Bio-fertilizer nurturing local economic growth in Cameroon

Campo-Ma'an and Dja et Mpomo Model Forests, Cameroon

Since 2013, the African Model Forest Network has facilitated the distribution of bio-fertilizers to stakeholders in the Campo-Ma'an (southern region) and Dja et Mpomo (eastern region) Model Forests in Cameroon. Bio-fertilizers provide eco-friendly organic agro-input and are more cost-effective than chemical fertilizers. Through their use, healthy plants can be grown while enhancing the sustainability and the health of the soil. The micro-organisms within bio-fertilizers have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen and fight against diseases, drought and environmental stress.
 
To ensure long-term access to the bio-fertilizer, the African Model Forest Network helped to establish a Bio-fertilizer Production Centre in Abong-Mbang. A recently published report by the African Model Forest Network points to the success of this eco-social enterprise, established through a project titled “Eco-Agricultural Business for Climate Change Adaptation” (B-Adapt). It has worked to increase food security, resilience and economic development for community level actors within both the Model Forests.
 
The Bio-fertilizer Production Centre has accomplished the following:

  • Job Creation for Young People: Unemployment is high in the Eastern region and specifically in urban areas such Abong-Mbang, particularly among women. When the Centre is in full production, it employs 20 people (60% women) full time. A tontine system (collective savings) is being developed to strengthen the spirit of solidarity among employees.

  • Increased Demand and Production of Bio-fertilizers: From an initial production of 200 kgs of bio-fertilizers in August 2014, production at the Centre reached 2 tonnes in November 2014 and a production of 20 tonnes has just been released in February 2015. The Centre is responding to the increased demand of small-scale farmers, large agro-industrial producers and other associations in the Model Forests.

  • Developed a Marketing Strategy and Sustainability Center:  Based on the African Model Forest Network’s social entrepreneurship model, the Centre aims to meet the needs of the greatest number of agricultural producers possible while offering a high quality product at a low cost, accessible to rural communities.

  • Partnership Development: In 2013, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER) , eager to contribute to sustainability of eco farming techniques in Cameroon, allocated 2 hectares of free land to the African Model Forest Network to use as a testing and control site. A collaborative agreement with MINADER is currently in development to expand the Bio-fertilizer Production Centre to a national level. As well, a collaborative agreement is also being formalized between the African Model Forest Network and the Forest-Savannah Sustainability Project implemented by several universities (Kyoto, Yaoundé I, Douala and Dschang) and the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD) to develop and popularize the production chains.

The African Model Forest Network’s Bio-fertilizer Production Centre marks the transition from a project to an eco-social enterprise that is sustainable, economically profitable and viable over the long term. It’s a reflection of the Model Forest’s strategy of developing a network of social enterprises that can, in a short time, create wealth at the rural level.
 
The B-Adapt project was a partnership between the African Model Forest Network and CUSO International, supported by the Canadian government through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (Canada Fund for African Climate Resilience).
 

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