dead trees, which had been planted, were replaced.
- Setting of demonstration plots on agro forestry system spatial arrangement of trees in agro forestry system such as rotational fallow, boundary planting wind breaks amongst others as ameans to mitigate climate change.
- Training on fruit tree demystifications with the grafting of trees.
- Women sustainable development fund.
- Training on the production and the use of improved cooking stoves.
- Participatory mapping of transhumance zones in Balikumbat Sub Division.
- Restitution of mapping works within communities in Balikumbat, Baligansin and Bamumkumbit.
- Creation of improved pastures plots within the five communities.
- Project management and coordination, monitoring, evaluation and communication.
- Evaluations of smallholder farmers/Mbororo pastoralist Fulanis groups were interviewed using questionnaires.
- Project sites and monitoring visitsin which questions and answer sessions were held whereby the worries of the members were clarified.
- Training on GEF SGP technical and financial reporting in Yaoundé and their skills improved and supported by CAEPA.
- Production of sign boards at project sites and prepares, produce a case study of project reports and findings.
- Press conference held to publicize report held by 15 persons from the administration, technical government services and other environmental organization, farmers, grazers and students.
The main challenges that were faced when implementing the project included:
- The organized groups were largely concerned about the political life of the country and the support within the subdivisions in particular
- Interruption of sensitization
- Lack of education within the farming community
- The presence of white ants feeding on young shoots of trees, thus killing the tree
- Bush fires
- Farmer grazer conflicts
- Stray animals
- Lack of commitment to repay loans by some women
To overcome these challenges, CAEPA proposed dates to successfully conduct a meeting. This meeting passed through information and knowledge through the workshops. The use of Mocab was implemented to prevent the white ants from eating up the young shoots of the replaced trees. Furthermore, measurable changes has since been taken in local incomes and job opportunities such as the change in average household income, job creation, revenues, livelihood diversification, market diversification amongst others.
Women were at the center of the project and cooperatives society. They served as the grassroots center to manage the project, particularly the Women Sustainable Development Fund (WSDF). Women actively engaged in the project such as:
- 20 women were involved during the project launch
- 234 women and 27 girls were interviewed on their knowledge of climate change
- 522 women and 225 girls were sensitized on climate change
- 48 women took part during the nursery creation
- 80 women and 19 girls took part in the World Environmental Day activities
- 15 women and 5 girls trained on the fruit tree
- 40women trained on improved clay stoves
- 40women have benefitted from micro loans
Actions taken by the SGP to overcome gender barriers and achieving SGP project goals emerged from the idea of a WSDF. The WSDF was a strategy to encourage women to get involved and reap the benefits from the project. In order to reduce green house effects, the project sponsored and supported the training of women using clay-cooking stoves.
The project was designed to function through a participatory manner. CAEPA would implement project planning to enable the local communities to continue the projects after the funding and that the main beneficiaries were the Mbororo pastoralists Fulani.
Furthermore, this project was implemented by the sub-delegate of MINEPIA to follow up grassroots assistance during transhumance periods, support farming groups through technical support during challenging times, the provision of land to carry out demonstrations by traditional authorities and school principals to design the surrounding environment and the project.
The sustainability components that were involved within this project include:
- Human resources
- Financial resources
- Capacity building
- Community participation
- Raising awareness
- Organizational support for cooperative society groups to combat land degradation and the mitigation of global climate change effects
- Funding for agricultural projects
- Integration of tree information and farming systems
In addition to this, the cooperative created project should be strengthened in terms of capacity building and funding to support more farming groups willing to introduce agro-forestry techniques as an option to combat land degradation.
There were many lessons learnt during this project such as:
- The Bakukumbat subdivision is an inter-tribal land conflict and political hotspot
- Farmer grazer conflict is persistent as climate change has altered not only the cropping cycle but also an increase in pests and diseases within the area
- Changing the behavior is a massive challenge since poverty has left rural dwellers with no option but to search for rapid/ convenient solutions to their immediate needs
- Land dispute issues are also an experience of the Balkumabat subdivision
- Some Transhumance zones have become permanently settled by grass
- Trees, especially the royal palm, are mostly attached with termites, however, Mocab has ensured the survival of the plants
- The demand of condoms by bike riders was high, essential to reduce the spread of the sexually-transmitted viruses within the subdivision
- Improved cooking stoves provides a way to significantly diminish the quantity of wood needed to prepare a meal
- Community members only adapt to this new technology and techniques once they see immediate monetary value
- Chieftancy struggles among Mbororos in Balikumbat
RECOMMENDATION AND CONCLUSION
- CAEPA and partners should advocate for the implementation of the prime ministerial Decree No 2010/0244pm of February 2010 to lay down the condition for the transfer of powers by the state council relating to the promotion of pastoral fish production activities
- More access to funds to support women and community groups
- Expand nurseries with more trees especially hardwood that can store carbon for long
- Encourage the conservation of traditional shrines in the mist of forest
- Follow up to collect and distribute seeds to other grazers
- Encourage the development of improved pastures by pastoralist communities
- Agro pastoral commission should meet regularly to solve farmer/grazers conflict
- Project should target all 5 communities effectively to support youth employment through second generation intensify sensitization on HIV/AIDS. etc
Some women who had benefited from the organization gave testimonies. Some of which include:
- Ma Eli is a palm oil businesswoman for the past 3 years. Ma Eli is a widow with children and although the business has been difficult, she obtained a loan from this organization. Ma Eli claims that she was able to produce 3-5L of oil a week, but now has been able to increase this to 10-15L p/ week. This has raised her capital for business and capacity to send her children to school. She is almost through her reimbursement and can continue her business at a small scale due to her responsibilities.
- Ma Solange owns a tailoring business. Ma Solange’s machine had broken and as she did not have another machine, her primary source of income and livelihood of her business was at risk. With the loan, Ma Solange bought a new machine, which ensures her continued primary source of income.
- Other testimonies include Tonji Mirabel a storeowner, two women into fish business and Kuluh Corbertine who have all benefited from the loans enhancing their business successes.