Processing Enterprises: a source of household income from forest products

For many farmers in the West African region, processing forest and farm tree products provides an essential source of off-farm income. In a farming systems study in Sierra Leone, Engel et al (1984) found that 19% of farmers considered off-farm enterprises their most important occupation in terms of labour input and benefits for the household. Their off-farm activities included palm oil processing, palm wine tapping, fuel-wood collection, hunting, and fishing. There are a large number of different processing activities (see especially Kenge 1987). The products are often of great local…

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The export of forest and tree resources from the humid zone region: Medicinal plants and animals

In comparison with other regions of the world (e.g. Asia and the Pacific) the export of non-timber forest products from the West African humid forest zone is small. Though NTFPs are exported, information on these markets is scanty. Plant medicines and wild animal products are commonly exported within the region. The Cameroonian Forest Service reports that medicinal plants were the most commonly recorded secondary forest products collected from Forestry Department lands. They are primarily collected for the export market, and the most common species are: Prunus africanum (729 tonnes exported…

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Cola Nuts Trade and Production

Cola nuts have been an important trade item in the West African region for many centuries. The cola nut is valued in many cultures as a sign of friendship and peace and is consumed (“broken”) at reunions, during meetings, ceremonies and festivals (see also Section 3.5). It is also the only stimulant allowed to Muslims. For this reason there is a heavy trade of cola from the humid southern regions to the northern arid parts of West Africa. There are several different species of cola which are traded. In southern…

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Fuel-Wood Production and Marketing

Throughout West Africa, fuelwood trade increasingly provides a source of cash income for those with access to urban markets. Generally, there is open market access, many buyers and sellers, few price interventions, and high transportation costs in relation to the fuelwood’s value. However, studies have only recently begun to address issues such as the income earning potential for rural households from fuelwood trade. Kamara (1986) conducted an interesting study on the production and marketing of fuelwood in the Bo and Makeni regions of Sierra Leone where fuelwood provides an important…

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The market for medicinal products e.g. Chewing Sticks

In several market studies, researchers have noted the fact that medicines are commonly sold, especially in markets destined for urban consumers (Kengne 1987, Johnson et al 1976). (See Section 4.7 for international medicine resource export information.) For example, in a study of three urban markets in Cameroon, Champaud (1983) found that there were medicine traders at each market (e.g. 10 in Foumbot market). No market studies, however, assess the extent of the plant medicine market, the traders involved, or the income earned. Plant medicines are generally collected directly by the…

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Gathering and Marketing of other Forest Foods

A great number of forest foods are gathered and sold in the local and regional markets of the region. Semi-wild produce from trees on farm and fallow lands (considered semi-wild as they are not planted but protected by farmers) are being harvested for the market. And cultivation of “wild” species seems to be increasing (see also Sections 5.3, 6.6). For example, a market survey in southern Nigeria revealed that 57 species of wild woody plant products were sold regularly (Okafor 1981). Forest foods are especially valued during the dry season…

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FOREST RESOURCES AS A SOURCE OF CASH INCOME

According to an article published by Fao.org, Forests (and uncultivated trees) provide important sources of income to many rural people in the West African forest zone. Forest products such as bush-meat and fuel-wood are gathered and traded at local and regional markets and are generally destined for urban consumers. Forests also provide the raw materials for artisan and processing activities. Forest products are traded in both local and urban markets, and are sold to meet both rural and urban consumer needs. There are no studies which assess the socio-economic importance…

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4 Ways of caring for a Fruit Tree

1) Decide how to prune: If you want the tree to produce fruiting branches low to the ground, you can prune it to knee height and cut back the side branches to one or two buds. This will direct the tree’s energy to producing low branches at the cuts you made. On the other hand, you can lop off the bottom branches if you’d prefer the tree not to have branches low to the ground. 2) Protect the tree from sunburn Many fruit tree growers use a diluted solution of half…

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How to Plant Fruit Trees

Fruit trees are surprisingly easy to grow in a backyard setting, and they yield years’ worth of beautiful spring blooms and plentiful fruit. Apple, peach, plum and pear trees all grow well in a variety of climates. When making your selection, confirm with the nursery that your chosen fruit tree is compatible with the environment that you have selected as its home. 1) Choosing a Tree and Planting Location Buy a grafted fruit tree: Sweet apples, plums, pears and other fruits come from trees that have been grafted so that…

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Stressed out cocoa trees could produce more flavorful chocolate

Most people agree that chocolate tastes great, but is there a way to make it taste even better? Perhaps, according to scientists who looked at different conditions that can put a strain on cocoa trees. Reporting in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they say that although the agricultural method used to grow cocoa trees doesn’t matter that much, the specific weather conditions do. Cocoa trees grow in hot and humid climates near the equator. Traditionally, these trees are raised together in mixed groves with other types of trees…

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WAYS OF TACKLING DEFORESTATION PROBLEMS

As environmentalists focus on the International Year of Forests, there has been much attention on destructive logging in Africa’s rain-forests, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Deforestation is a process where vegetation is cut down without any simultaneous replanting for economic or social reasons. Deforestation has negative implications on the environment in terms of wildlife and increased desertification among many other reasons. According to data taken over a five year period from 2000 to 2005, Nigeria has the largest desertification rates in the world with loss of 55.7% of…

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