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Developement news | 25 Apr 2012
Farmers told to make use of prunus Africana

Farmers and officials in synergy to regain lost prunus africana in the Muanenguba
Rather than allow the environmental and agriculture friendly plant to go extinct, the farmers were urged to intercrop prunus with short term crops. Speaking during a workshop on the domestication and good harvesting techniques of prunus Africana in Bangem last 22nd February, local officials and some civil society promoters regretted that prunus was disappearing from the Muanenguba highlands.
Prunus that is highly priced for its medicinal barks, the nitrogenous leaves when rot in the field and hard wood is fast disappearing in the Kupe Muanenguba highlands because of unsustainable exploitation.
Similar complaints have been witnessed in the Bamenda Highlands and the Mount Cameroon area where the plant is known to have been harvested unsustainably in the 1980s.

Wishing that the population of the Muanenguba villages consider prunus like an economic plant, Ekonloeh Benedict, the 1st Deputy Mayor for Bangem council said his municipality is fortunate to have such a valuable plant like prunus growing in the area. He outlined the medicinal and economic importance of the plant to local farmers wishing that the area should regain the quantity of the plant unsustainably exploited when the bark was being exported.
To the paramount chief of Bangem, preserving or planting prunus is equal to preserving human life in his area because of the medicinal and economic importance of the plant.

Addressing the participants at the two day workshop in the Bangem Credit Union Hall, Martin Etone, the Coordinator of Community Action for Development, CAD, regretted that despite the value of prunus Africana, the plant that was predominant in the Muanenguba Mountain area was disappearing.
“Prunus has been over exploited using poor harvesting techniques and farming has encroached the forest to the detriment of useful plants”, the coordinator regretted to the participants.

Etone regretted that Prunus africana in Kupe Muaunenguba risks extinction because people have been debarking these trees carelessly and even up to the branches in such a way that the mature trees die.
The participants were drilled among other modules on bad and good harvesting methods of prunus, how to make prunus nurseries, benefits of integrating prunus Africana in farming systems and marketing. Bangsi Song

“Farmers crop prunus for its medicinal properties”,
Ekonloeh Benedict, 1st Deputy Mayor, Bangem
“We had a natural forest at the Muanenguba lake area but some people came from Nkongsamba and harvested unsustainably. So we have little left that risks extinction. The idea of protection and planting came quite late here and many farmers did not take it seriously. We have farmers who have dotted it now and we hope that they cultivate prunus in larger quantities. Farmers intercrop prunus because of its economic and medicinal properties”.

“Prunus is a strong traditional medicinal tree”,
Diame Ngwese, farmer Nkack Nninong
“I have prunus in my farm that I planted in 2000. What prompted us to plant was a workshop by CERUT here in Bangem to encourage us to plant. I have a few trees behind my house. Prunus is a strong traditional medicinal tree but I have not yet started harvesting mine. Many traditional healers use it to cure fever and other ailments. Those who harvested the prunus here were from other places and we did not even know that it was being exported. They came and just gave the village drinks then went to the forest and harvested the plant. The government should stop all exploitation of the tree. We cannot stop them because they pass through the chiefs”.

“Prunus is an income source to farmers”,
Joseph Nwene, Representative Divisional Delegate of Agriculture
“Prunus occur naturally in the Muanenguba mountain forest. There are farmers now who are planting prunus alongside other crops. This is to compensate for the unsustainable exploitation in the mountain which is threatening the wild trees. In this way they will reduce the pressure on the prunus in the mountain. Prunus is an agro forestry species that helps in providing nitrogen when the leaves rot and it also draws up the water table for the benefit of other plants. Prunus is a medicinal plant used by traditional healers here. Prunus is an income source to farmers. Very soon the farmers that have planted prunus will start generating income from the seeds and the bark when the ban will be specifically lifted for prunus farmers to sell”.

“If prunus is no more our traditional healing system will collapse”,
Etone Martin, Coordinator, CAD
“ It is very difficult to see healthy trees of prunus in the Muanenguba Mountain. Even young ones are scarce in the mountain, a sign that there is scarcity of the plant in our area. Farmers should be able to integrate prunus into their farming systems. In this workshop we are trying to get farmers continue planting to compensate for what we have lost in the wild. This will enable the farmers to sell when the ban on the sale of prunus have been uplifted. This is a very strong medicinal plant used at the local level. Many farmers use it to treat ailments like headache, sexually transmissible diseases, if prunus is no more there our traditional healing system will collapse”.

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