15 Jan 2020 – On 26-28 December 2019, INBAR’s Central Africa Regional Office organised a joint training on site-species matching for service level managers in Cameroon.
The Inter-Africa Bamboo Smallholder Farmers Livelihood Development Programme, funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), aims to enhance the incomes, livelihood and climate change adaptive capacities of smallholder farmers, women and youths in Cameroon, Ghana, Ethiopia and Madagascar by upscaling their participation in climate smart bamboo value chains. One of the key measurable outcomes of this programme is a reduction in land degradation, which this practical training, which followed a successful theoretical session organised on 15 May 2019, contributed towards.
The session saw the participation of 28 trainees, representing a wide range of local stakeholders, including relevant government ministries and agencies (Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National Forestry Development Agency); research institutes (Institute of Agricultural Research for Development); training institutions (the National School of Water and Forestry); civil society organisations (Forest and Rural Development); private sector experts; local nurseries and smallholder farmers involved in nursery activities; plantation establishments; restoration initiatives and sustainable land management.
Training on Site-Species matching
The main purpose of the training on site-species matching was to improve the knowledge of trainees on the adaptability of bamboo to the various agro-ecological conditions in Cameroon, identification of suitable bamboo species (whether exotic or indigenous) to match these these conditions, and assessing the suitability of bamboo for restoring degraded landscapes in Cameroon.
This two day training was conducted by Mr. Noupa Paul, a professional ecologist with many years of experience. Different lively, interactive facilitation techniques were used during the course of the training, including group discussions and brainstorming, question and answer sessions, and short demonstration videos. T he following topics were covered amongst others;
- Ecosystems in Cameroon;
- Species of bamboo and their adaptability to conditions of the planting environment,
- Establishment of nurseries destined to supply bamboo plantations,
- Tools used to evaluate the quality of soils destined for the plantation of bamboo,
- Farm preparation for planting,
- Community organisation.
Training on bamboo propagation
The training on bamboo propagation and nursery establishment was conducted on the third day. This training was the continuation of the theoretical phase successfully organised on 15 May 2019 and was purely practical, designed to pass-on practical skills to trainees in the area of bamboo nursery establishment and techniques of bamboo propagation.
The training was conducted at Ekali 1, a community located 30km away from Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé. Ekali 1 is host to a community bamboo nursery established by the Inter-Africa project team, with help from the Cameroonian Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife.
The trainees and the project team were received at Ekali 1 by the head of the community, who gave the project and team his blessings. The community head (see left) together with other community members greatly assisted in facilitating access to the community bamboo forest located a kilometre away from the nursery site. Here trainees were shown the different criteria used to identify culm age and how suitable propagules are being harvested for propagation. These propagules were then transported to the nursery site where different methods and techniques of pretreatment, transplanting and post treatments were demonstrated to the trainees. The trainees were equally trained on the fabrication of low cost bamboo propagation beds and had the opportunity to carry out all the demonstrated nursery operations themselves. At the end of the day, all trainees expressed their satisfaction as to the quality of knowledge acquired.
The new knowledge acquired by the 28 trainees, which included 10 women, will increase the capacity of local communities in planting material delivery systems and management. It is hoped that the establishment or development of existing nurseries by smallholder farmers will serve to empower them through the income generated through the sales of bamboo planting material to other farmers. Training institutions will add teaching on bamboo as part of their curriculum, while research institutes will be involved in research to improve the propagation methods.
Training workshops like this one, a key part of INBAR’s work in the region, directly benefit local people from farmers to artisans and consumers. It is only through collaborative work with local stakeholders like this that INBAR’s overarching global mission and objectives can be met.
For more information on the Inter-Africa Bamboo Smallholdrs Development Programme, click here.