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Re: Forests and trees provide benefits for food security and nutrition– what is your say?

Mr. Tcharbuahbokengo NFINN Director General; Federation of Environmental and ...
18.02.2013
Tcharbuahbokengo

Introduction: Cocoa cultivation has proven significantly to increase rural household income, reduce fuel wood energy consumption, conserve forests biodiversity and their watersheds, reduce land degradation, deforestation, open bush fires, and provide options to adaptation mitigation to climate change challenges. It continues to be the better side of the hidden agenda in curbing CO2 emissions from land degradation and deforestation, a concept which is farfetched in the United Nations agenda, instead concern is diverted into unjust initiatives in curbing CO2 emission from deforestation and forests degradation. Cocoa cultivation has for long shaped food insecurity challenges and improves food security dialogue among forests and Cocoa producing communities in Cameroon. However, there are some challenges which affect its production, processing and marketing including poverty, lack of capacity and liberalization policy.

Poor Knowledge; Poor Knowledge on liberalization policy implemented by governments, Poor knowledge to bargain and search better markets, Poor knowledge of pest and pesticides application, Poor knowledge to engage in alternative income generating activities, lack of education on modern farming methods and research advancement, Poor knowledge of processing and marketing of Cocoa and Cocoa products, Poor knowledge on their rights to land and the environment.

Poverty: Lack of inertial capital has had huge impact on cocoa production and access to credits and loans to purchase agricultural inputs and influence quality, organic or fair-trade production, for example purchase of transportation equipments to reduce child labour and long working hours, build Warehouses to store dried Cocoa Beans and to construction of farm-to-market roads.  

The impacts of these factors have been vast, including resistance to insect pests to particular chemicals. There has been a big push to rural - urban migration by the youths and working population to search for better opportunities around the world leaving the old and the young back home helpless.This has helped to promote;

Child labour, prostitution and trafficking, poor hygienic and sanitation conditions, disease prevalence, Malaria and HIV/Aids, Hunger and malnutrition.

Damages and wastes in Cocoa production is a common experience among the farmers, with an annual loss of over 30% of production.

From insect pests like the Capsides Bugs causing ripening of immature Cocoa pods, damages from Parasites causing death of Cocoa trees e.g. mistletoe, damages from Coco Yam, Cassava cultivators who by the cause of tilling the ground cut the roots of Cocoa trees, damages caused by Black pod Cocoa disease when fungicides are applied at the wrong times and especially during heavy storms. Sometimes these pesticides are labeled to give a different image of a particular product where as they may be dangerous to crops and farmers.

Damages caused by Overheat when trees are exposed to direct sunlight. 

Cocoa agro forestry sector in Cameroon remains the best means of managing and protecting forests, land, water and all other issues of biodiversity as a means to promote sustainable development and combat rural poverty and hunger especially as 75 % of the country's population depends on its production. Solutions will be to:

Provision of loans and pre-financing to farmers to assist promote cultivation and trade, Increase capacity building within these communities,

Provide market and fair-trade opportunities for agricultural production,

Build infrastructural development for farm to market roads, farm-to-farm roads and warehousing and drying facilities, Support for agricultural inputs like, spraying machines, fungicides, transportation vehicles (trucks)

The Green Economy is fundamental but except key players appear the development agenda, it becomes difficult to ascertain from the reality of Climate Change.

Key words: CO2, sustainable development, green economy, food security, climate change