This project you have opened has finished.
for our current project, ending on 18.6.15 at 6 pm.
WE’RE OVERFUNDING – LET’S KEEP GOING – THERE’S SO MUCH MORE WE CAN DO
We can expand the teaching and maybe even provide some school meals – see the updates 4 and 5.
Help us to provide education to promote a proven, yet little known, form of sustainable farming, called Inga alley cropping. This is a wonderful alternative to the slash and burn agriculture which destroys rainforests but keeps the farmers poor.
Slash and burn farming is a leading cause of rainforest destruction. Everyone loses:
- To live, farmers must keep destroying new forest
- The farmers remain very poor
- The local ecosystem is destroyed
- Carbon is pumped into the atmosphere
With Inga Alley Cropping: Everyone wins:
- Farmers can grow enough to eat and sell
- The same plot is used long term so no new rainforest is destroyed
- No artificial fertilizers or pesticides are required.
Inga trees are planted as hedges with alleys between them and crops are grown in the alleys.The animation shows how this works in a section across one alley for the first three years.
This solution is so unbelievably simple and yet so effective. This is not a hand out. It is a way for local populations to break out of poverty and become successful farmers without destroying the environment.
With your support, our Cameroon partners will teach this technique, together with general environmental education, to farmers’ children in six rural Cameroon schools. They will plant Inga alleys at these schools and the children’s parents will also be invited to participate.
A Case Study
Mrs. Mendo Antoinette is the mother of several children. Like many families in Cameroon, she found it extremely challenging to grow enough crops for her family. The land near her house was infertile after slashing and burning. So she cleared more forest. This meant not only did she have to travel further, but elephants were able to destroy her crops.
She was delighted to learn about Inga in a training class run by our local partner Gaston Bityo. He gave her 200 Inga seedlings, which she planted in the infertile land beside her house where elephants don’t go.
They were planted in the dry season so she carried water uphill to water the young seedlings. After two years the Inga had naturally fertilized the soil and she planted maize and peppers.
She also planted maize in a second plot beside her Inga plot, so that we could see the difference Inga made.
There was a great crop from the Inga plot, but next to nothing from the comparison plot. For the next two years, she got the same results. She says
“My life has changed thanks to the Inga Project. I am now the president of a women’s group …. I see Inga Alley Cropping is a very good technique…that's why I am extending my inga plot.”
She is now promoting the Inga system to her neighbours too.
This was achieved without pesticides or controversial GM crops, just a simple sustainable system that works in harmony with nature. That is what we want to teach at the schools.
What your money will be used for
Our Cameroon partners, Gaston Bityo and Atanga Wilson, will teach about the environment, the need to stop slash and burn and how the Inga system works. They will demonstrate the system and include practical hands on experience.
The money will pay for:
- Travel expenses for Gaston and Atanga
- Transport of Inga seedlings to schools
- Basic tools like diggers, hoes and rakes for the schools
- Pens, paper etc. for the students (there is severe poverty)
- Starting and supporting environmental clubs at the schools
- Meals for all participants of training sessions
- Follow ups
- Hand-outs and posters
What we have achieved in Cameroon schools already
Atanga has planted some Inga at some schools with the students. He has contacted 5 schools who all want to participate.
Gaston has been working with a large secondary school, the Lycée de Nkoumadjap. One of two Inga trees planted there in 2012 has born fruit which, with your help, will provide seed for some of the alleys when the September rains come.
With additional funds we will:
- Do environmental training with more groups at Nkoumadjap
- Include more schools
- Enlarge the school Inga plots to provide extra nutrition to the children during the school day.
This project will serve as a foundation to expand the knowledge and practice of Inga alley cropping to many more schools and farmers in Cameroon.
Why rainforests matter
You’re probably familiar with the immense value and beauty of natural rainforest, but here are some facts you might not know:
- They recycle water to provide rain over large areas and reduce flooding and landslides.
- We have studied less than one per cent of the plants and animals in them.
- About a quarter of our medicines contain a rainforest derived ingredient
- The rosy periwinkle from Madagascar’s rainforest, which provided one of the earliest cancer cures, is now extinct in the wild.
- They are the wild source of many food plants. We need the wild genetic materials to improve pest, disease and climate change resistance
- They contain half the world’s species
Main causes of rainforest destruction
Why does Inga alley cropping work?
The fertility of rainforests is in the trees, not the soil. In an intact rainforest the nutrients are recycled from leaf litter through the tree roots to the trees. As the trees drop leaves the cycle is repeated.
Slash and burn farming removes the trees. After the crop is harvested the rains wash the nutrients out of the bare soil, so the farmer must clear more forest to survive. The Inga tree is a legume that increases fertility by fixing nitrogen and recycling nutrients, particularly phosphorus, with the aid of bacteria and fungi in its roots. Inga alley cropping imitates the natural rainforest by recycling the nutrients and providing a permanent protective cover of leaf litter on the ground.
Who we are
We are a small yet passionate UK based charity working with local organizations in Cameroon and Honduras to promote Inga alley cropping. In Cameroon our partners are Gaston Bityo, (a farmer with a Botany degree), and agronomist Atanga Wilson. We’ve been doing this for 5 years and had some great results. Both Gaston and Atanga are leaders of local environmental NGOs.
For more information visit www.rainforestsaver.org
Or email us at [email protected]
Rainforest Saver is a registered charity in Scotland SC039007.
We are crowd funding for more money to build on the excellent ground-work already laid in Cameroon. To thank you for your support we have designed many rewards which we hope you will like.
Follow the blog at http://rainforestsaver.blogspot.co.uk/
Some images of rewards