Community forestry has emerged as one of the keys to involving local stakeholders in the conservation and sustainable management of forests. It aims to improve the living conditions of local populations while ensuring the sustainability of the resource. In Cameroon, it is regulated by Forestry Law n° 94/01 of 20 January 1994 on

The decree defines community forests (CF) as a portion of the non-permanent forest estate (DFNP), which the State cedes to a community at the latter's request, and which is managed on the basis of the forest regime. In this decree, community forests (CF) are defined as a portion of the Non-Permanent Forest Estate (DFNP), which the State cedes to a community at the request of the latter, and which is managed on the basis of an agreement signed by the two parties. The first such convention was signed in 1997 and since then the number of requests for CF has been increasing. The Eastern region has the largest number of CF applications (300), of which 119 are active. While CFs should be a legal source of supply for the domestic timber market, it turns out that they largely feed the illegal domestic timber market. In order to provide an overview of the legality and traceability of timber from CFs in the East Cameroon region, a study was carried out in 30 CFs of the federation of unions of GICs and CF groups in the Haut Nyong department. Two teams visited the logging sites to collect the documents (verifiers) of the legality and traceability grid, and then to

Conducting interviews with various stakeholders: CF managers (President and Head of Forest Operations); communities, administration officials and civil society organisations. The legality of the timber was verified at several levels: the type of agreement, the mode of exploitation, compliance with the criteria, indicators and verifiers of the legality grid N°6 of the VPA-FLEGT. Traceability was examined through the supply chain, which includes the exploitation phase, processing and evacuation of products. It appears that 53% of CFs are under Provisional Agreement (PA) and 47% under Final Agreement (FA); 64% are operated under subcontracting, 23% under direct management and 13% are inactive. The levels of compliance with the legality grid N°6 of the VPA-FLEGT vary from 20 to 70% and therefore none of the 30 CF surveyed complies with the legal requirements. Some verifiers are not adapted to the CF (1.2; 1.3; 2.1; 2.2; 5.2) and those that are, are not respected by 100% of the CF (5.1.1, 5.2.2, 5.2.3). As regards the traceability system, the collection and transmission of information is based on paper. It can be observed that records and physical markings are not systematically made throughout the operating chain. In the light of these findings, legality and traceability are not properly taken into account in the exploitation process of the 30 CFs targeted in the Haut Nyong department. The latter cannot, at this stage, obtain a certificate of legality and could therefore not export their timber to European markets. There are five main reasons for this result: the absence of specific legislation, or at least legislation adapted to community forestry; the lack of technical and financial support from the government as provided for in the texts; the poor functioning of state governance structures; the difficulty of making the logging activities carried out economically viable; the weakness of the CF's organisational structures; and the internal conflicts that undermine them. In order to ensure the legality and traceability of their timber, recommendations were made to the stakeholders: to develop a legal arsenal adapted to the CF, to provide them with computerised tools adapted to their logging practices, to strengthen the capacities of managers through a transfer of skills, and finally to facilitate the organisation and transformation of the CF into a forestry management cooperative

Democratic development of farmers' organisations

Power plays, Demagogy, External influences

1994: The peasant movement in Cameroon celebrates its tenth anniversary, grown and weakened at the same time by splits, internal quarrels, struggles and rivalries, all of which were ignited from the start and carefully nurtured around the government.

That year, as a sign of the times, most of the early leaders were ejected from power, those who remained in power did so with great effort. In all these situations, the fate of the leaders rested in the hands of the delegates. The delegates were elected from the grassroots and exercised their mandate with full sovereignty and responsibility according to the rules of democracy, thus proving that the Cameroonian peasant movement is influenced by the national context in terms of the management of public life.
This collection attempts to restore the games the outcome of a long process, the narrative had to set its limits from the birth of the peasant movement in Cameroon. It is nourished by the experience of the SAILD, which deals with peasant problems on a daily basis. This experience was supplemented, for certain points, by a survey lasting several weeks with some fifty interviews, and this collection develops the plot through four situations corresponding to four peasant organisations that are representative of the local reality in several respects: AGBU, PCIDRK, BOSSAPAL and CFPC.
The intensity of this year's events will leave a lasting impression. Here are revealed the games and stakes of power in the peasantry as dictated by the search for democracy or the use of demagogy. Great moments centred on a poignant reality of peasant organisations, namely the learning of political life.

