World Wetlands Day in Cameroon

02/02/2007

Forest and Agroforestry Promoters (FAP)



REPORT ON THE CELEBRATION OF WORLD WETLANDS DAY IN NDOP
NGOKETUNJIA DIVISION NORTH WEST PROVINCE CAMEROON.
2ND FEBUARY 2007

Organisers: FOREST AND AGROFORESTRY PROMOTERS FAP
Venue : FONS PALACE BA:UNKA NDOP
Reporter : JAFF FRANCIS A.
Telephone : +237 7839843 E mail : forestagrofor@yahoo.com

FAP is a community based NGO in Ndop Ngoketunjia Division. FAPs activities cover the field of Agriculture, Agro forestry, environmental protection, wetland conservation and income generating activities that promote the management of natural resources in the Western Highlands of Cameroon. FAP works in collaboration with the Upper Nun Valley Development Authority (UNVDA) Divisional Delegations of Agriculture and Rural Development, Environmental and Nature Protection, Forestry Wildlife, Livestock and Animal husbandry and users groups,Mbororo Socio- cultural and development Association ( MBOSCUDA) farmers, graziers and fishermen.

The aim of this manifestation (celebration) is to create awareness of local wetland users (farmers, graziers, fishermen and hunters) on the unsustainable activities of the wetlands through over fishing, slash and burn farming practices, farmer/graziers conflicts and extensive hunting of wetland wildlifes in the Ndop plain.

After the manifestation (celebration), the local communities are expected to practice conservation farming practices, fishing, hunting and the reduction of farmers grazier conflicts in the Ndop plain.

In a meeting with the above-mentioned collaborators, the following main activities were earmarked and agreed upon.

¢ Presentation of wetland theme for 2007 and the importance of wetlands, wetlands problems by wetlands users and discussion on presentations.
¢ Field visit to appreciate wetland values and threats.
¢ Way forward

AGENDA FOR 2007 WORLDWETLANDS DAY

- Opening prayer
- Welcome address from the Coordinator FAP
- Opening of the celebration by Divisional Delegate of Environment and Nature Protection (DD MINEP)
- Presentation of Wetland theme and the Situation of Cameroon Wetlands to the Ramsar Convention by CWCS
- Wetland and transhumance in Ndop by The Divisional Deligate of Livestock,Fishery and Animal Husbandry (MINEPIA)
- Causes of the loss of Biodiversity in wetlands area by DD MINEP/GP-DERUDEP
- Wetland and fishing by MINEPIA
- Presentation of wetlands problems by user groups (farmers, graziers, hunters, fishermen etc).
- Other contribution: (open)BDCPC
- Field visits to appraise the actual situation.
- Way forward for 2007/2008
- Closing remarks by the DD MINEP and refreshment
- Departure of Special invitees.

The World Wetland day celebration started with prayers said by Sali Gajih one of the moslem participants who thank God for making it possible for the gathering to be realized and inviting Him to be the chairman of the celebration. He also beg God for the grace to listen well and put whatever will be deliberated upon into practice and then a safe journey back for every participant.

This prayer was followed by a fast and brief self-introduction by the participants. After this was a welcome speech from the Coordinator of FAP Mr Jaff Francis thanking all for respecting his invitation and pleading for total collaboration so that the goal of the day can be achieved, immediately was another welcome speech from the Vice chairman of the Bamunka Traditional Council the landlord of the venue.

After the welcome addresses the Divisional Delegate of Environment and Nature Protection (DD MINEP) Mr Nfomfu Emmanuel in some few word opened the celebrations officially. This paves the way for the presentation of Wetland theme and the situation of Cameroon Wetlands to the Ramsar Convention by CWCS.

It was a wonderful presentation with photo projection, which explicitly explains the situation of Cameroon as far as Wetlands are concern. This was done by the definition of Wetland as areas of marsh, fen, peat land or area temporary with water that is static or flowing, fresh and blackish. He went to the type of wetlands, which he said we have natural (marsh, lakes, lagoons, oasis, coral reef, rivers, caves, mangroves, karst, etc) man- made (e.g. farm ponds, agricultural fields, irrigated farming system). Wetlands are productive environments, cradle of biological diversity, ecological services, economic benefits, water supply, fisheries, agriculture, scientific benefits, medicinal, area for research. The threats were deforestation, traditional farming practices, over fishing, urbanization, pollution etc then crowned it. Participants were made to understand that Waza Lagoon flood plain has been selected in Cameroon for the Ramsar site and while not Ndop plain, Lake Ossa, Bambili Lake etc.

