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Minkébé
National Park

Cocoa (agroforestry),
non-timber forest products

Brainforest

 

In northern Gabon, the Woleu-Ntem province has seen its working population depleted due to rural exodus. In this territory covered by equatorial forest is located the Minkébé National Park; a vast protected area of 8,000 km² of forest punctuated by isolated hills and marshy glades.

The Minkébé Park forms with the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Republic of Congo and the Dja Wildlife Reserve in Cameroon, the TRIDOM landscape (TRInationale of Dja, Odzala and Minkébé), which is recognized as key for the conservation of the Congo Basin's dense forests.

 

Major Issues


Agriculture is the main activity in the Woleu-Ntem province. The development of cocoa cultivation in the 1970s allowed many families to assert themselves socially and economically.

Today, cocoa cultivation in the region is stagnating or even in decline. New government policies support the exploitation of natural resources such as timber, neglecting agriculture. Producers have no technical support, and the Stabilization and Equalization Fund (CAISTAB), which collects cocoa on credit, lags far behind - up to 7 months - before paying its debt to producers... Many of them have abandoned cocoa cultivation in the province, but some persevere despite the difficulties encountered.

On the other hand, unbridled logging by large operators causes the destruction of ecosystems, directly impacting people who are almost never consulted and do not benefit from economic spinoffs.

 

   

The project and the prospects for change

 

To fight against deforestation and poverty, the project aims at improving the productivity of cocoa farms and encouraging agroforestry for a high quality and sustainable cacao production without deforestation. Shade-grown cocoa is recognized for its superior quality, which will allow producers to access a reliable and profitable market.

The specific objectives of the project are the following:

  • Improve productivity by rehabilitating 100 ha of old plantations and creating 4 hectares of new agroforestry plantations associated with timber and non-timber forest products.
  • Promote profitable and quality production through the provision of equipment and plant material and the capacity building of 50 producers on best agricultural practices.
  • Structure producers by setting up 2 cooperatives and train them on management and marketing.
  • Analyze non-timber forest products available in the park and its periphery, which can be processed into oil or butter and which have significant outlets on local and international markets.

 

Committed partner 


Created in 1998, the NGO Brainforest is a major player in the Gabonese civil society working on forest and environment issues. Brainforest's "On Mange Local" department's mission is to preserve food security by promoting local agriculture based on healthy and environmentally-friendly production. The NGO Brainforest has an in-depth knowledge of the target area and its communities, with which they have already worked for several years. 

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To learn more about this project please click on this link.

 

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