Saturday, April 27, 2019

Taylor Guitars Plants Trees in Cameroon

one of the ebony trees planted in Donga Mantung of the North West Region

Planting a tree nowadays they say is the greatest gift that anyone can give to humanity due to the phenomenon of climate change and global warming. The Ebony Project, an initiative of the US based Taylor Guitars has kick-started a tree planting project in Cameroon aimed at encouraging greater sustainability. It should be recalled that in 2011, Taylor Guitars took its biggest step to teamed up with the Spanish luthier supply company Madinter to purchase an ebony sawmill in Cameroon, thus becoming the world’s largest legal producer of legal ebony.
As part of the Ebony Project, Taylor has overseen the planting of ebony trees in Cameroon, including a recent batch of 1,500 and an equal number of fruit seedlings, at strategic spots in the dense rainforest. It is projected that an estimated 13,500 ebony trees are planned to be planted by the end of 2020. “The first trees were planted two years ago, and more were planted last year, Taylor says. “This year was incredibly rewarding, as we saw that the survival rate of the previously planted ebony was high, and that the plants had grown considerably. And this year’s plants are even stronger and heartier. Our confidence is high. The involved communities are happy. Honestly, it feels good.” Agroforestry farmers have applauded this initiative. To them, the project will go a long way to improve their standards of living as well as encourage the sustainable management of forest resources. To local government officials, the project is a laudable given that it will curb unemployment and stimulate tree planting in communities.

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Climate Change: Hunger Feared as Prolonged Dry Season Hits Farming Community

 By Nfor B

effects of prolonged dry season on maize and vegetables

In recent years, many regions in Cameroon have witnessed sever changes, ranging from heavy down pour in some localities resulting to flood to prolonged dry season in others. The North West Region and especially Donga Mantung Division have not been left out of these drastic changes. There is abundant reason for the population of Donga Mantung who in a majority rely only on their farms to fear the worst . In the Nkambe plateau (Ndu and Nkambe) for example, the rain fell earlier and farmers planted as early as February 25, 2019 as compared to the previous years. This year, the rain fell too early than it has been the case and no one predicted it was a bad signal.
But the rains disappeared and the sky immediately turned blue in colour after the rains had poured continuously for four days. Those who were hoping to see the rains back by March 15th became frustrated as April showed it ugly nose without any drop of rain. This drastic change has had varied impact on the crops as majority of the crops withered and dried off while others did not even germinate. Tantoh Godwill, a young farmer says he is afraid that he will have to replant given that more than 70 percent of the seed could not germinate due to absence of the rain and extreme heat. “The situation is very precarious and I am afraid we may witness very low yield this year. I have noticed some strange insects destroying young crops in my farm. This is very strange indeed.” Mami Adela on her part predicted that if the prolonged dry season continues to two more weeks, she may lost about 30-40% of the crops that have survived the hardship. The situation has been so pathetic that some farmers want to give off replanting while a majority is struggling to mulch the dusty farms with the hope that the rains will finally come before the month of April ends.
Climate change is real
Notwithstanding, the Divisional Delegate of Agriculture and Rural Development for Donga Mantung Division, Ncham George had earlier warned farmers against early planting due to the changing weather patterns. Farmers who ignored the advice are today pointing accusing fingers at witches and wizards while traditionalists say it is the consequences of abominable acts. However, there have been diverse interpretations and varying contradictory views with regards to the cause of the prolonged dry season. In villages, what is common on the lips of everyone is that witches and wizards went up to the sky to block the rains in order for the population to suffer. Some villagers believe that witchcraft is one of the forces behind the prolonged dry season. And they are anxiously waiting to hear that someone will confuse to that effect as is common in villages. Rumours already went wild that witches and wizards have blocked the sky with rappers.
Another school of thought holds that the absence of the rains is as a result of the curse and abominations committed in the land. “The gods are not happy and our traditional rulers need to appease them”, Nchanji Julius says. To traditionalists like Nchanji, there is the need for the chief priests of the various villages to pour libations to cleanse the land of the bad deeds and practices.
Contrary to the irrational views that are being propagated in the rural areas, some farmers still have the belief that the absence of the rains has nothing to do with witchcraft or any acts of abomination. To them, it is the consequences of climate change and global warming.
Nonetheless, no matter the speculation as to the real cause of the prolonged dry season, one thing is certain that it is going to have far reaching effects on the farmers, communities and the nation as a whole.  Consequently, the poor performance of crops will definitely lead to famine as maize is considered as the only stable food. Besides, it is the only source of revenue to many households. This is so because good harvest signifies more into the family and food availability while a poor harvest emits hunger. Not only hunger, access to potable water has also been a problem. A source at the Nkambe district hospital hinted that the number of typhoid fever cases have tripled as compared to last year. The source further revealed that children are the most affected. Some streams and even inland fish ponds have dried off and farmers have lost almost everything.
Climate change is real and contrary to what many farmers in rural areas continue to speculate. And the effects will be more drastic in rural areas given that majority of the farmers continue to think that climate change is something that is happening far off away from their localities. It is a global problem that demands collective efforts as the effects of the phenomenon continue to spread around the globe. Thank God at the time of writing this piece the sky just turned darker indicating that it may rain.        

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)