Farmers in Menoua Division, West Region, have discovered a new way to fight the age-long problem with cattle rearers. They have embarked on planting agro-forestry species in the life fencing technology introduced to them by the Cameroon Program of US Charity Trees for the Future.
By Payong Marquise
Sonkeng Albert, a farmer in Batsenjla village in Menoua Division, having suffered the problem of cattle always invading his farm for over a decade was forced to abandon his three-hectare land on a hilltop for fear of planting his crops, which cattle would later destroy.
Sonkeng, like many of his neighbours, had all abandoned vast lands for fear of destruction of their crops by cattle. However, a glimmer of hope came when he encountered one of Trees for the Future’s technicians for the West, Njeukeng Phillipe.
“I have the solution to your problem,” the technician had told Njeukeng.
Njeukeng told Sonkeng that he could start by planting some agro-forestry species such as Acacia, Leucaenia and Caliandra to fence the three-hectare piece of land. Subsequently, when these trees grow up, Njeukeng explained, they would help to block the cattle from entering the farm because the trees are planted tightly; 30 cm by 30 cm.
“I am really happy to have gotten this wonderful advice from the Trees for the Future technician,” Sonkeng recalled. He said he has now planted over 6.000 trees species in his formerly abandoned farm and he intends to fence the entire land with trees.
Sonkeng hopes to start cultivating different crops including maize, beans and potatoes on his farm in order to feed his family and generate some income.
“I have a very large family and farming is my only source of subsistence. I was already losing hope given that I had to abandon my land. With this initiative I can say I have my livelihood back,” said Sonkeng.
The news of Sonkeng’s success story soon went viral and farmers who had abandoned their land developed interest to plant trees as life fences.
A farmer in Mbile village, still in the West Region, adopted the same approach and has now planted over 4.000 species of trees around his land.
It is worthy to note that after surrounding their land with trees, the farmers will also move to the alley cropping technology where trees are planted alongside food crops for soil health improvement.
The farmers have expressed gratitude to the US Charity for such a lofty idea in making their lives better through tree planting.