Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroun: Boosting Non-timber Forest Products

A national strategy was adopted in Yaounde over the weekend.

Actors in the non-timber forest products (NTFP) sub- sector want activities in the area organised. Meeting in Yaounde for two days, experts, most of them from the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, discussed ways and means of rendering the sub-sector more organized by adopted a legal framework that will regulate the sub-sector, reinforcing research and put in place a perfect national management synergy. All these are being developed within the framework of the Project for Institutional Support and Sustainable management of non-timber forest products in Cameroon, for which the Yaounde workshop was organised..

Speaking at the workshop, the project's coordinator, Balomog Jeanne stated that non-timber forest products are diverse and include all the other forest resources besides wood. She said the non-timber forest sector faces problems because it is not well known and mastered, whereas the products that range from fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants, building and furniture material like rattan cane, constitute a source of livelihood to millions of people. According to her, almost everyone exploits or uses non-timber forest products in one way or the other. Mrs Balomog said due to the vast nature of the sub- sector, it is difficult to quantify what its contributes to the national economy but disclosed that from statistics, it injects more than CFA 300 million into the economy yearly.

The Yaounde workshop was therefore aimed at helping the government to maximize the contribution of the non-timber forest products to the socio-economic development of the country through sustainable management and promotion. Research has been carried out on ways boosting the sub-sector and the workshop was a forum to share the findings with other partners. The major concern was on the state of the non-timber forest products in Cameroon, the criteria of identifying the diverse activities to ensure proper promotion, mastery of the areas to be promoted, priorities in capacity building and instruments to be used that will cater for problems. It is with the help of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) that the workshop took place and the outcome was a harmonized national strategy to boost the contribution of the non-timber forest products to the national economy.

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