Project by Guy Donald Abassombe
Donald's main objective is to contribute to the development of sustainable peasant exploitation of oil palm in the Ngwei district. The idea is to promote, through close collaboration with producers, GICs and administrative authorities, the implementation of a responsible and sustainable activity of oil palm, that is to say, contribute to the taking of awareness of the respective responsibilities of the players involved in this agricultural sector. This concretely implies a contribution to the adoption and dissemination of a socially just, economically profitable and ecologically sustainable oil palm culture, which of course involves the implementation of a local and even national climate justice framework for the oil palm industry.
The main objectives of this field phase were:
- The presentation of the research project within partner GICs and exchanges with member producers (GIC PROAM, GIC VISEL and GIC la MOISSON), the inventory of all the functional and legal agricultural GICs in the district
- Meeting and interviews with the village chiefs of Ngwei district
- Oriented interviews with some actors of the village palm oil production
- Holding of the first participatory mapping sessions in the villages
Presentation of the research project to the members of the partner GICs
The purpose of this field activity was to imbue the members of the partner GICs with the ins and outs of the research project and especially the partnership protocol. It was also an opportunity to initiate the information and consultation component of member producers on the lines of inquiry that structure the research work.
The research project was presented to the members of two partner GICs (GIC PROAM and GIC VISEL).
The second field phase of this project extended from January to February 2020.
The objectives of this field phase were to:
- Conduct socio-economic surveys by administering a questionnaire
- Begin integration into peasant community production and processing activities
- Perform a systematic inventory of socio-collective infrastructure
The survey aimed at acquiring information and/or individual opinions on:
- Socio-demographic data in Ngwéi
- Specific data on the exploitation of palm groves
- Specific production data
- Socio-economic and environmental changes
- Palm cultivation and climate justice
A total of 327 questionnaires were administered across the 29 villages in the Ngwéi district.
The location map above illustrates the deployment in the field during the questionnaire surveys (dotted in pink color).
This second phase also presented an opportunity for Donald and his team to start working closely with producers who are members of partner GICs and independent producers. From the meetings generally made in advance with certain producers, Donald and his team followed them in the plantations or in the processing sites. Once at the worksites, they observed and took notes of the progress of these peasant activities.
For the vast majority of independent producers, the observation made is that the completion of plantation activities is generally done either through family labor or through an allogeneic workforce engaged for this purpose on the basis of a contract. The materialization of community initiatives carried out by GIC members in this direction is still very little in sight, according to the observation made on the ground.
These four photos illustrate the execution of peasant processing activities in different villages. The first photo illustrates the cooking of palm nuts on the one hand and the canning of the finished product of artisanal processing by members of a family from the Solopa village. The second photo shows a session of oil palm extraction using a motorized press in the village of Makondo II. The third photo, on the other hand, illustrates the canning of oil palm by two members of the GIC AMOPIT in the village Bitoutouk. The last photo shows the GIC le Temps oil palm storage system in Song-Mbog village.
One of the specific objectives of this research being the characterization of social mutations in the Municipality of Ngwéi, a systematic collection of GPS data from local socio-collective infrastructures began on this occasion. GPS coordinates of schools (nursery schools, primary and secondary schools), health centers, boreholes and wells, solar extension sites, etc., were collected.
Information concerning the place and date of creation of each infrastructure, the program which allowed the construction of each of them as well as the functional aspect of the structure, was gradually collected.
The idea of such an approach is in part to achieve the evaluation and development of a precise thematic mapping of the spatial distribution of these infrastructures, but above all to analyze their evolution from a chronological benchmark. This work will continue throughout the next field phases.
This field phase lasted from 05 to 30 March 2020. It was largely marked by the execution of community activities.
The three main objectives of this field phase were:
- The holding of focus groups and interviews with research resource persons.
- Conducting community activities with the GICs and farmers in the villages.
- Complete the collection of GPS coordinates of social infrastructures
Focus group sessions on the challenges of deforestation and on climate change were organized with farmers in different villages.
