Empowering Poor Landless Farmers in Bana, CameroonTansi Godwill Tansi
Creating hope for a sustainable future.
In the West Region of Cameroon lies Bana, a community made up of many economic migrant workers. Although Bana is largely farmland and its occupants largely farmers, many of the inhabitants here have access to less than a hector of land. Worsening conditions on these lands have led to low food production, which in turn has led to malnutrition and poverty. In an area that depends so much on the land, worsening farming conditions leave little opportunity for success. Enter, the Environment and Community Development Association (ECoDAs) Cameroon, with funding from the Pollination Project, USA and their project entitled: Empowering Poor Landless Farmers in Bana Village, Cameroon. A project dedicated to helping these Bana farmers learn sustainable smart food production leading to better-developed farms and a brighter future. Launched in March and April 2019, the project is on track to meet its goals and has helped numerous farmers meet theirs. Empowering Poor Landless Farmers in Bana Village, Cameroon had five key activities, all of which are very important to the success of the project.
EMPOWERING POOR LANDLESS FARMERS IN BANA, CAMEROON
Sensitization and Mobilization of Project Beneficiaries
Without the willingness and understanding of the farmers in this area, the project would inevitably fail. It was crucial to lay the groundwork to ensure they understood the importance of it, which is why ECoDAs started with introducing 40 farmers to the idea of sustainable agriculture production and organic vegetable production in a formal setting and over 2000 throughout the project, leading to more organic products in the area.
Formation of Vegetable Producer Association
“Dynamic Organic Vegetable Gardeners”, which has gone from 22 to 31, are women farmers who met project criteria and were mobilized into one vegetable producer society. This group was given tools and training on group formation, management and leadership and financial management and resource mobilization with the aid of an ECoDAs prepared curricula organized in several training manuals.
Capacity building training for project participants
Along with the training mentioned above, they also went further to train participants in financial management and resource mobilization, soil improvement techniques, vegetable nursery establishment, and management and monitoring. Giving the participants this knowledge strengthens their ability to succeed on their own with the resources available to them. ECoDAs also provide start-up support by giving seedlings and organic fertilizer to project beneficiaries to ensure that their new tools can be efficiently put to use.
Establishment of a Central Vegetable Nursery and Farmers Field School
With newly trained and knowledgeable farmers, ECoDAs wanted to create something concrete for the farming community and give them the ability to move forward with training others. With the development of a central vegetable nursery, they were able to do just that. The nursery acts as a buffer for project participants as they are starting to use their new knowledge on their own land and allows for trial and error by providing them with new seedlings if theirs do not succeed. This new central vegetable nursery also acts as the home ground for the Farmers Field School. Targeted towards both farmers-to-farmers and ECoDAs-to-farmers learning, the Farmers Field School will provide lessons on things such as proper land preparation. This is a space for both project participants and non-participants alike to learn and grow together, taking steps forward to become both sustainable and successful. To further motivate these farmers, ECoDAs went further to link them to buyers to enable them to convert their products into profit.
A huge success
Participants in the project thus far are quick to talk about the success of the program and how their learnings have helped them in their own homes. From helping maintain and produce in less than ideal landscapes to reducing waste and saving money from using food scraps, these participants are happy they signed up. ECoDAs also provided participants with marketing training, and connected them with potential buyers of their products, giving them the tools they need to build a successful business.. As it has only been a few months since the start of the program, it is safe to assume it will only go up from here. Thanks to The Pollination Project, USA’s financial support, we have been able to change the lives of those in our communities and have a great ambition to keep the learning going. If you have any questions about the Empowering Poor Landless Farmers in Bana Village, Cameroon please don’t hesitate to reach out.
ECoDAs’ work with the community is far from over, they continue to work tirelessly for their communities in Cameroon. The farmers who have already participated in ECoDAs’ training are now able to pay it forward, offering training and support to others in their community and working hard to provide for their family in more sustainable ways.
The team at ECoDAs continues to receive requests from local farmers who are looking for the same training and support. Unfortunately, there are more requests than ECoDAs can handle, which is why they are continuously searching for more funding options.
If you wish to help ECoDAs reach more farmers and better serve communities, please donate by contacting us https://www.ecodascameroon.org/contact-us/
“By next year I am not going to spend my money buying inorganic fertilizer again as I am already collecting more kitchen waste was from my kitchen and from those of my neighbour…Kitchen waste is a resource I didn’t know” – Mme Nfor Shallotte