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Benoue
National Park

Cashew nuts

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12,000 CERAF
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Man and Nature

 


In Northern Cameroon, among three National Parks, the Bénoué Park is one of the oldest protected areas of the country.

At the foot of the Adomaoua Plateau, the 180 000-ha park is declared "Biosphere Reserve" by UNESCO and hosts many mammal species classified as "Vulnerable" by the IUCN, including the African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana), the Leopard (Panthera pardus), and the Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius).

 

Major issues

 

The influx of refugee populations has resulted in a great increase in the local population, of which 68% live below the poverty line, making Northern Cameroun the region with the highest poverty rate in the country. With low incomes, communities living near the park are all the more tempted to draw resources from the reserves.

Connectivity between the park and hunting areas is increasingly compromised by the important arrival of pastoralists in search of farmland on the west side of the Park. Their installation leads to illegal logging in the corridors, associated with the sale of wood or charcoal. In addition, poaching of small and big game has become ubiquitous in this region; leading to a worrying decrease in animal populations.
 

 

The project and the prospects for change

 

This project is part of a broader work on the territorial governance of Protected Areas in Northern Cameroon. While the hunting sector is losing momentum and demographics are still soaring, it is important to integrate the economic development of green value-chains into regional planning in the periphery of the Bénoué National Park.

As a pilot supported by the PPI-IUCN, the Bénoué National Park Conservation Department has already begun to support the production and distribution of cashew trees on the outskirts of the Park. It has distributed 5,000 plants to the inhabitants of the periphery of the Protected Area; the communities have shown enthusiasm for this value-chain. It is in this promising context that the objective is now set to scale-up the approach as soon as possible, and to validate the emerging model of green value-chain development that is both economically profitable and environmentally friendly.

The goal of the project is to support the production, distribution and planting of cashew trees, in order to promote the sustainable natural resource management by and for the benefit of local communities. This objective translates into follow-up actions in the field, including capacity building and producers’ group organization.

 

Committed partners

 

Created in 2003, the CERAF-NORD (Center for Agroforestry Resources, Forestry and Continuing Education - North) aims to promote sustainable development based on the effective participation of rural and urban communities.

In recent years, CERAF has provided local civil society organizations with technical assistance and training to restore ecosystems.

 

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To learn more about this project, please click on this link.

 

 

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