The aim was to obtain the right local trends regarding individual endogenous efforts aimed at combating deforestation linked to the creation of palm groves.
These sessions were often the occasion to draw their attention to the essential role that forests play in the life of communities by presenting the economic and ecological services rendered by them and the need to consider their sustainability.
The participants are the inhabitants of Lep-likoung and some come from the neighboring village. There are producers of different generations, on the one hand those already engaged in the oil palm activity and others who plan to start the activity (mainly the youngest in the group).
In order to acquire specific information, in addition to the questionnaire surveys, recorded interviews were given to the Delegate of Agriculture of Ngwéi, the heads of agricultural posts and the Head of the Center specialized in Oil Palm Research.
During this phase, Donald and his team interviewed the Delegate of Agriculture and Rural Development and the heads of Agricultural posts. This interview with these local representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture made it possible to gather opinions and specific information on the local realities linked to the exploitation of oil palm in Ngwéi.
The information acquired from this exchange concerns several strategic axes of reflection on the oil palm sector in Ngwéi. It's about:
- Major constraints encountered by oil palm planters
- Current or future government initiatives/programs to support and promote the oil palm sector in Ngwéi.
- The situation on the vulnerability of the oil palm sector to the effects of climate change and government action concerning adaptation mechanisms/strategies
In addition, Donald interviewed the head of the Specialized Center for Research on Oil Palm, the only specialized structure in the country that conducts research on oil palm. The interview given to the head of the center was thus used to obtain detailed information on the specifics of the improved plant material produced by the structure and the distribution/marketing mechanisms. At the same time, information concerning the support strategies implemented by the said structure with regard to access and dissemination of seeds was collected for this purpose.
In addition, the move to this production center for improved plant material in the country made it possible to benefit from a 3-day practical and accelerated training course. The training focused on sustainable techniques for creating and monitoring nurseries of improved pre-germinated seeds produced only by this structure (photos 4a and 4b).
The idea was to strengthen Donald's skills in this area to better run the training workshops planned within the partner GICs during the next field phases.
Continuation of community activities with the GICs and the farmers
As was already the case in the previous phase of the field, this made it possible to continue immersion in peasant production and processing activities on plantations and on extraction sites. At the same time, training seminars were organized.
Conducting training seminars for GIC members and independent producers
The training during the seminars focused on two axes:
- Capacity building of planters on recommended profitable farming practices
It should be remembered, the promotion of a sustainable activity of the oil palm within the framework of this research aims primarily to increase the income and the standard of living of the producers. This implies improving yields per hectare, which necessarily involves changes in endogenous farming techniques and models.
Through this training, the idea is to help planters, especially those who embark on daily projects to extend the area of palm groves, to acquire technical knowledge of more profitable farming practices.
The training was therefore offered to the population via simplified and well-illustrated presentations. The centers of interest of this training relate to the essential information on the choice of the ground, the preparation of the ground, the staking and the setting in the soil of the plants, the protection of the growing plans, the techniques of maintenance of the palm grove at different growth levels, types and amounts of fertilizers to use, spreading techniques, etc.
At the end of the seminars, a planned physical document printed in color was always given to the chief of the villages concerned, to the Delegates of the partner GICs as well as to a few participants.
- Training farmers in setting up and monitoring agricultural finance projects
This was the second axis of training during the seminars. The aim of this training is to make local planters independent by allowing them to apply at appropriate times for public or private agricultural financing opportunities.
This training was based on three axes:
- The criteria / conditions for applying for a public or private agricultural financing program
- The essential documents required to set up and submit an agricultural financing project
- The administrative process and monitoring of the project funding request
A physical document written in easy French and presenting all this information will be made available to village chiefs and GIC delegates at the next field phases.
The following photo illustrates the training seminar organized at the GIC VISEL headquarters. In the room, we find members of the GIC VISEL as well as independent producers from the village.
