Muaku community takes charge of the Muaku Community Forest

Muaku community

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Muaku Village is located in Bangem Sub-division, Kupe-Muanenguba, South-West region of Cameroon. The main economic activity in the area is food crop production for subsistence and commercial purpose. Almost every household is involved in food crop cultivation. The agricultural system practiced here are slash and burn, based on shifting cultivation, organic farming and use of chemicals. Coffee is the major cash crop cultivated in the area. Other agricultural activities include the cultivation of plantain, beans, maize, pepper and animals like goats, pigs and fowls. Other livelihood supporting activities include; trapping/ hunting and gathering of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs).

Walking down memory lane, Muaku community suffered greatly as a result of the unsustainable harvesting and poor management of their Natural resources (NRs).  At a period when the entire Muaku population depended solely on their forest for their livelihoods, there was intense pressure on the use and exploitation of forest resources. It’s in this regard, that in 2006, the Muaku Community under the legal entity Muaku Community Development Association (MUCDA) initiated the creation of the Muaku Community Forest (CF) and developed its Simple Management Plan. This Simple Management Plan has long been outdated and Food and Rural Development Foundation (FORUDEF) in 2021, with support from the WWF-Leading the Change Project and collaboration from the Muaku Community and the Divisional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife, Kupe-Muanenguba engaged in the revision of the Management plan through the Community-Based Natural Resources Management Approach.  This approach include consultation, sensitization of relevant stakeholders, gathering of bio-geography, socio-cultural and socio-economic information of the Muaku village, putting in place a management committee of the community forest, identification of the Community Forest, preparation of the 5 year Community-Based Natural Resources Management Plan (Simple Management Plan), and Annual Implementation Plan.  Though facilitated by FORUDEF, these activities have been led by the Muaku Community members themselves. In 2022, the community members are engaged in beekeeping and domestication of Non-Timber Forest Product projects that are being introduced in the Muaku Community Forest. Mr Ekundime Divine said “This will go a long way to generate income in the future and contribute in community development, monitoring of the forest, safeguard and restoration of biodiversity in the Muaku Community Forest”.

At a time when women inclusion and gender balance are encouraged, the Muaku CF have women actively participating in the management of their NRs, especially in the domain of NTFP domestication. It is also worthy to note that the Muaka CF exco is made up of six members of which two are women.

Muaku counts as one the communities richly endowed with a forest. Haven learnt from their past experiences and now knowing the risk involved in the unsustainable harvesting of forest resources, the Muaku community has taken the lead in the management of their natural resources while working in tandem with other stakeholders.

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