This story excerpt was translated from French. To read the original story in full, visit Sciences Watch Infos. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.
Plots that stretch as far as the eye can see in the localities of Akomyada 1 and 2 and Avebe in the Centre-Cameroon region. A plant that is not identifiable at first sight, because it is not anchored in the agricultural practices of local communities in Cameroon. However, bamboo, as it is called, is gaining ground. The plant is increasingly popularized to improve the living conditions and well-being of the population.
In Lom Pangar 1, in the eastern region of Cameroon, Laminou has positioned himself in the transformation of bamboo into art objects. The non-timber forest product allows him and his team to make chairs, stools and musical instruments for tourists and researchers.
"We offer chairs at 25,000 francs (US$44.30) each. The stool costs between 2,500 F (US$4.40) and 5,000 F (US$8.80) when you add the paint," says Laminou.
In terms of traditional pharmacopoeia, he explains that socks made from bamboo have therapeutic properties for people suffering from diabetes and heart problems, etc. In Akom 2 in the southern region, a group of women gathered around the association TBC/ALLFOR makes tea from bamboo, a bag of which is sold at 2000 F (US$3.50).
As a nonprofit journalism organization, we depend on your support to fund journalism covering underreported issues around the world. Donate any amount today to become a Pulitzer Center Champion and receive exclusive benefits!
The Cameroonian NGO Forests and Rural Development (FODER) has made the popularization of the plant its hobbyhorse.
"Most of the time, people think that bamboo is invasive. However, the promotion of its cultivation on a large scale could contribute to lift several communities out of poverty and precariousness," says FODER coordinator Christophe Justin Kamga. FODER's interventions are part of the Inter-Africa Bamboo Smallholder Farmers Livelihood Development Programme and the Supporting Landscapes Restoration and Sustainable Use of local plant species and tree products for Biodiversity Conservation, Sustainable Livelihoods and Emission Reduction in Cameroon projects.