There was another presentation by DDMINEP Mr Nfomfu Emmanuel on the causes of the loss of Biodiversity in wetland areas, Upper Nun Valley Hydro- Agricultural Areas which to a greater extend try to explain the reason why nature is the way it is and it is us that is posing the causes of the loss of bio diversity as he puts it" no human activity no biodiversity loss." But how can there be no human activities, from the question he explain that users can look for new ways of doing old thing in other to conserve the biodiversity because of its importance it supports life or our activities thus give more credence to the years theme fishing for tomorrow which also supports the 2005 theme which was there is wealth in wetlands diversity don't loose it.

This was followed by present of wetland and transhumance in Ndop by Mme Mdeng nee Forbi Bibiana Marka Divisional delegate MINEPIA Ngoketunjia. She in few words explain what transhumances meant and what should be done . She explain to the grazier what is required from them to leave from one grazing land to the next like transhumance. Vaccination certificates from MINEPIA service of origin to their destination because it will fuel them with the necessary information needed like statistic, health condition of cattle and so on thus that task will be accomplished. She said farmers should not cultivate permanent crop on grazing land nor burn or poison crop residues for the cattle as it will reduce some of the conflicts and problems. It was said that about 4000 cattle enters Ndop from Santa, , Jakiri, Oku, Boyo division Galim etc thus making Ndop one of the grazing region. Other reaction came up from the participants that are grazier and formers who genuinely air out their grievances for deliberation.

Another presentation was done on Wetland and fishing by MINEPIA in the person of Bungwa Timothy Sunday which tie a lot with the year's theme fishing for poverty alleviation here participants were nourish with information concerning the importance of fishing (employments) and the norms to be respected as stipulated by the government in order for one to stay in the profession as a happy fisherman so long as his/her energy provides thus holding strong with fishing for tomorrow as the theme implies. Mr Bungwa Timothy made known to the fishermen the drop in production of fish from 70 tons per anum in the ninety to 13 tons per year uptill date as a result of unsustainable exploitation thus he plead and call for the attention of the fishermen to go back to the fishery law of January 1994 and respect it because the problem is the harvest of fingerlings which according to estimate one bucket of tilapia fingerlings can give more than 30 buckets of fish when they mature. "What a drop he cried" he also cried the fact of lost of lives in fishing because of lack if life jackets, the use of dilapidated canoes, fishing during high wave etc he said more than 300 lives has been lost since construction of the Bamenjin dam

From this presentation participants were contented and the floor was open for BDCPC contributions where by the discussed on the proposals put in place for the management of Ndop wetlands in collaboration with FAP.

They highlighted the following -integrated wetland management strategies, institutional organization, capacity building of indigenous knowledge on wetland management, poverty alleviation and the way for ward for the Ndop Wetlands.

After this presentation participant were given the opportunity to ask question and propose proposal on how to improve on the wetland situation and solve the farmer grazer conflict. Here FAP was advice to meet the women groups, village community groups and Mboscuda in order to come out with a structure to take care of some of the problems faced by transhumance. To this effect it was on the19/2/2007 at FAP office from 11am there will be a meeting with the wetland user committee made up of group representative (grazers, farmers, hunters, fishermen etc) from all over the division to discuss means of resolving their differences for sustainable management of the wetland. Closing remark was given by the DD MINEP officially closing the celebration. He thanked all for their participation and wished them safe journey back home.

There was a field visit behind the Fon's palace to appraise the actual situation. There, participants saw the poor method in which the villagers are using to fish and how really the are harvesting but fingerlings of fish which is very dangerous to the fishery community as it can lead to extinction of some species. Photos were taken with the children holding the fish, net and others carrying the act. Participants were very dis satisfied with what they saw on the field and discuss among them what to do next. How will the people be sensitized? How will poverty be alleviated? And so on.

Back at the Palace council hall in the frontage a family photo was taken in order to mark the end of the celebration.


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