• Research on participatory domestication of indigenous trees in West and Central Africa started in 1996 with the objectives of increasing incomes of rural communities and improving their livelihoods by cultivating indigenous trees and developing strategies for marketing the produce. Though the study was conducted in Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, the present paper only presents data from Cameroon. In Cameroon, the original pilot nurseries have subsequently developed and grown to become Rural Resource Centres providing training in a wide range of skills as well as being the focal points for the diffusion of innovations. Some 200 village nurseries are now active and have become on-farm enterprises producing planting material both for local use and for marketing. Over the years, rural communities have increasingly reported improvements in their livelihoods, diet, health, income generation which have transformed their lives and given them encouragement for a better future. Livelihood surveys conducted in 2008 involved 298 farmers from 15 communities. Interestingly, one of the impacts has been that some young people have chosen to stay in their villages rather than to seek offfarm employment in local towns. Since 2008, tree domestication in Cameroon has also been integrated in a wider rural development programme in the West and North-West Regions, based on the concepts of multifunctional agriculture. This integrated approach to meeting the needs of poor rural communities is further empowering smallholder farmers to develop superior cultivars of indigenous fruits and nut trees and to produce planting stock of leguminous trees and shrubs for soil fertility replenishment. It has also encouraged entrepreneurism in the processing of agricultural products as well as tree products, and stimulated the development of markets for agroforestry tree products. Currently, over 6000 farmers from around 300 communities are engaged in this integrated rural development programme. This has been achieved by enhancing the capacity of technicians from NGOs, extension services and community-based organizations in the skills needed for tree domestication, agroforestry and value-addition at the community level

publication date

  • 2010