Protecting our forests

Fighting deforestation in Gabon thanks to cocoa grown in the shade

Gabon
Reconciling community economic development and the preservation of the tropical forests around the Minkébé National Park in the heart of the Congo basin (North Gabon).

Fighting deforestation in Gabon thanks to cocoa grown in the shade

Project leader
Brainforest in collaboration with Man & Nature de Noé

Duration of the partnership
2019-2021

Location
Gabon

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The project and its challenges

The forests of Gabon, which are part of the 3rd largest tropical forest basin in the world, are under threat. Many human activities (farming, animal breeding, forestry) are responsible for deforestation and are exposing the local populations, which are seeing their food resources disappear along with the forests. To protect the forests, the challenge is to help local populations live from the resources provided by their forests without having to destroy them.

In the post-independence years, cocoa farming was one of the main occupations of the population of Minvoul, where the project is based. Today, the large majority of planters has abandoned this crop which used to be the pride of the populations of northern Gabon.

The Brainforest association’s project involves helping women to collect non-ligneous forest products and relaunch cocoa farming in Minvoul, whilst also contributing to fighting deforestation.

To do this, the association’s project is based on three main activities:

– Restoring the basin’s forests through the creation of shaded agroforestry plantations via the association of cocoa trees and forest trees.
– Strengthening the capacities of 25 farmers in terms of good farming practices and commercial management in order to increase their autonomy.
– Diversifying sales with non-ligneous forest products so that the communities are not dependent solely on cocoa.

Beneficiaries

The project’s direct beneficiaries are 25 people from 8 villages gathered together in 4 agricultural cooperatives.

The project’s assets

Thanks to the project, the communities are able to ensure their financial independence and preserve biodiversity and the natural resources of economic value, such as cocoa and forest trees, for future generations.
Brainforest provides technical support to the community’s farmers as well as the means to increase their ability to manage the community forest and set up the sustainable management of their economic resources.

The support of the Brainforest NGO and its partner Noé has allowed me to enlarge my cocoa plantation. Today, I farm a 4-hectare plantation thanks to the technical, financial and material support of these two organisations. The training organised by the Brainforest NGO last December allowed me to acquire the knowledge I needed in cocoa farming. The knowledge I gained during this course has been used to correct certain errors committed during the different steps: staking, planting, distance between the cocoa tree and the fruit trees, phytosanitary treatments

Sylvie AKOMA BILE Manager of a 4-hectare plot of cocoa trees in Minvoul

Project leader Brainforest in collaboration with Man & Nature de Noé

Created in 1998, the Brainforest NGO is a major player in Gabonese society that works on the issue of Forest and Environment Through its “On Mange Local” (We Eat Local) label, the mission of Brainforest’s “Income-Generating Activities” Department is to protect food security through the promotion of local farming based on healthy and environmentally-friendly crops. The Brainforest NGO has in-depth knowledge of the target area and the communities that live there and has already been working with them for several years. This association is supported by the Maisons du Monde Foundation via the French Noé NGO (Man and Nature programme).