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Mount Kilum Ijim
(Mount Oku)

White honey
beeswax

Icone ARBRE EN Icone ONG EN
3,000 CAMGEW
Icone Soutenu EN
AFD

 


The 18 community forests of Mount Kilum Ijim cover an area of 20,000 hectares that surround a beautiful crater lake located at an altitude of 3,011m in northwest Cameroon. They are home to endemic species such as the Bannerman’s Turaco and Bamenda Batis, two bird species particularly threatened by habitat loss.

Flora that has developed in this high altitude area is particularly varied. It has many species such as Prunus africana and Pittosporum veridiflorum whose products are highly sought after by the pharmaceutical industry. The existing combination of melliferous and medicinal species allows for producing a special kind of honey, the Oku white honey. Several hundred traditional hives are present in the forests and contribute to enhancing the value of this exceptional biodiversity.

 

Major issues


The area around Mount Kilim Ijum is one of the most densely populated in Cameroon: 300,000 people live within less than one walking day from forests that are vulnerable to many threats such as the extensive agricultural and animal-farming development, deforestation and bush fires that endanger the ecological balance.

On site, the communities organize themselves: a first cooperative of 1,200 beekeepers was created a few years ago. Beekeepers place their hives in the forests and contribute to forest protection as honey and beeswax products represent a significant share of their income. Since 2013, Oku white honey has even been benefiting from Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). 

 

 

 

The project and the prospects for change

 

The project aims to support farmers in 25 villages to develop economic sub-sectors that are favorable to biodiversity conservation. The organization of and support to beekeepers to create four new cooperatives capable of producing quality honey and wax is expected to result in increases in income from the marketing of these products (on national, regional or international markets) and thus offer communities more incentives to protect production areas.
 
Activities planned include:

  • training of beekeepers in the relevant villages on improved production techniques;
  • structuring of cooperatives and provision of initial working capital;
  • supply of production equipment;
  • establishment of a business strategy and identification of outlets;
  • development of guidelines for proper management of production areas;
  • enriching the forest by planting melliferous species.

The setting up of cooperatives and the opening of two outlets (in Bamenda and Yaounde) should allow for producing and marketing five tons of honey. Regarding wax, the goal is to improve production and its promotion on the domestic market. Trial sales on the international cosmetics market will also be conducted in connection with Man & Nature.

 

Committed partners

 

The NGO CAMGEW has been working with beekeepers since 2012, organizing and training them on honey and wax production. CAMGEW has the objective to protect Kilum Ijim forests as a whole by developing beekeeping. Thanks to its support, the Oku cooperative already produces about forty tons of honey per year in the zone, out of which about ten tons are labelled with the PGI “Oku white honey”. 

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To learn more about this project and its 2017 key achievements, please click on this link.

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