MINRESI Boss chaired the anniversary ceremony in Yaounde.
The World Agroforestry Centre, has stamped an indelible mark on the lives of over 10,000 farmers in some 400 communities in Cameroon through participatory tree domestication programme. The propagation techniques of tree domestication including grafting and marcotting do not only reduced the long fruiting period but fruits during off seasons. These strides as well as future challenges were at the centre of ICRAF 25th anniversary in Yaounde.
Chairing the event, the Minister of Scientific Research and Innovation, Madeleine Tchuinte acclaimed the initiative saying farmers have acquired knowledge on the multiplication of high value indigenous trees. She mentioned that the Cameroon government will continue to support the efforts of ICRAF to combat poverty and environmental degradation. She however urged the organisation to work closely in the Far North region that faces the challenges of floods and desertification.
Since trees for domestication are chosen by farmers, the Regional Coordinator of ICRAF for West and Central Africa, Dr. Zac Tchoundjeu said it is indicative that research without farmers is unlikely to succeed just like farmers without research are likely to run into problems. To an old hand in agroforestry, Dr. Ebenezer Asaah, who accompanies farmers on a daily basis, the project covers nine of the ten regions in the country. Apart from introducing domestication in Cameroon, Prof. Roger Leakey braved the odds to convince funding bodies for sponsorship.
Prior to the silver jubilee celebration, a field trip took ICRAF's Board of Trustees and the entire staff to Makénéné in the Centre Region as well as Bangoua and Bangangté in the West Region to get a glimpse of the research and development activities of the organisation and how it has helped farmers' part ways with poverty. The group visited Richard Ndeudjui, a nursery farmer at Makénéné who makes FCFA two million as yearly profit from the sales of plants. Philippe Djuigang on his demonstration farm at Bangoua in the West admitted that the integration of agroforestry species into the farming system is beneficial. While at Bangangté, the Executive President of APADER, Roger Kwidja, said the association produced 52,846 plants in 2010, tripled production in 2011 selling at FCFA two million and FCFA nine million respectively.
Beneficiaries like Christophe Misse, Francis Miamo, Florence Anyire, Thaddeus Salah, Demaine Aseh, Marie Anjeh and a host of others will not fail to tell anyone who cares to hear that with the superior varieties of indigenous fruit trees such as African plum, bush mango, African nut and bitter kola, they are financially autonomous. 14 staff received medals during the ceremony.