In Cameroon, the risks of deforestation due to agriculture have increased in the southern and eastern regions. This is what emerges from the guide to the geolocation of agricultural holdings highlighting areas at high risk of deforestation and encroachment on protected areas, presented on June 30.e, 2021 in YaoundÃ©, the Cameroonian capital. The Rainforest Alliance initiative aims to support actors in the agricultural sector in protecting biodiversity and reducing the risks of deforestation, in particular the conversion of forests into farms.
âIn the field of cocoa, for example, the South-West region has long been the leading producer at the national level. Today, the separatist war in this region has resulted in a decline in harvests, and farmers in this region have moved to forest areas, especially to the south and east. These displacements increase the pressure on the forests of these two regions. And we believe that in the coming years the situation will be even more worrying, with agro-industries also interested in large-scale production â, explains NadÃ¨ge Zoyem, Central Africa Regional Director of the Rainforest Alliance.
According to data provided by Satellite imagery, in 2019 the deforestation rate in Cameroon was estimated at 0.0168%, or about 3,628 hectares per year. These deforested areas include 1,250 hectares lost to logging and around 2,177 hectares lost to agriculture.
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Sustainable and certified agriculture
The Rainforest Alliance guide for the geolocation of farms at risk of deforestation also aims to guide importers of agricultural raw materials towards products from sustainable agriculture and respecting environmental standards. This is the case for Olam, Cameroon’s second largest cocoa exporter. âThis geolocation guide will help achieve our goal of deforestation-free cocoa. Because, in its objective of sustainability, Olam aims this year to map more than 10,000 cocoa producers, located outside areas at risk of deforestation â, says EugÃ¨ne Kamdem, director of operations at Olam-Cameroon.
As part of its strategy to combat the conversion of forests into farms, the Rainforest Alliance has developed a certification system to identify products from agriculture that respects nature. The 2020 version of the Rainforest Alliance standard, which comes into effect in July 2021, focuses on continuous improvement of requirements. The new version focuses on crop rotation and renewal, soil fertility and conservation, integrated crop protection, chemicals management, and harvest and post-harvest practices.