Domestication of Non Timber Forest Products
Wild stocks of a number of non timber forest products (NTFPs) of
economic, cultural and medicinal importance in Cameroon are currently
threatened due to unsustainable and over exploitation in response to
national and international market demands, poverty, ignorance and
agricultural expansion. Stocks closer to residential and farming areas
are increasingly being depleted causing local people to cover longer
distances into the forest to find them.
Eru Cultivated in an Agro Forestry Setting
CENDEP adopted the principle of ‘conservation through cultivation’
and enrichment planting for NTFP species which have potential for
on-farm cultivation to ensure their existence and availability in the
long term and to offset deficits that may arise in demand and supply
from production in the wild.
One of the threatened NTFPs is Gnetum spp (Eru). It is a
highly priced and harvested NTFP in the forest regions of Cameroon.
Because of free access and high demand, there has been an influx of
commercial exploiters from neighboring countries. This has resulted in
the fast depletion of the wild stocks but no data is available to
substantiate this as no comprehensive inventory is available.
Over the last decade, the Limbe Botanic Garden (LBG) has researched
and developed sustainable ways of cultivating eru for both income
generation and biodiversity conservation purposes. The LBG has made the
following outstanding advances in the domestication and conservation of
- the development of a cultivation model using eru vine cuttings;
- the establishment of experimental/demonstration farms;
- the organisation and training of farmers and extension workers on how to cultivate eru;
- the production of an eru cultivation manual and
- the establishment of a gene bank.
Since 2000 CENDEP has been involved in Eru chain development activities in the South West Region of
Cameroon. This has been with the support of IUCN NL (2004-2005) with a start up grant to train farmers
and forest users on domestication and sustainable management of wild stocks; ICCO (2006-2011) with
support in production and marketing; New Englands Biolabs Foundation (2007-2008) supported extension
of the eru domestication techniques to farmers in the Muyuka area, SW region Cameroon and in 2008 CENDEP
collaborated with the RUMPI Area Participatory Project to train more farmers in the SW Region of Cameroon.
More extensive information about our projects on domestication of non timber forest products can be found
on the next page.
CENDEP’s approach in the domestication of Eru has been presented by Both ENDS in the Encyclopaedia article
published on their website:
in NTFP Management between Africa and Asia. In general CENDEP’s contribution to the conservation of
this important resource and to poverty alleviation in local communities has been through the implementation of
the following projects: