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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Production and Marketing of Palm Wine

Palm wine and palm alcohol (processed from wine, Section 4.8.1) are commonly marketed throughout the West African region. While there is market demand for palm wine, there are considerable problems associated with its production and marketing: sap yields are extremely variable, and the wine does not keep longer than a day or two. For this reason, markets for palm wine are quite localised. Most households in the region do however, produce palm oil, half of which is sold in local regional markets (Smith 1979, Longhurst 1985, Commonwealth Secretariat 1980, Sierra…

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The Marketing of the Fruit and Seeds of Ogbonno (Irvingia Gabonensis)

There is a considerable amount of information on the markets for Irvingia gabonensis in southern Nigeria. In some areas there is such high demand for this product that it has become a luxury item. Its major market is in rural southern Nigeria. Marketing of Irvingia sp. involves producers (principally men), processors (principally women), and wholesale and retail traders (generally women). The Department of Forest Resource Management (1986) notes that market prices are usually controlled by wholesale traders, but that for distant markets retail traders have greater control over prices. Households…

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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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Importance and Health Benefits of Kola Nuts (Cola Acuminate)

In an article published by Base line of Health Foundation, The kola nut, also known as cola acuminate, is a caffeine-rich nut that is native to tropical Africa. In these regions, the nut is considered a symbol of hospitality and kindness. Though nearly tasteless on their own, kola nuts are often chewed before meals to help promote digestion and to help counteract possible ill effects from tainted drinking water. Kola nut is a stimulant in its own right, containing 1.5% – 2% caffeine, plus theobromine, which increases cerebral circulation. Theobromine…

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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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