Strengthening agroforestry and integrated rural development in Cameroon

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The Tayap Eco-Orchards (TEO) project is located in Tayap Village in Cameroon. The project focuses on protecting endangered environment surrounding Tayap Village by reducing deforestation and land degradation. This initiative is led by a local farmers’ association, TEO, which combines climate change mitigation strategies and alternative and sustainable revenue generation through the implementation of an agroforestry system. This system is based on sustainable agricultural practices and works to diversify the local economy through eco-tourism activities. The project also focuses on the inclusion and engagement of women and the youth.

No Poverty , Zero Hunger , Gender Equality , Decent Work and Economic Growth , Sustainable Cities and Communities , Responsible Consumption and Production , Climate Action , Life on Land

Tayap village is located in the Congo Basin forest in Cameroon. It is the world’s second largest rainforest. Due to overexploitation of the forest, rampant logging, and damaging agricultural practices over the past two decades, roughly 120 hectares of Tayap forest is lost annually. Primary forests now represent less than 30% of the total area. Due to the loss of local biodiversity, farmers are experiencing a decrease in crop yields and loss of revenue. TEO responded to the need in their local farming community and offered the Tayap farmers assistance in tackling these challenges.

With the goal of preserving the farmers’ livelihoods and conserving local wildlife and biodiversity in the Tayap region, TEO set out to establish an agricultural system based on the principles of sustainable forest management and agroforestry. Through this integrated and participatory approach, the project established an eco-tourism complex dedicated to the promotion of biodiversity, land and forest rehabilitation, and the conservation of natural resources. The main goal of the program is to reduce the deforestation of the Tayap forest by conserving its 1,400 hectares.

The ecotourism complex was created by the beneficiary community and GIC AGRIPO, a civil society organization. The idea is to enable tourists to stay in an exceptional site while sharing the life with the local community and discovering its culture. Their stay generates income that is invested in the pursuit of ecosystem protection and conservation actions, as well as in socio-economic development projects. Tayap's ecotourism complex offer has been structured around the creation of accommodations and activities. The initial accommodation capacity was limited to four hosting rooms. The ecotourism activities are designed and structured to improve Tayap's natural, agricultural and cultural resources.

The major activities currently available are: the path of the caves which is a walking guided tour to discover the unique natural and cultural heritage of the village; and a guided visit to farms by the owner himself to discover the adaptation model implemented in Tayap to preserve the land. Green classes have been designed and are being conducted, specifically for pupils from various schools. It is a pedagogical program whose aim is to make younger people aware of their environment and the challenges of sustainable development.

The results of the project include the establishment and subsequent management of a Women Sustainable Development Fund that supports sustainable income generating activities through a legalized cooperative. There has been a reduction of unsustainable practices of 60% in Tayap forests, and over 20 agroforestry products from the eco-orchards have been introduced to the local market, including mango saplings and other trees. The program contributes to the fight against deforestation (by reducing the practice of slash-and-burn agriculture) as well as the conservation of primary forest, which still represents 30% of the village area. Slash-and-burn farming is no longer practiced by 10% of farmers in Tayap, saving almost 24 hectares of forest; 60% of farmers have reduced its use, pledging to restore their agricultural fallow by planting orchards, to better manage available fallows, and to reduce the rotation rate of fallows (86 hectares restored). The program promotes the preservation of natural resources and biodiversity, a guarantee of sustainable development in harmony with the forest. Reducing slash-and-burn agriculture helps to conserve forests and associated species, resources valued by the community. By adopting climate-smart agricultural practices, the community preserves its lands. It contributes to climate change mitigation, both by conserving the local carbon sink and increasing it through restoring fallows.

Cameroon

GEF Small Grants Programme , Education for Nature program of WWF USA , French government initiative for social innovation in developing countries , Engineers without Borders Cameroon , SEED award grant , Online UN Volunteers , Kokopelli association

Agriculteurs Professionnels du Cameroun AGRIPO

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