Cameroon, through the Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a French enterprise, V. MANE Fils, to commercialise the Echinops Project in Lebialem Division.
Echinops giganteus is an aromatic plant found in Magha-Bamumbu, Lebialem Division, South West Region.
By Immaculate Mkong
The MoU recognizes and lays terms and conditions for a win-win partnership in the research phase of Echinops following the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) principle.
Prior to the signing ceremony, the Co-Director of V. MANE Fils, Michel Mane, accompanied by Eric Belvaux, Program Coordinator of the French Charity Man and Nature, and a delegation from ERuDeF, held deliberations with personnel of MINEPDED, experts of the ABS process and local community officials, amongst others.
According to Mane, the MoU, which was signed in the presence of MINEPDED officials, ERuDeF staff, ABS experts, the Mayor of Wabane and the Chief of Bamumbu, will move the Echinops Project to the commercialization phase.
He said his engagement in the project and with Cameroon is long-term and promised to be back soon, given the warm welcome he received from ERuDeF, Fons and local communities like Bamumbu and Magha.
The Minister of Environment, Helle Pierre, said that the MoU indicates that Cameroon recognizes that V. Mane Fils is exploiting Echinops giganteus within the framework of the ABS process.
Apart from the signing of the MOU, the French duo and ERuDeF team met with some lecturers at the University of Yaoundé I, during which they discussed how Cameroonian universities could be instrumental in the identification of plants with aromatic and pharmaceutical smells and tastes.
The lecturers promised to collaborate by getting science students involved in the research on aromatic oil essentials.
It was disclosed at the meeting that international laws have changed in favour of Cameroon. With the introduction of the ABS and PIC (Prior Informed Consent) processes, Cameroonians can benefit from the exploitation of their natural resources and ecosystems.
The Frenchmen acknowledged that research is growing in Cameroon and recommended that it should be geared towards development and the market, so that the ecosystem will also gain from the valorization of a plant.
Mane and Belvaux also visited the University of Yaounde I science laboratory, the Ecole Normale Superieur (ENS) science laboratory, and the National Herbarium.