GENDER IN AFRICAN PEOPLE'S ORGANISATIONS: How to apply it without getting in the way?

How to strengthen African farmers' organisations (FOs) and those of the Sahel zone in particular by improving gender practice within them? This was the aim of the regional workshop held in Maroua in northern Cameroon from 20 to 24 November 2000 on the theme "Gender in African FOs: how to apply it without hindering".


Organised by SAILD (Service d'Appui aux Initiatives Locales de Développement) with the financial support of ICCO-Holland (Organisation Inter-Églises de Coopération), this meeting brought together 37 participants from POs and OA (support organisation) from 5 countries: Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin and Cameroon. The meeting room of the CDD in Maroua was the venue for the meeting:

  • exchange and analyse experiences on gender mainstreaming and the experience of POs in their daily development, including strategies, successes and blocking factors
  • Identify actions to be prioritised by FOs and/or FOs, i.e. tracks and strategies of the gender approach in their development process.

The participants first agreed on a concrete meaning of gender for/in a FO, namely: "gender is an approach to analysis and action aimed at the involvement, at all levels, of women and men equally, in an action that concerns them all". It remains true that this concept must be adapted according to the context. This is all the more true in the Sahelian zone, where the POs are marked by the weight of cultural and religious values that have a repressive influence on the development of women. This highlights the problematic of the workshop theme.

Of the four studies of case (The seminar also included a field visit to a union of groups in Djougui in the Mayo Louti region, where the participants went for a participatory observation at a meeting to relaunch the activities of this PO, The participants had to relive the gender issue in the FOs of the Sahelian zone around the stakes of access to and control of resources, the equitable distribution of roles and tasks, the elimination of discrimination, the sharing of the benefits of community efforts, access to information, training and education.

The group work dealt with:

  • concrete actions to be implemented in order to successfully mainstream gender in the life of a PO, emphasising the changes targeted at the level of of the status of women, the situation of the strategic and practical needs of women.

It emerged that the gender issue is approached differently by FOs and FOs. It would be desirable to approach it from current practical needs to strategic needs.

FOs have only started to work on gender as an echo and follow-up to donors. FOs, for the most part, only talk about gender as an echo and follow-up to FOs. Hence the need for conscious self-monitoring of the mainstreaming process within FOs and for reflection on an accompanying approach by FOs.

  • What are the criteria/indicators for assessing the progress of a FO with regard to gender at the level of the texts and rules of operation? At the level of the PO's activities?
  • Avenues were proposed in terms of the choice of leaders, structuring, the voting system, the holding of meetings, the method of communication, the method of sanctioning, the method of distributing the fruits, transparent management and others
  • What is the approach to supporting gender mainstreaming in FOs? Concrete actions to be carried out at different stages of the activity (choice of activity, design of the activity, conduct of the activity, carrying out of the activity.

At the end of the proceedings, the following resolutions were passed:

  • FOs in their actions should use a gender sensitive approach in supporting the establishment of rural organisations. This will promote a qualitative change in the status of women in society.
  • that the means made available to FOs by FOs are viable and adapted to daily realities, i.e. that take into account the application of gender in each context.
  • that participants meet again after a certain period of time to assess the evolution of gender mainstreaming in the actions of FOs/AOs.
  • that participants keep in touch with each other to exchange practical experiences from the field.



