This is one of the two Rich Forests projects which are granted this year.
The Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve (RHFR) is located in Ndian Division, South West Region of Cameroon. The forest is comprised of four different vegetation types; tropical lowland forest, sub-montane forest, montane forest and mosaic of savannah (TroPEG 2016, unpublished report).
Tea production systems in the Rumpi Hills forest area started in the 80s, based on the initiatives of two indigenes in the locality. These forms have largely been mono-culture smallholder with less diversity. These mono-culture systems stand as the highest threat to the biodiversity of the Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve which is adjacent to the communities growing the shrub for livelihood. Since tea cultivation is one of the major sources of livelihood in the area, to safe the Rumpi Hills Forest from being totally destroyed, there is urgent need to train tea farmers and community leaders on sustainable tea production (i.e. Forest Garden Tea production which is an Analog Forestry Approach). Analog Forestry seeks to restore degraded forest lands, often replacing inefficient slash and burn agriculture or cattle ranching, with highly productive and biologically diverse regenerated forests capable of meeting the extractive needs of local populations (e.g. firewood, fodder, fruits, nuts, subsistence crops, timber) while supplying them with a supplemental income and an ecologically stable environment.
The main objective is to train tea farmers and community leaders on sustainable tea production using the Forest Garden Tea technique developed and promoted by the International Analog Forestry Network (www.analogforestry.org).
This project will be implemented in two phases: Phase One will involve a workshop on capacity building for tea farmers in the area, and Phase Two will comprise the development of community tree nursery in Dikome Balue in the Rumpi Hills and the establishment of two demonstration plots in the Rumpi Hills.
As a follow up Rich Forests will join hands with TroPeg in developing (inter)national links between the producers and ethical buyers to stimulate growth and replication.