MIFACIG –Twantoh Mixed Farming Common Initiative Group, is the name of an organisation created in 1993 thanks to the initiative of KUH Emmanuel who, after he left school of agriculture as an assistant agricultural technician launched a private vegetable garden a tree nursery attached and met problems as all farmers of his area: had low yields from his farm as a result of poor soil fertility. His own difficulties have led him to find solutions with planting trees and practicing modern agroforestry techniques.
Then he gathered people around this same goal: promoting tree cultivation in order to diversify production on farms, to increase food production, to protect the environment, to improve on soil fertility and to reduce human pressure on the
forests. His inspiration was drawn from the UN Rio Earth Summit that was talking about environmental protection. It is within the framework of implementation of Agenda 21 held in Cameroon in 1992 and the national strategies that the state was called upon to encourage the liberalisation of its economy that MIFACIG was created in 1993. From 1993 to 1014, 40 members joined the MIFACIG group. During this period (1993-2014), thanks to Kilum Ijim Mountain forest project a Birdlife International sponsored project, the members were trained on tree nursery establishment, gardening and bee keeping.
In 1998, TheInternational Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) decided to work with MIFACIG. Their partnership has led ICRAF to train MIFACIG members on innovative tree propagation techniques and MIFACIG has been acting as relay organisation for ICRAF.
Therefore from 1998 to 2014, twelve tree nurseries were created in Boyo division thanks to MIFACIG. Presently the spread of nurseries has reached four divisions of the NorthWest Province: Boyo, Mezam, Ngoketunjia, Menchum making a total of 25 community tree nurseries.
In 2004, MIFACIG realised that its new vocation was to share the knowledge and experience they have. MIFACIG started to stress on its activities of providing trainings and has massively invested in its infrastructure to shelter them thanks to the US Peace Corps Volunteer Program that earlier supported the construction of a guest house and conference hall that boosted this new line of feeling. Since the beginning of this venture, a strong feeling of initiating project and a strong will have been noticeable through the dynamism of its members, who are offering their services freely.
MIFACIG is a legal organisation created with the Head Office at Njinikejem-Belo sub-division, Boyo Division in 1993 as a community based indigenous, common initiative group. In 1995, it was registered by the Registrar of common initiative group and cooperative society under registration number: NW/GP/01/95/777 on the law n°92/000 of 01/07/1992 and implementation degree n°92/455/PM of 23/12/92.
MIFACIG is non profit-oriented, non denominational and apolitical. The income generated by MIFACIG as a Resource Centre thanks to its pedagogical facilities is completely invested in its structures.
Location and area of jurisdiction
The Head Office of MIFACIG was located at at Njinikejem-Belo sub-division, Boyo Division, where it operates as a community based indigenous, common initiative group. It is located on about 3 ha of land where it has now developed the MIFACIG Training and Resource Centre. Recently, 10 ha of land has been acquired in Kedjom Keku to where the training and Resource Cantre shall extend. MIFACIG’s initial area of jurisdiction and coverage was Boyo Division. Boyo falls within the Ijim mountain forest. The Ijim forest is a very vulnerable forest and its resources have been over-exploited in the past. Now, local farmers have realized the importance of protecting its natural biodiversity in order to protect very valuable endemic species and to keep the ecosystem safe for flora and fauna (Tauraco bannerman, Platysteira liticincta). The forest is also the watershed for the valley: therefore protecting its vegetative layer is a major issue for farmers of the Belo-division, Boyo Division. Today, it has stretched beyond to other parts of the North West Region and the country’
The mission of MIFACIG is to support the development of agroforestry by providing trainings and thus its mission statement is “sharing trees and plants that serve life” thus, a link between the community and natural resources.
The goal of MIFACIG is to alleviate poverty through the sustainable management of natural resources in rural area. This involves training people to produce valuable planting material and increase food production while encouraging a environmental protection.
The MIFACIG Training and Resource Centre
MIFACIG has grown in capacity and activities, and this has resulted into the development of a full Training and Resource Centre. This is justified by the improved training resources put in place including infrastructure and equipment. To further strenghten the status of MIFACIG a Training and Resource Centre, the nursery was improved upon and mordern nursery activities added, as well as other Trial and Demonstration facilities were added.
