Immediate results for systematic support to NTFP based enterprise development in Cameroon

Four sites in Cameroon were selected for the implementation of the project: Center-South-Littoral Regions, Northwest Region, Southwest Region and North-Extreme North Regions.

The project has focused in four non-wood forest products, selected for its potential commercial value:

- Honey

- Prunus africana

- Bush mango (Irvingia spp.)

- Gum Arabic

Other products with high commercial potential values that were discovered during the implementation of MA&D and MIS included Neem products (oil, tea), baobab products (leaves and fruits), karite butter, balanites (leaves, grains, oil) , balaka, koutou, Djansang, jatropha, Nsanrebe, bush pepper, voacanga, Gnetum spp.

Main results/outputs achieved within the project in the years 2007-2009 in Cameroon

Intermediate Result 1: Capacity building of small and medium scale enterprises enhanced and sustained 
Training of trainers workshops organised in project sites

  • Through many training the trainers’ workshops, trainers are now better able to train their own groups and organisations on improved production, processing and marketing techniques, supported by technical information and practice. On average, each training session lasted four days to enable trainers share knowledge and skills, during group sessions, during and after each demonstration and in plenary sessions on the final day of the workshops.  All trainings were rated as very useful by participants for providing practical skills. An update on the Recipe booklet used as the main handout includes other techniques demonstrated and discussed during the workshops. Using the Market Analysis and Development approach (MA&D), a total of 83 community groups (with total membership 1126 people, 61% of whom are women) have been trained on enterprise development planning and simplified accounting in the Northwest and Northern regions of the country.
  • Presentations and demonstrations on improved and value added products, domestication using agroforestry techniques and improved processing produces for higher production quantities as well as quality, higher profit margins and greater potential diversification of income have been conducted. A methodology has been developed on the valuation of NWFP Chains in the Congo Basin by the project partner CIFOR.
  • Trainings are being extended to reach a critical mass on domestication techniques, enterprise development planning and implementation as well as market organisation for specified product chains. Future workshops and meetings will provide more insights on the actual impact of the NWFP sector to local, national and regional economies.

Intermediate result 2: Value chains of major NWFP are developed and sustained
Study of production, marketing and consumption of major NWFP

  • Four baseline studies have been carried out on Irvingia gabonensis, honey, gum Arabic and Prunus africana. The information provided in these reports provides useful information and indicators that will help in the evaluation of the impact of the project as well as areas where appropriate interventions are needed for value chain development.
  • Several field missions to  the south-east of Cameroon showed the need to strengthen the bargaining position of the Baka pygmy minority, who are important producers of bush mango (Irvingia gabonensis), to enable them get higher prices to improve their livelihoods. These mission have also created the support of local stakeholders, including the local administration, to launch a local multi-stakeholder process to adapt legislation and its enforcement to the functioning of the value chain’s actors and the management needs of the resource base. This would reduce transactions costs created by officials (‘parafiscality’ at road blocks), thereby increasing revenues of SMFE while cutting consumer prices.
  • Another important outcome of interventions in the Southeast has been the development of a functioning market information system (MIS) that links local producers and buyers through a regular community radio programme, which helps increase transparency in the market enabling women and pygmies to earn higher income per unit of their products. The MIS gives the details on products, where they are found and the current market prices to producers and buyers and enables local producers to assemble their goods under the umbrella of group sales.
  • Missions to Southern Cameroon and the border between Cameroon and Gabon since September 2007 have revealed that there are new market niches for Irvingia gabonensis used in cosmetics in France and in South Africa. Furthermore, there is a possibility to increase rural communities’ revenues through the organisation of group sales. The major challenge of establishing micro-credit funds to help producers to stock their NWFP until sale price peaks is being reviewed in partnership with local financial institutions. A greater number of local  groups have grasped the conservation techniques and the quality requirement for Irvingia gabonensis. Crossborder trade of Irvingia gabonensis is important between Cameroon, Nigeria, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
  • To facilitate the extraction of Irvingia gabonensis kernels from the fruit, a splitting machine have been developed and 200 produced and distributed to local groups. The machine would enable them to produce greater quantity of  Irvingia gabonensis kernels during the next production and thus increase their revenue from the product.

Meetings organized with different participants involved in the relevant value chains

