Sustainable Prunus Management

NTFP_Prunus Africana for success storiesMount Cameroun hosts one of the largest populations of Prunus africana in Cameroon. Prunus has an important economic, social, medicinal and scientific value for both local and international communities. Its  bark,  leaves  and  roots  are  traditionally  used  either  singly  or  in  association with  other  ingredients  to  treat a  number  of  ailments  including malaria,  chest infections,  stomach  ache,  rheumatism  and  gonorrhea. Prunus  bark  extract  is also trade internationally  as  the  basis  of  drugs  for  the treatment of   benign prostatic hyperplasia.

With the creation of the Mount Cameroon National Park and the lift of the ban on the exploitation of Prunus in 2010, the Park Service in collaboration with the Regional Delegation of Forestry and PSMNR-SWR have developed a participatory sustainable management strategy for Prunus that maintains the resource base and ensures that its exploitation generates reasonable benefits to support the livelihood of surrounding village communities. The Park is working in partnership with the local communities, represented by MOCAP-CIG, in the management and benefits sharing from Prunus exploitation.

So far:

  • A Prunus africana management plan for Mt Cameroon was elaborated, approved by MINFOF and is being implement by all stakeholders;
  • An agreed benefit sharing mechanism was developed and approved by MINFOF;
  • MoUs were signed and approved by the Forestry Administration between the Park Management and Regional Delegation, MOCAP (representing the local communities) and an economic operator (AFRIMED) who buy the produce;
  • A 100% Prunus exploitation inventory were carried prior to exploitation during which all health Prunus trees with diameter≥30cm were tagged for exploitation;
  • Harvesters were trained by MOCAP and the Mount Cameroon National Park Service,  and certificates awarded by the Regional Delegate;
  • The Park Service in collaboration the Regional Delegation of Forestry, MOCAP and PSMNR-SWR succeeded to negotiate with the economic operator an increased price of 550 FCFA/kg of wet bark (increase from 350 to 550 FCFA/kg);
  • Harvesting is completed in the first exploitation block 1. A total of 68.7 tonnes of wet bark was harvested and sold at 28,4 million of which 12,2 millions were paid to harvesters, 4,5 million to village development funds, 3,9 million to MOCAP, 5,6 million for Park Management and 1,9 million for Prunus regeneration in farms, community forest and communal land.
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With the ongoing harvesting of Prunus in the Park, farmers in the Mt Cameroon region also expressed the wish for their farms to be evaluated and their stock certified granting them the rights to exploit and commercialize their products. In order to address this constant request from farmers, a systematic 100% Prunus inventory in private owned farms/plantation was carried out in 2014 by the Regional Delegation of Forestry with the technical and financial support of PSMNR-SWR.

During the inventory, farmers and their farms were identified, located and registered. All Prunus trees within the farms were measured and recorded. Healthy trees of exploitable sizes (DBH ≥ 30cn) were registered and tagged with serial number. A total of 115 farms and a Prunus plantation were identified having a total of 3379 trees of which 681 trees were of exploitable sizes representing approximately 37.4 tons of wet bark (18.7 tons of dry bark). It is worth mentioning that most of the trees recorded at lower altitudes especially those below 400m were attacked by borers, ants, pests and other diseases.