Our Main Goals
The target goals of the MIFACIG Training and Resource Centre are:
- Improved livelihoods for local communities
- Sustainable forest exploitation and appropriate afforestation
- Maintenance of the biodiversity.
In the case of improved livelihoods, the MIFACIG Training and Resource Centre carries out the following training, trial and demonstration activities:
- Tree domestication and agroforestry;
- Propagation of Non Timber Forest Products;
- Bee keeping and honey production, apiary management;
- Rapid multiplication of plantain suckers;
- Kolanut production;
- Organic gardening and medical plants cultivation.
- Small Livestock Units.
- Training on integration of Agroforestry practices in coffee production
- Soil Fertility;
- Nursery management;
- Marketing and marketing strategies
- Group dynamics, conflict resolution and all group management aspects.
For sustainable Forest Exploitation, MIFACIG Training and Resource Centre provides theoretical and practical raining on Timber products and Non Timber Forest Products. This is followed by awareness raising on the importance of the forest and the absolute need to preserve and restore it. This will be accompanied by training on sustainable exploitation of Non timber Forest Products.
Forest preservation is expected from improved livelihoods for local communities which provides alternatives to interfearance with the forest, and sustainable forest exploitation and appropriate afforestation. Forest preservation equally protects wild life, their sources of nourishment and their habitat. The maintenance of biodiversity is thus guaranteed.
MIFACIG Training and Resource Centre provides new skills: as qualified people are scarce and training them is a wealth for the communities.
Empowerment of farmers
While mastering the techniques of domestication, farmers and youths are able to develop their own nurseries, gardens, orchards and the modern bee-keeping techniques and the transformation of by-products are very lucrative knowledge.
Therefore thanks to the diversification of the productions and the increase of yields, the farmers are able to increase their household income. But among everything this knowledge is a great tool for them to get more aware of all the opportunities they have: illiterates represent 70 % of the rural population and without training; no hope of change is possible in rural area (UNDP).
Reducing the pressure on environmental resources
The forest of Ijim and Kilum are very vulnerable and without any protection, its disappearance would be fatal according to the human pressure. This protection has allowed its area to witness an increase of 7,8% in the 1988-2005 period while it has been reduced of 50% between 1958 and 1988 (Botanic Garden, London – Birdlife International, 2001).
MIFACIG is working in that way and the domestication of endemic species (likePrunus Africana) helps to reduce human pressure on the forest; agroforestry practices and tree domestication help people to earn a better living from the land they have outside the forest, and thus avoid opening of new farmland at the expense of forestland. Thus they avoid destroying the country’s largest watershed and animal habitats of vulnerable species: especially birds as bannerman’sTauraco,Platysteiraliticincta (source: Birdlife International)
Besides, tree domestication encourages farmers and youths to plant more trees, and thus protects the watershed, combats soil erosion and increases the fertility of soils. Thanks to fertilizer trees such as Caliandra or Acacia, very efficient new agricultural techniques can be developed.
Promote food security and production of food locally consumed
The innovative domestication techniques make crop yields and quality better. Moreover with fruit trees cultivation in mixed farms, transformation in juice or adapted post harvest preservation techniques, more food would be available on the market and this effort has to be done in order to feed the increasing population of Cameroon.
The key objective of MIFACIG is to develop local capacity in carrying out self-help initiatives for the wellbeing of rural population while protecting and improving on environmental values. This objectives comprise of:
- the empowerment of rural people to extricate them from the unprivileged situation of poverty;
- the promotion of the production of improved fruit trees and domestication of endangered trees species;
- the promotion of the production of medicinal plants that can be used to improve low cost but effective medication, or sold off for income;
- the promotion of modern agroforestry practices and conservation farming aimed at soil and water conservation, to ensure food sufficiency;
- the reduction of the tension on wood and non-wood forests products resources;
- the conservation of biodiversity through the reduction of interference in natural forest, and thus reducing the destruction of animal life, sources of nourishment and habitat;
- the promotion of non-plant activities that contribute towards the reduction of pressure on the natural forests such as honey production and small livestock productction.