  • Honey Residue Monitoring Plan: On September 19, 2007, a meeting attended by 8 people was organised by the project to launch preliminary discussions on European Union Residue Monitoring Plan (RMP). The RMP is a risk assessment of honey production and processing methods that must be carried out by any country wishing to export honey to the European Union. NGOs and exporters in Cameroon are interested in honey exports and would like to work with the Ministry of Livestock and Animal Products (which is in charge of the honey sector) to get this agreement.
  • The project participated in various workshops to inform participants on the economic potential of NWFP and small-scale forest enterprises and their contribution to the economic development of Central Africa a) North-West regional meeting for the revitalisation of the Federation of Bee Farmers of Cameroon, Bamenda, October 17, 2007. b) Study tour on enterprise development and the business climate organized in Cameroon by GCP/RAF/398/GER to show the synergies between GCP/RAF/398/GER and GCP/RAF/408/EC, Bamenda November 2007 c) Planning workshop of SNV’s activities in the framework of the project, Mbalmayo, Cameroon, November 2007 d) Workshop on problem analysis, assessment of impacts and status of the Prunus africana chain, Bamenda, November 22-23, 2007.
  • The project collaborated with the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, Social and Artisan Economy (MINPMEESA) and the Director of Small and Medium Enterprises believes a) There is a need to formalise the sector of NWFP and small and medium enterprises; b) there is also a need to encourage small and medium enterprises to organise and group themselves to exploit economies of scale.
  • The project participated in a two-day preliminary technical assessment workshop in Sangmelima organised by SNV as Thematic Leader for Community-based Forest Management (CBFM),. The workshop brought together a total of 23 participants representing five (05) stakeholder groups: forestry/wildlife administration, development partners of MINFOF, grassroots oriented civil society organisations, the press and independent consultants.  Globally, the workshop set out to initiate the assessment/updating of the Forest Policy, Law N° 94-01 du 20 January 1994 and its accompanying texts with a focus on CBFM.  Within the same framework, the project participated in a two-day preliminary technical assessment workshop (28-31 October 2009) at Buea organised by SNV as Thematic Leader for Community-based Forest Management (CBFM),

Intermediate result 3: Techniques for sustainable management of NWFP are reinforced, especially harvesting and domestication

Prunus being harvested in Mount Cameroon
  • Inventory of Prunus africana: The project has completed the inventory of Prunus africana in the Southwest and Northwest regions of Cameroon with results showing the stock and availability of Prunus africana in the wild, in plantations and in community forests. Given the importance of Prunus africana for the livelihood of rural communities, this inventory has helped the Government of Cameroon to better allocate quotas for the rational exploitation of this valuable resource. In addition the Prunus study has led to the development of a Prunus africana management plan in Cameroon by the project partners and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF). The major impact of this is that the results may be used to raise arguements for unbanning Prunus africana exports to European Union member countries (the main product market).
  • Study of Arabic gum in natural stand: A study on Arabic gum, the domestification of which is vital in the country, in natural stands has been completed, which provides a solid data base on actual production, types of management and the structure of Acacia species in natural stands. The study provides an estimation of potential production through regeneration and the relationship between production and soil types and characteristics. The geographical areas of Arabic gum production in the northern regions have been mapped. Another study was concluded by SNV on the socio-economic aspects of the value chain of gum Arabic in the North and Extreme North regions. Market studies on  the sales of improved plants of gum Arabic have also been carried out in the northern regions of the country.
  • Rehabilitation and creation of nurseries: Through participatory domestication and commercialization workshops involving both men and women, the project has trained several NWFPs nursery technicians in the North, Extreme North, South and Northwest regions of the Country. To concretize the trainings, an appreciable number of nurseries have been created and/or rehabilitated in the North and Extreme North regions. The project helped also to create and upgrade nurseries bearing Acacia senegal and other fruit trees in the northern regions of Cameroon. More nurseries are envisaged for other products in other project sites. Participatory domestication of valuable NWFP reconciles sustainable resource management and the fight against rural poverty. A tool kit has been developed for the vegetative propagation, domestication and sustainable harvesting of Prunus africana.

Intermediate result 4: A functioning legal and institutional framework is adapted to NWFP actors and enterprises in Central Africa

  • The role of this project included sensitizing all types of Cameroonian people on the Forestry Law in general and NWFPs in particular. The popularisation document has been finalised and is being distributed including possible articles in the Law that need reformulation and adaptation to the socio-economic realities of the NWFP sector in Cameroon.
  • The project participated in a workshop organised by another FAO project to discuss the guidelines for harmonizing NWFP legal framework in Central Africa and made a presentation in plenary on “Major constraints to the legal framework affecting NWFP in Central Africa.” Participants were informed on the major legal and institutional challenges that affect the NWFP sector in Central Africa. Indeed small and medium forest based enterprises will never develop if the legal and institutional framework are not favourable to them.
  • Once the guidelines are approved (COMIFAC’s meeting of experts positively advised to this effect) during the upcoming board meeting of Ministers in charge of forests of Central Africa, the project will start working on the improvement of the legal framework according to the guidelines and develop appropriate legal instruments through a product-oriented, multi-stakeholder approach in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The methodological approach will be adapted to other countries in Central Africa.
  • In Cameroon, partners of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) meet on a regular basis to discuss issues related to sustainable forest management and livelihood improvements. Within this framework, the project organised a thematic meeting on Non-Wood Forest Products which was presided by the Director of the promotion and processing of forest products of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife of Cameroon. The meeting was also attended by other representatives of the MINFOF, the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, Social and Artisan Economy (MINPMESA) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER).
  • The objectives of the meeting were to show the importance of NWFP in poverty alleviation and in improving food security and the need to include them in national poverty reduction strategies and programs put in place by the government. A working group led by FAO was created to promote NWFP in Cameroon.
  • The project elaborated a popularization document on the legal framework governing the exploitation and marketing of NWFP in Cameroon and a Sub-regional guideline on the sustainable management of NWFP of plant origin in Central Africa".  This document contains in its first part a synthesis of the measures of the Forest Law N°94 / 01 of 20th January 1994 and the Decree N°95 N°95/531/PM 531 of 23rd August 1995, fixing the modalities for the exploitation of forest products specifically NWFP of plant origin. The Guidelines are found in the second part.
  • The project also suggested possible articles to be amended in the Forest Law in relation to NWFP. All these documents will serve as references during upcoming multi-stakeholder dialogues and meetings that will be organized by the project, the objective of which will be to collect pertinent recommendations for submission to the MINFOF to guide the improvement of the legal framework of NWFP in Cameroon.

