Group trains farmers, hunters, others on forest sustainability in Cross River
Over 100 farmers, hunters, loggers, forest gatherers, chiefs, among others in Owai Community, Akamkpa Local Council of Cross River State have been trained on sustainable management of the forest.
The training, organised by Wanel-aedon Development Association and sponsored by Rainforest Rescue, was aimed at boosting efforts at sustaining the remaining rain forest in the country.
As part of the training, the attendees were exposed to major causes of loss of forest, which include increasing poverty; population expansion; hunger leading to pressures on the forest, and outright sales of forest to commercial farmers.
Others include deforestation for farming, unsustainable harvesting of forest products to raise money; lack of capacity building, ignorance and greed, poor methods of harvesting timber and non-timber forest products, bush burning and unsustainable timber logging.
The trainees were, however, taught various methods of checking loss of forest, which including putting a stop to indiscriminate bush burning, replacement of trees or regeneration, practice of sustainable logging of timber, avoiding giving out forest to private investors, establishing rules and regulations on management of the forest and avoiding strange elements from clearing forest for farming, stoppage of gaming as a way of protecting and increasing the population of wildlife among others.
To achieve all these and enable them build alternative means of livelihood to sustain the forest, the trainees were trained on cash cropping, provided with all-embracing empowerment programme on livelihood options including beekeeping, snail farming, animal husbandry, fish farming, and other vocational skills including carpentry, welding and construction works etc.
A member of the community, Elder Luke Agbor, said besides destroying the forest, if youths in the community are empowered, the level of restiveness would reduce to the barest minimum.
On his part, coordinator of the programme, Chief Edwin Ogar, advised the community members to practice agro forestry through cash cropping, describing farming as the main driver of the forest.
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