Senior staff of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife met in Yaounde on January 19, 2017.
A national tree planting campaign was launched in Maroua on July 18, 2006, by the Prime Minister, Head of Government to tackle the challenges of deforestation and climate change. Just over 10 years on, the results are not gratifying. It is in this light that senior officials of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, MINFOF, met in Yaounde on January 19, 2017 to discuss the way forward.
Opening the annual get-together on the theme, “Reforestation: Evaluation and Prospects,” the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Phillip Ngole Ngwese, said shortcomings were noticed in the campaign after an audit. He attributed this to insufficient resources, swindling of grants by beneficiaries and the difficulties encountered in securing land to plant trees as a result of ownership conflicts. Moreover, the decision to devolve the award of grants to MINFOF Regional Delegates did not work out well. “As a result, the ministry is considering taking over the award of tree planting grants to local groups,” Ngole Ngwese noted.
Evidence of lapses in the tree planting campaign include the near extinction of mangroves that hitherto occupied 274.9 hectares, generalised deforestation and the resultant degradation of soils, threats posed by industrial agriculture, mining and transhumance, and poor maintenance of planted trees. “Our activities in 2016 were affected by the economic situation in the country. However, a recent report by the Ministry of Finance notes that efforts against illegal logging and poaching noticed some improvements. This is the result of our collective efforts, which we must consolidate,” the Minister counselled.
From 2006 to 2015, over 200 councils, 116 Common Initiative Groups and associations and 25 palaces, received financial assistance to plant and maintain trees to the tune of 3.7 Billion FCFA. Some 810 million FCFA was allocated to tree planting in 2016 alone.