Training activities organised

  • Planning and launching of project activities in Kribi, Cameroon with all partners (governments of Cameroon and Democratic Republic of Congo, FAO, SNV, CIFOR, ICRAF)
  • Honey exporters meeting attended by 20 people: SNV, FAO, Government officials, potential honey exporters.
  • Honey training trainers workshop attended by 47 participants.
  • North West regional meeting for the revitalisation of the Federation of Bee Farmers of Cameroon attended by 47 participants.
  • Prunus problem analysis, assessment of impacts and status of the chain attended by 48 participants.
  • Planning workshop organised by SNV in Mbalmayo, Cameroon, attended by 35 participants.
  • Training of facilitators in phases 1 and 2 of the Market Analysis and Development (MA&D) approach in Cameroon.
  • Training of facilitators in phase 3 of the Market Analysis and Development (MA&D) approach in Cameroon.
  • Business skill training. This training was organised for managers of small and medium forest enterprises involved in the bush mango (Irvingia spp.) value chain in Mbalmayo, Ebolowa, Sangmelima, Ngoulemakong and Djoum. It was attended by 11 participants (5 women and 6 men).
  • Workshop for the Formation of a Platform for Prunus Actors in the South West Province. The workshop, which took place at the Pan African Institute for Development West Africa, was organised by SNV Highlands Bamenda. It aimed at organising actors in the prunus value chain and to provide scientific information that could help lift the export sanctions on Prunus africana from Cameroon. The workshop was attended by 31 participants with 27 men and 4 women drawn from the four divisions (Fako, Lebialem, Kupe Muanenguba and Manyu) where prunus is found in the South West region.
  • Training in the domestication of Irvingia gabonensis in Sangmelima and Ngoulemakong (South Cameroun). The training was organised by ICRAF in Sangmelima and Ngoulemakong (South of Cameroon) and was attended by 60 participants (19 women and 41 men) who came from various villages, producer organizations and NGOs involved in the Irvingia gabonensis value chain.
  • Domestication training of Acacia senega in Garoua and Waza (North and Extreme North regions of Cameroon). The trainings were organised by ICRAF in Garoua and Waza (North and Extreme North Cameroon) and was attended by 57 participants (17 women and 40 men) who came from various villages, producer organizations and Common Initiative Groups (CIG) concerned with the Acacia senegal value chain.
  • Training on domestication of Prunus africana and other agroforestry tree species in Belo (Northwest region of Cameroon). The training was organised by ICRAF in Belo (North-West province of Cameroon) was attended 31 participants (03 women and 28 men).
  • Meeting between the public and the private sector, Douala-Cameroon. The meeting was organised by ICRAF in Douala (Littoral region of Cameroon) and was attended by 36 participants including nursery specialists, producers, processors, retailers, exporters as well as representatives of the Government and international organizations.
  • Trianing in accounting and financial management for small and medium enterprises was organised by SNV in Mbalmayo, and was attended by 11 participants (5 women and 6 men) from NGOs and farmer groups.
  • Planning meeting for project activities in 2008 and Steering Committee meeting of the project.
  • Planning meeting for project activities in 2009 and Steering Committee meeting of the project.
  • Harmonization and launching of phase 1 of market information system (MIS) by SNV.
  • Assessment  of phase 1 of market information system (MIS).
  • Harmonization and launching of phase 2 of market information system (MIS) by SNV.
  • Assessment  of phase 2 of the market information system (MIS).
  • Workshop on situation analysis of the bush mango value chain in the South West Province.
  • Training on geographic information system (GIS) by SNV.
Launching of the poject activities, December 2007

Reports available on this project:

Technical reports

Workshop reports

Policy documents

Reports from the field 



For further information please contact:

Tieguhong Julius Chupezi
Regional Project Coordinator and National Coordinator for Cameroon
FAO Representation to Cameroon
P.B 281 Yaoundé
Telephone: +237 22 20 24 72
Telefax: +237 22 20 48 11
Email 1:
Email 2:


Jeremie Mbairamadji
Forestry Officer
Forest Economics, Policy and Products Division
Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla- 00153 Rome-Italy
Tel. +3906-570 53603
Fax. +39 06-570 55514

last updated:  Tuesday, July 29, 2014