From research to farmer enterprise development in Cameroon: case study of kola nuts uri icon

abstract

  • Recent research conducted by ICRAF and collaborators has demonstrated a strong demand for Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) in the humid forest areas of Cameroon. These NTFPs include: Cola nitida, Ricinodendron heudelotii, Gnetum africanum and Irvingia spp. However, farmers find it difficult to achieve good returns from these products, even with viable national, regional and international markets for the products. In response to that, ICRAF-AHT (Africa Humid Tropics) is leading a â??Farmer Enterprise Developmentâ?� project aimed at empowering rural households through the development of appropriate marketing strategies that can be used for a range of products. The innovative approach combines training and development of farmer entrepreneurial skills, the development of NTFPs markets through adding value and developing appropriate technologies to improve product quality, harvesting, storage, processing and packaging. The approach is based on research, development of appropriate technologies, partnerships and farmersâ?? group -enterprise development. This paper looks at the importance of biophysical and market research in order to develop a holistic enterprise development strategy using kola nut as a case study. Results show that there are clear limitations to significantly increasing income from kola nuts business in Cameroon: limited market access, low resource regeneration, limited available capital, and lack of appropriate processing technology. Results also show that kola weevils (Balanogastris kolae & Saphrorhinus spp.), attacking the nuts both prior to harvest and during storage, are the major problem faced by kola producers, wholesalers, retailers and even consumers. Economic simulations have demonstrated that reducing post-harvest losses to 5% and increasing production by 5% could increase the profitability of the kola nut business by 17%. The efficiency of various weevil control methods as used by farmers is assessed in on-farm trials to provide appropriate control approaches. Meanwhile, group- marketing approaches are also evaluated with farmer groups in the Northwest province of Cameroon and links between kola producers and traders are established

publication date

  • 2006