Published February / April 93

In February 1991, we were invited, together with Mamadou CISSOKHO, president of the Federation of Peasant Associations of Senegal (FONGS), by the Service d'Appui aux Initiatives Locales de Développement (SAILD) to carry out a four-week mission financed by the DDA to help this support organisation situate itself in relation to the new situation created by the rapid emergence of peasant federations in Cameroon.

At the end of this mission, we had written notes ("Overview of the recent evolution of the Cameroonian peasant movement". notes de mission auprès du SAILD, 23 February /21 March 1991 - 98 pages) which proposed an analysis of the situation of the peasant movement, as we had been able to perceive it through the visit of 6 federations and the participation in the work of the consultation bodies between peasant federations (Councils of Federations) and between the federations and the SAILD (Programme Committee), and recalled the conclusions drawn with the SAILD team on the consequences of the evolution of the movement on support practices.

Exactly two years later, we were invited again, this time alone, by SAILD. The time allotted to this mission was shorter (three weeks: 23 January to 11 February 1993), and a more targeted objective had been assigned to this second mission, namely to help SAILD define the strategic orientations of its three-year action plan for 1993/1996.

But of course, before outlining these orientations for the future, it was necessary to take stock of current developments, particularly those concerning the Cameroonian peasant movement, or at least the part of this movement that is developing in the wake of SAILD's support actions.

The work carried out during this assignment lends itself to several levels of exploitation:

SAILD will be responsible for exploiting the results of the workshops carried out with the entire team and four representatives of the Council of Peasant Federations of Cameroon (CFPC) and the Common Fund for the Support of Peasant Organisations (FOCAOP) (2), which focused on defining the orientations of SAILD's 1993/96 three-year action plan.

However, we thought it would be useful to explain to the SAILD team and to the farmers' representatives who participated in this work the facilitation methodology used to facilitate the SAILD's internal reflection. We have therefore written a methodological note for this purpose, which is annexed to this document. The main characteristics of the conduct of this mission are presented.

As in 1991, we have chosen not to produce a "mission report", but to write notes that constitute a basis for information and reflection.

We have oriented them according to the two axes defined by the SAILD to delimit the fields of intervention of our missions (3):

Reflection on the global evolution of the farmers movement

Reflection on SAILD strategies and support methods to this movement.

In this sense, these notes should be read as a continuation of the notes written in 1991. They build on the observations made two years ago to highlight significant developments since 1991.

Of course, the scope of these observations is indicative: many nuances were necessarily missed during a more rapid observation than that of two years ago, while the main object of the observation, namely the Cameroonian peasant movement, has in the meantime grown and would require more time and means to be apprehended in a fine-tuned way (in 1991, we were able to visit half of the existing federations; this year, the same sample represents only a quarter of the existing federations)

However, it quickly becomes apparent to the outside observer that the landscape has changed in this relatively short period of time, and not only in terms of the number of farmers' organisations. The key word in the observations made during this mission is evolution:

In the second part of these notes, we shall endeavour to highlight those we have noticed in the federations we have mentioned here, while the SAILD has also undergone changes over the last two years: increase in the size of its team, restructuring of its services, creation of decentralised branches, etc.

The outcome of the work carried out with the SAILD team was also to define a new strategic platform allowing SAILD's support to evolve so that it can contribute to the further evolution of the Cameroonian peasant movement. We will come back to this in the third part.

However, these developments should be seen in the context of other developments that affect the development of farmers' organisations: Cameroonian society is itself deeply involved in a current of economic, institutional and political change that has consequences for the future of farmers' organisations, even if they and their partners do not manage to situate themselves very clearly in this surrounding context. In the first part of these notes, we propose some elements of analysis of this context, which constitutes the "backdrop" against which the current analysis of the peasant movement and the support that can be given to it must be placed.

These notes are presented in three series:




A METHODOLOGICAL NOTE is also attached.

The forest that hides man

Published in October 1999

The South West Cameroon of our study is that vast forest area located south of 6 degrees north latitude and 11 degrees east longitude. Geographically, our area is characterised by primary forest, intersected by long lines of human occupation routes. Its lands are the most humid in Cameroon. Its rainfall is always above 1700/1800 mm of water per year.

