ORGANIC VEGANISM:The Way Forward
My vision is for one- third (1/3) of the North West Region of Cameroon should be vegan by 2050
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Happy World (Peace & Green Village)
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small NGO (under 50 employees)
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Bamenda, North West Region, Cameroon
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
The North West Region covers an area of 17.300km sq.It is found in the western highlands of Cameroon with a population of 1.969 million
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
I hail and reside in the North West Region of cameroon and i believe "charity begins at home". The place is important to me because there has been an increase in food insecurity in this area over the last decade.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Northwest Region is one of the 10 regions & it is conflict hit. Its English speaking comes from British colonization after the defeat of Germans. The region is noted for many ethnic groups and local languages, with immigrants from other regions and countries inclusive. The native population comprises a variety of ethnic and linguistic groups. Administratively, the Region is controlled by a governor. The region is made up of seven divisions; Mezam, Momo, Bui, Donga-Mantung, Menchum, Boyo and Ngoketunjia Division which local traditional rulers of the various ethnic groups and mayors heading the various local councils. About 80% of the rural population depends solely on agriculture and a livestock sub-sector. There is fishing in some parts of the region. They have diverse religious background categorized into 4 groups – Christians, Muslims, Traditionalists and a minority of other religions like Sikhism, eckist, etc Food crops include rice (mostly in the Ndop Plain and some parts of Boyo and Menchum division), potatoes (in Bui and Mezam Divisions), and beans (from throughout the region) Maize, plantains, cocoyam’s, Irish and sweet potatoes, cassava, plantains, banana and yams are also produced from all across the region. There are more than 20 different types of edible vegetables (huckleberry, cabbage amaranths, pumpkins, etc) and fruits a great number of fruits like mangos, guavas, passion fruits, plums, pears, lemon, oranges, pineapples etc. Other food produce include turmeric, ginger, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms etc. These food crops are used to prepare a variety of tasteful dishes like achu, fufu-corn,khati-khati etc. Animal products are relatively more expensive to buy than plant produce. The topography of the Region is generally mountainous and undulating, characterized by abrupt escarpments towering, mountain peaks, deep valleys, broad alluvial plains. The highest point of the Region is mount OKU (in BUI Division) with an altitude of 3011 masl. The topography of the Region greatly influences the climate of the areas around. The high mountains and plains are either very cold or hot respectively. The Region has two distinct seasons which are very conducive for agriculture. The dry season starts from mid-October to mid-March; and the rainy season begins from mid-March to mid-October. The vegetation is predominantly savannah with shrubs dotted here and there. However, dense forest of the tropical nature can be found in certain parts of the region. There are vast number of rivers, springs, lakes and brooks which are mostly found at the valleys of its numerous hills. The population is also suffering from increase in food insecurity with conflict in land use, increase use of chemicals during farming, increase in food related diseases and hunger. There is also increase production of chemical drinks which are damaging to the health of the local population. The people are receptive to new ideas that will increase food security.
What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
The environmental challenges to food security are the negative effects of the animal industry to the environment. Animal farms made up of cows, goats, chickens; rabbits etc produce methane gas which warms the planet faster than CO2. Vast forests in some divisions are being cleared for animal grazing. There is increase use of inorganic fertilizers, pesticides, poor waste management, cutting of trees, waste bottles and plastics from drinks. The animal diet and inorganic products promotes cancers, heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, e-coli, swine flu, bird flu, weaker immune system etc. There is Poor preservation of these animal products because improper energy supply. Also most people rear these animals in their homes which releases methane and pungent smell from their waste which is bad for health. The production of chemical artificial drinks increases risk of diabetes and obesity. Meat is not properly cooked because it requires much cooking fuel; meat diet causes short life expectancy. Most at times these animals are not examined before being slaughtered for consumption. The animal farmers are also at risk because they are constantly in contact with some sick animals. Economically, 70% of the population is engaged in agriculture. Poor yields, high demand has led to increase food prices. There are very few industries for the production of vegan products like Tofu and gluten. Animal products are relatively more expensive to purchase and grow. The local population uses lots of grains to feed animals. Cattle constantly encroach into farms destroying crops causing conflict between herdsmen and farmers and food shortage. Culturally there is gender inequality because most women carry out cultivation. The men are mostly cattle herdsmen especially among the hausa’s and Mbororo’s. Traditionally, most feasts have animal or their products for ritual rights like funerals, marriages, enthronements etc. Most of Our traditional dishes have animal products as ingredients. For religious feasts, animals are slaughtered and cooked as a sign of celebration. Technologically we use local farming tools, natural fruit drink machines are not affordable, lack of awareness on modern technology for cultivating, no research, poor storage equipment, no farm to market roads. The government and other for profit and nonprofit organizations policies generally don’t pay attention to veganism and halting the meat industry. There is Increase importation and production of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. There have conventions which encourages animal farms. There are no laws to change from production of chemical drinks to the production of natural drinks. The 2020 challenges for the region is an armed conflict for the past three years which has caused people to escape from the insecure rural areas to the cities. They have abandoned their farms. The military has cleared vast amounts of farms and forest for security purposes. Catering for animals during war is costly.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
