Scaling up work on food in Cameroon

Posted on 02 May 2019
WWF Cameroon has initiated a sustainable cocoa program that will explore opportunities to enhance productivity
© Fideline Mboringong/WWF
WWF interest in working on food systems stems from the fact that food production is one of the biggest threats to environmental conservation, causing a loss of 70% of biodiversity (CBD). In 2012, WWF Cameroon stepped in the food space with its program on palm oil. Apart from palm oil, WWF Food program in Cameroon has now evolved to accommodate other commodities like cocoa. There is no doubt that these two commodities have huge potentials to drive rural development through increased income but could also have far-reaching impacts on biodiversity. 

In the last five years, WWF has supported the structuring of palm oil smallholders into cooperatives in a bid to create winnable partnership with the agro-industries that in turn will increase productivity and disincentivise further extensions into forested areas. WWF has also encouraged agro-industries to regenerate aging plantations against new extensions. All these efforts, coupled with policy changes at national level, will drive the palm oil sector towards sustainability in the short to medium term. 

After close to three years of advocacy with the Government, WWF facilitated Cameroon’s admission as an official partner of the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA2020) African Palm Oil Initiative (APOI). Cameroon’s adhesion to the TFA2020 will contribute in the implementation of its REDD+ Strategy, especially its Emission Reduction Development Program (ERDP). It will also meet its exigencies under different international initiatives like the Paris Agreement (Nationally Determined Contributions), the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) and the Marrakech Declaration on Sustainable Palm Oil Development in Africa. Cameroon, through a multi-stakeholder approach, has defined its National Principles on sustainable palm oil development and adopted a national action plan for the implementation of the TFA2020 APOI commitments.

In 2018, WWF also began supporting the first Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification process in Cameroon. This includes organizing an RSPO information campaign for local communities of SOCAPALM and SAFACAM plantations in the Littoral and South Regions of Cameroon.  The information campaign is to be followed by a full community engagement process as part of the RSPO Free Prior Informed Consent requirement. 

WWF Cameroon has initiated a sustainable cocoa program that will explore opportunities to enhance productivity, improve cocoa quality with reduced impact on biodiversity. Partners such as Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) supports this Program and it will entail linking up producers with the corporate actors that have undertaken strong sustainable development commitment especially in “D-Free” Cocoa and in the end create a win-win situation. 
To scale up its work on food in Cameroon, WWF continues to rely on key stakeholders like the Media. In 2018, it organized a training session for journalists through a role-play game enabling the journalists to have a comprehensive understanding of the palm oil value chain. 

In the coming months, focus will be to bring all these together to ensure a veritable transformative change entailing a better use and sustainable management of natural capital as a production base. Some key milestones will be RSPO National Interpretation and developing capacity of stakeholders on key tools for sustainable food production like HCV/HCS and concretizing collaboration with the private sector to create winnable solutions for the food systems. 
WWF Cameroon has initiated a sustainable cocoa program that will explore opportunities to enhance productivity
© Fideline Mboringong/WWF Enlarge