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Cameroon Resumes Exportation Of Prunus Africana 

By Francis Tim Mbom

CameroonPostline.com — The European Commission ban on exploiting Prunus Africana has been lifted giving Cameroon the opportunity to start harvesting and marketing of the tree bark in the international market.

A ban had been slammed on the harvesting and exportation of Prunus Africana because it is classified as an endangered species by the Convention on International Trades in Endangered Species of fauna and flora, CITES.

Officials of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, the Mount Cameroon National Park, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and others were at Mondongoh village around Mount Cameroon in Mbonge Sub-Division, to oversee the re-start of harvesting Prunus Africana tree barks for export to Europe.

Prunus Africana is highly rich in medicinal properties that are used in the manufacture of prostrate cancer medicines and some food supplements.

The European Commission had banned its exportation in October 2007.

The Southwest Regional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife, Samuel Eben Ebai, told

The Post that this tropical tree is only found in Africa and Cameroon is known to harbour the highest population of the trees.

A kilogramme of the tree bark presently sells at FCFA 350. With 40 kgs a day, a harvester can cash in FCFA 14.000. This caused many Cameroonian in the early 90s and 2000s to indiscriminately destroy many of the trees for their barks.

CITES and the Europeans saw that a ban was the only way to stop the destruction of this endangered species in Cameroon.

“Cameroon was suspended by CITES because of the irrational and unsustainable manner of prunus exploitation,” Eben said.

In the wake of the ban that was accompanied by tough conditions, the Regional Delegate said Government had to work hard to institute a Management Plan and to ensure sustainability and respect of international norms on the trade in endangered species.

He stated that unlike before where harvesting was done without any inventory, “we have done an inventory of all the trees in the Mt Cameroon and Bamenda highland areas. The inventory in the Adamawa area is soon to be completed,” said the Delegate. 

In the case of the Mt. Cameroon area, the Mount Cameroon National Park was created, an inventory of prunus trees done and the entire forest mapped out into five harvesting blocs, a local prunus management body to coordinate harvesting: the Mt Cameroon Prunus Management CIG, MOCAP, was created and harvesters, too, have been trained.

“One of the conditionalities for Cameroon to be accepted was that we should carry out an inventory to know the existing stock of trees in the forest,” Eben said. “Prior to this, Government used to just issue out exploitation permits without an inventory of how many trees were.”
 

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