An organic vegan diet will reduce the number of animal farms in the society and this will in turn reduce the amount of methane gas that is produced thereby halting global warming. A single cow produces 700 ml of methane a day. Organic vegan farming absorbs C02 from the atmosphere thus protecting the environment and our health. The use of organic manure replaces the harmful chemical fertilizers which are harmful to the environment and to our health. It will also lead to a reduction in deforestation and over grazing as less land is needed for plant based farming. Vegan organic farming requires less energy to produce and store food produce unlike animal based food which requires a lot of energy. An organic vegan diet leads to stronger immune systems, long life expectancy, reduces the risk of cancers, hypertension, type II diabetes, swine flu, bird flu and more. There will also be less inhaling of methane gas which is dangerous to our health. The production of natural drinks replacing chemical drinks will reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity. It will make use of locally farmed fruits which will increase employment and income for the local population. Organic vegan farming is less expensive to run and leads to high yields. It also solves the problem of wastage of grains, land and water to feed and produce animals. There will actually be enough food to feed the entire region. The farmers will inturm make more pofits from high yields. Organic vegan farming saves money for our local government because less money is needed to subsidise plant based farming. They will also spend less in subsidising and food related diseases and to fight climate change.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
The North West region is facing an armed conflict 2016 which has let to financial constraints. As a region affected by conflict, the lives of the inhabitants will be better as there will be more nutritious food available for everyone. Vegan food is highly affordable It is readily available especially as it can be locally and flexibly grown It can be conserved for a longer period of time especially the grains unlike animal products which can’t easily be conserved especially with the power outrages experienced. Animals are more vulnerable to war because they require more money, water land to produce and most of them die because improper care during wars. In the long run, there will be a reduction in climate related diseases and animal related diseases. There will also be a reduction in the production of some greenhouse gasses that will lead to improvement in health and global warming. There will be more money for the governments to develop the region because money will not be wasted to cut down carbon emissions as reduction of animal farms will lead to reduction of methane (free of charge) The inhabitants will have a long life expectancy and stronger immune systems because of the constant intake of organic vegan diets.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
The vision for the North West Region of Cameroon is an Organic Vegan food system
A vegan diet is beneficial to the health of North west inhabitants because is will reduce the increasing rate of cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure and other meat related diseases. Secondly, there will a reduction in methane gas, nitrous oxide from animal farms which increases the rate of global warming. Meat products are energy intensive and releases alot of carbon dioxide because most of them require refrigerators to store them. 70% of all agricultural land in the region is used to grow grains and food stuff to feed animals. A vegan diet will provide more land space to grow food for the population thereby reducing the rate of food shortages. The culture and religion of the people encourages livestock production to a certain extend it also discourages to a smaller extend because some traditions and religions preach non violence to animals. Technologically, the people of the region are not technologically advanced because 50% of their food is locally produced through traditional agricultural means and then 50% is imported from all across the world. Traditional and government policies generally do not pay attention to promoting veganism.
The stakeholders involved in the food system vision have a vital role to play in making the vision a reality. The local farmers who do livestock farming and those who cultivate crops can decide to stop animal farming and do more of crop cultivation. Importers and retailers can decide to import and sell more of products. Restaurants should cook and sell more of vegan food. Doctors should council and educate patients to switch to a vegan diet, traditional rulers should stop the use of animals for rituals, religious leaders should educate the population on the advantages of veganism and should discourage the killing of animals during religious feasts. Local Women groups and organisations should be sensitised on the advantages of the vegan diet and encourage them to cook more of vegan meals at home. The media should play a vital role in promoting veganism and vegan recipes. Local non profit organisations should be created and encouraged to do more advocacy for veganism Government can subsidize vegan farmers and product and put a ban on the production and importation of animal products. International organisations should fund vegan organisations in the North West region of Cameroon.
The challenges to an organic vegan food in the North west region is the culture and religion of the people. Almost all traditional rituals require animals and religious feast like Christmas, Ramadan and Easter require the killing of animals and birds for celebration .Also some cultures especially the Muslim culture encourages animal farming because people who own large farms are considered as rich people and well respected in society. Secondly, about 70% of the population is ignorant about the importance of the whole concept.
The people of the region are facing challenges with the quality and quantity of food, environmental challenges which are affecting their food security. We have a variety of vegan food which if boosted up will make available food for the whole region and stop the problem of food shortage. Much of our land is used for grazing animal and to grow feed for animals whereas about 40% of the population is underfed. The increase use of chemicals during faming is because majority of the farmer are in remote areas that are not aware of the ills to health and environment. The North West Region has all what it takes to be vegan because we have mushrooms, soybeans, flour from wheat and potatoes to replace meat. Too many people are sick of meat and climate related diseases but don’t know how to be vegan.
Furthermore, almost every family has a variety of fruit trees growing in their homes but there is absence of technology to transform these into natural fruit drinks so they rely on chemical drinks for consumption which is not healthy for them. The production of drinks will in turn reduce unemployment and poverty for the local population.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?