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Enhancing NDEF Farmers’ Resource Centre for Entrepreneurial Support and Delivery of Livelihood Opportunities to IDPs and Host Communities

The project is to train internally displaced persons and their host communities to gain agribusiness skills and livelihood opportunities

Photo of NDEF Cameroon

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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

The Anglophone crisis in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon has dealt a big blow to the socio-cultural values and economic base of the people whose houses have been destroyed by the war. As villages are burnt up and the crisis persists, persons flee away leaving behind their farms, small ruminants and birds as their means of livelihoods. Many have fled to safer locations such as neighbouring Nigeria, Yaounde, Bafoussam and Bamenda, the Chief Town of the North West Region. The city of Bamenda harbours a large population that needs to feed itself. The demand for food and livestock products is on a steady increase. Although the population of Bamenda and its environs is growing geometrically, given a high influx of internally displaced persons running away from conflict affected villages, the supply of food and livestock products rather grows in arithmetical proportions. More so, young people are abandoning farming to old people in the suburbs and villages. Small farmers usually carry out subsistence farming activities with poor yields leading to malnourished families and little or no surpluses to exchange for cash to pay for health bills and school fees for children. Savings and investments become quite low as an unfortunate consequence. We see a dire need to enhance infrastructures at our training centre in Bamenda to accommodate the growing population and train them to gain a trade in agriculture and be supplied with starter kits in terms of seeds to enable them to earn an honest means of livelihood.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

This idea targets the North West Region of Cameroon. For over three years (2016-2019), life has been brought to a standstill in the Anglophone regions of the country as a war was declared on separatist groups here by the Head of State. Many villages have been literally burnt down, many people killed, some fled to Nigeria and other towns in Cameroon. Many with limited resources to move further are seeking refuge in Bamenda, the capital of the North West Region under very deplorable circumstances

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

Our idea is to have host communities and internally displaced persons in the region empowered with agric skills and supplied with starter seeds(generic) to reduce their vulnerability to food, health and income insecurities. When the means of subsistence are enough for everyone, there is bound to be peace, social cohesion and prosperity. Once the war is over, the returnees will be able to settle in their new places equipped with technical knowledge and seeds to easily reestablish themselves.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

We see training in tree nursery development, plantain multiplication, pig rearing, poultry keeping, beekeeping and raising fish through aquaponics as critical components of biodiversity conservation which will lead to re-circulation and sustainable use of natural resources. By combining aquaculture and hydroponics (aquaponics), this takes care of the two biggest issues they face: a) Aquaponics systems depend on cleaning the water, and b) Hydroponics systems depend on properly adding fertilizers to the water. Trainees from the centre will learn how to produce healthy food with organically recycled inputs leading to more food. Participants will have the joy of growing their own food by themselves. By training farmers and IDPs to be apt in practically designing and managing agroforestry systems for the application of multiple and interrelated agricultural practices for the delivery of multiple streams of benefits to the farmer, this will fulfill their need of hope and dignity.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

Outcomes of the Project Result 1: One farmers’ resource centre is established in Bamenda for training and to serve as a major source of improved seed materials in the event of displaced persons returning at the end of the war. Result 2: 550 participants gain practical knowledge in developing agroforestry and aquaponics systems. Result 3: 550 participating farmers and IDPs acquire skills to rear livestock in their agroforestry systems Result 4: 550 trainees establish farms with supplied starter kits to generate multiple streams of recurrent revenues.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

Planting trees, rearing pigs, rearing poultry, keeping honey bees and raising fish through aquaponics are critical components of biodiversity conservation which lead to a sustainable use of natural resources. When farmers plant a tree for which they have an interest, they would protect it, otherwise they fell it to give way for food crop cultivation. Carrying out these activities in terms of agroforestry is important in that it would greatly contribute to the re-circulation of resources, biodiversity conservation and enhance livelihoods at the same time. Trainees will learn how to produce healthy food. The project will also contribute to empowering women to be economically and socially integrated into society. This resource centre will also help the beneficiaries to have food grown within a shorter period of time so as to arrest a period of starvation that is about cropping up as little is being done to quickly stop the crisis for farmers to return to their farms in the villages.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

Bamenda City is the Regional Capital of the North West Region of Cameroon. It is often referred to as ‘up country’ given the hilly terrain which characterises the territory. The rate of urban sprawl is high as the city is rapidly engulfing villages in the five main directions: a) Nkwen towards Bambili, b) Mankon towards Bafut, c) Mbengwi, d) Bali and e) Akum. Bamenda is a road junction city linking all the seven divisions of the North West Region. Much agricultural land is progressively being used up for building purposes such that the city is being fed from far away divisions and villages with a poor road network which is usually slippery and dusty in the two respective rainy and dry seasons which characterise the region. Bamenda presently harbours thousands of internally displaced persons fleeing the ongoing war from their villages, many of which have been totally erased down by fire as could be watched in the footage videos above. Households in in Bamenda are now overcrowded.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

We are adopting these linked activities in order to reap the benefits inherent in adopting a series of farming activities as a portfolio to spread agricultural risk. Apart from rearing table birds and livestock for their intrinsic value, they provide manure for crop production; food remains from farms would be used to feed livestock; food crops and trees would provide flowers for bees to produce honey and honey bees would increase the rate of pollination and thus lead to a better crop yield. Each of these activities would develop a stream of income leading to multiple streams of income to the Farming Enterprise. This would be a better way of maximizing land use and using natural resources in a sustainable manner. Bamenda harbours a large population that surely needs to feed itself. The demand for food and meat products is on a steady increase. While the population of Bamenda and its environs is growing geometrically, the supply of food and meat products rather grows arithmetically

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

This agroforestry resource centre is not a standalone activity. It would also be important to the Ministry of Livestock as it would contribute to the activities of artisanal fishing, beekeeping, poultry activities and the pig development programme. To the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and sustainable Development, the project would contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change, protecting natural resources and increasing biodiversity. The project is also important to the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife as more trees would be planted and preserved on farm for various uses. The bird life would also increase. The project also makes immense contribution to our technical and research partner, ICRAF, in promoting their research results in propagating or domesticating tree species. These partners will have stakes in the project.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Service: A new or enhanced service that creates value for end beneficiaries

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Pilot: We have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users. The feasibility of an innovation is tested in a small-scale and real world application (i.e. 3-15% of the target population)

Group or Organization Name

National Development Foundation (NDEF) Cameroon

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

NDEF works to empower smallholder farmers to use improved technologies and sustainable practices in agriculture to reduce the vulnerability of their households to food, health and income insecurities while ensuring a sound environmental management. NDEF is an Association working with farmers in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon. The farming community is organised into common initiative groups (CIGs) and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) interested in farming and improving their livelihoods by learning how to catch fish for themselves rather that receiving fish always. We are living the experience of displaced persons on the field live. Our demonstration farm located in Okomanjang Village was abandoned since June 2017 due to the war being carried out in Anglophone Cameroon. Apart from crops being abandoned, the four-room house there is reportedly burnt down by the military.

Website URL:

www.freetocharities.org.uk/ndef

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country

Cameroon

Organization Headquarters: City / State

Bamenda

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