In this forest region there are two main categories of stakeholders. The local indigenous people who live off the forest and the loggers whose forest products and space are the raw material for the industry. They are estimated to number around 590,000 people, the pygmies and the Bantu, and they are the main occupants of this region.

Bagyeli (Pygmies) and Ngumba, Mvaé, Fang, Bulu Beti, Elog Mpoo (Bantu), are distributed at an average of 12.5 inhabitants/km2.

Apart from the Bagyeli, who have always lived as nomads, the presence of the rest of the population in this area is the result of several migratory movements over the past centuries. Their lives are dependent on this space and its resources, with which they have forged close and very deep relationships, vital links.

Thus, for the construction of their spirituality, these peoples, most of whom are animists, borrow abundantly from forest products and space. These elements enter the myths as the main actors, playing a role in the life of the forest people. This is why certain species (animal and plant) are particularly feared, venerated and protected.

The forest universe provides the indigenous people with various resources. Although agriculture is becoming established in the minds of these populations, their traditional activities remain systematically hunting, gathering and fishing. These forest resources are also used in the nomination of towns and villages, as well as of people.

The issue we are addressing is related to the forest and its exploitation by the various actors, who are ultimately antagonistic to each other. The question is to know to what extent the humanisation of forest exploitation, which is envisaged by the state, takes into account the interests of all the protagonists, the stakeholders on the triple level of economic nationality, the sustainability of the resource, and social justice.

People's rights over the forest and its resources are based on custom and legality. They are summarised as usage rights with a confused and ambiguous regime. This is due to the fact that customary law is neither listed nor recorded on the one hand, and on the other hand legal forest legislation only refers to them without really characterising them.

It is true that use rights are tolerated in community forests and the national domain. But these rights are precarious, and they fall away (are suspended) whenever the reason 'public utility' is invoked

It can therefore be seen that despite legislation that creates a theoretical framework for the development of the various actors, including local populations, the state behaves as a stakeholder, as an actor of interest alongside the others. Moreover, it manages the forests in a rather authoritarian way.

This absence of a guarantor of equity in the management of the national resource demobilises these populations, who react with disinterest and passivity in particular, at a time when their contribution to management and protection activities is irreplaceable. This creates a gap between state forestry law, production methods based on shifting cultivation and the social system. In using forest products, people do not feel that they are doing so illegally.

Furthermore, the new forestry policy can be understood in two ways. Firstly, the basic philosophy on which it is based, and secondly, the strategy, goals, action plan and resources needed to achieve it.

In fact, this policy is based on the notion of sustainability, which means, on the one hand, that this management concerns the whole, i.e. all the elements of the ecosystem, and on the other hand, that it implies the rationalisation of exploitation, the protection of the environment and biodiversity, and rural development through the responsible management of forest resources.

In the spirit of the law, the creation of community and individual forests and a range of social benefits resulting from forest exploitation are supposed to catalyse the dynamics of change for the socio-economic well-being of indigenous people and better management of the forest heritage

An international crossroads in the village



The idea of organising an international forum is not new. For some time now, SAILD has felt the need to meet other NGOs working in the same line. SAILD, which has been in existence for about 6 years, has developed considerably, following in the footsteps of the Cameroonian peasant movement, itself in full expansion. The organisation of such an activity corresponded initially to the intention to make a first assessment of its work. Along the way, the focus shifted to the financing of grassroots organisations, an issue that regularly challenges SAILD staff. Recently, various intensive experiences with federations have confirmed that there is a real interest in this topic in the farming community as well.


Among the issues that regularly challenge farmers' organisations (which we will refer to as FOs in the following) and the NGOs that play a supporting role, the FOs, are those revolving around money and FUNDING especially that which is distributed by bi- or multilateral bodies, what we have narrowly termed 'donors' (noted BF). Money, in one way or another, always implies power relationships, and whoever has the money and distributes it in the form of grants, subsidies, or loans, holds a significant amount of power over the recipient. This automatically brings us to the question of RELATIONSHIPS It is at the heart of these two issues, financing and the relationships between the three families of actors influenced by the power of money, that the theme of this forum is set. It is at the heart of these two issues, financing and the relations between the three families of actors, that the theme of this forum is set.


The most consumed source of animal protein in Cameroon today is monogastric (single-stomach) meat. Nowadays, pork, rabbit and poultry products such as poultry meat and eggs constitute a dynamic market. Their breeding, which used to be family-based and intended for self-consumption, is rapidly becoming more modern and is therefore oriented towards market production.

Faced with growing demand and above all the low purchasing power of the population, producers must be able to satisfy, if not all, at least a good part of it at reduced costs.

The intensive and economical rearing of monogastric animals requires well-adapted production and feeding techniques that take into account the cost of production in order to produce a cheap product accessible to all consumers. The share of feed in the production cost of monogastric animals is around 65-70%.

The aim of this guide is therefore to advise farmers on the use of soya as a feed for domestic animals. This source of feed has several advantages:

  • Its availability,
  • Easy and regular arrangement of the raw material,
  • Rich in essential amino acids,
  • Use of a cheap protein feed that is relatively easy to prepare,
  • Its good feeding performance in animals,
  • Easy processing and cooking.


When in April 2001, while accompanying the SAILD Centre antenna, I made the driver stop in the middle of the rain in the village of Ngoulemakong, 2 km from Akonolinga in the province of Centre Cameroon, to ask a woman for permission to pick a handful of seeds from a shrub lost in a hedge; the very intelligent woman said to me: The very intelligent woman said to me: "this plant is a real marvel, my son, it has been producing seeds for two years that the children love to cook in their games of love; but for adults, we have no interest in it. I have, however, sometimes tried it secretly so as not to be mocked by my co-wives and my husband. This is our soy from here. I am sure that you, SAILD, can help us to develop this crop.

In fact, when I was growing up in Burundi, my maternal grandmother had a small grove of this crop, which she harvested almost permanently and which replaced the bean in lean periods without any care being taken of this shrub.

In 1992, as coordinator of a support programme for self-promotion in the Congolese Eastern Province (formerly the Haut-Zaire region), I brought back seeds from Bas-Congo where the crop was fairly well established, but the trial was a relative failure. The excessive humidity of the region and no doubt the lack of knowledge of the cultivation technique had caused the pods to rot almost completely after a good flowering. The few seeds harvested gave off a nauseating smell when cooked.

That's how surprised I was to see ten years later good pigeon pea seeds in the Cameroonian forest zone. The twenty seeds (ten bunches) that I planted next to the SAILD office invariably produced 1,100 kg/season of dry seeds during four two-and-a-half month cycles, which allowed me to test the plant with a few farmers and to set up full-scale trials on 6000 m2. The conduct of these trials obliges me to document this crop.

The present document, the result of these trials and readings, is written to help extension workers and then farmers in Central Africa to promote this plant.

I would like to thank all the people who have encouraged me during these two years in this little action research:

  • First of all my wife, who after having given me the budget for these tests and then mobilised the whole family for the harvest and threshing, agreed to carry out all the culinary tests and to share them with her friends. Thanks also to all the children.
  • The Secretary General of SAILD, initially perplexed, finally supported me.
  • The executives of the SAILD Centre branch and the animators of ADEAC (Association paysanne pour le développement intégral des exploitants agricoles du centre Cameroun) who, after much doubt, finally agreed to help in some operations.
  • Last but not least, the farmers of Melen village who, under the leadership of their dynamic husband, father or grandfather Yoh Akono, graciously offered me some land, carried out all the cultivation operations, made most of the observations and took some time to test at home.