The following photo presents an overview of the training seminar held in Lep-likuoung village in a room located not far from the chiefdom. This session brought together the inhabitants of the said village as well as those coming from the neighboring village.
The following photo shows the Delegate of the GIC VISEL and his secretary (the lady in glasses) after the delivery of the physical copies of said training.
Integration into farming activities on work sites
During this field phase, Donald followed several groups of producers, whether at their head office, on the plantations, or on the extraction sites. These included, for example, working sessions with the GIC VISEL in the village of Seppe, with the GIC ASAL in the village of Logbii or even with the GiC AMOPIT in the village of Bitoutouk.
The continuation of the census of socio-collective infrastructures in the villages
As was already the case in the previous field phase, the collection of GPS points from local socio-collective infrastructure continued during this phase (schools, hospitals, boreholes, wells, solar extension sites, solar extension sites). The collection of this data was also finalized during this field phase.
This field phase extended from July 3 to 14, 2020, and mainly enabled community activities to be carried out with members of partner GICs and independent farmers.
Objectives of the field phase
- This field phase aimed to achieve two main objectives:
The application of the landscape method through the completion of SEPLS (Social Economic Production of Landscape) exercises
- Conducting training seminars on recommended and sustainable techniques for the creation and monitoring of nurseries
The landscape approach on the ground consisted of conducting SEPLS exercises in the villages and communities affected by the exploitation of oil palm. This landscape assessment method borrowed from the SATOYAMA Initiative (within the framework of the COMDEKS project implemented in Cameroon by the UNDP) makes it possible to assess the landscape on four levels:
- Protection of ecosystems and conservation of biodiversity
- Agricultural biodiversity
- Knowledge learning and innovation
- Social equity and infrastructure
These four areas are broken down into 20 questions contained in a sheet.
In their codification and correspondence system ranging from 1 to 5, the SEPLS sheets make it possible to assess the vulnerability of a landscape over a period of 50 years and to consider measures that can make it possible to improve sustainable production and increase the resilience of the said landscape. The resulting analyses and interpretations will be complementary to those of the other collection methods used in this work.
Using this approach in this work, the aim is to assess the situation, performance, and evolution of the landscape driven by the creation of village and elitist palm groves in the Ngwéi district.
To enable local communities to assess for themselves the evolution and current situation of the socio-ecological landscape in Ngwéi, they were invited to take part in the completion of the SEPLS exercises recommended by this approach. The filling principle is based on a detailed explanation of the correspondences to be made between the parameters/indicators, the scores, and the proposed trends. The choice of scores or trends by the participants makes it possible to obtain and analyze the perceptions of local communities concerning the socio-ecological dynamics that operate there.
The study being circumscribed on the scale of a communal landscape, the application of the landscape method in the field was made on the assumption of representativeness of certain elæicultural villages (villages most affected by the extension of palm groves and deforestation), as opposed to villages less affected by deforestation. It is to understand how local communities appreciate the landscape differently depending on whether they are in an area of the landscape marked by the elæiculture dynamic or in an area where the elæiculture dynamic is weak. This approach aims to limit the risk of uniform responses/perceptions of the landscape and to have a much more holistic view of the analysis.
At least two people from each village were invited to take part in the exercise. Aspects of the population such as age and gender were taken into account in choosing representatives. The idea was to obtain the perception of men but also of women between different age groups regarding the dynamics of landscapes.
A session for filling in the landscape indicator sheet was organized in the village of Seppe, at the headquarters of GIC VISEL. This brought together representatives from 3 neighboring villages including Mbamle, Lep Nyock, Makondo I. Another session was organized in the Makek village, at the headquarters of GIC PROAM and brought together representatives of some surrounding villages such as Manjap, Pout Njock. This last group of villages is part of all the villages located in areas still weakly affected by the expansion of palm groves and deforestation.
This field phase was also an opportunity for us to organize and conduct training seminars in sustainable techniques for creating and monitoring oil palm nurseries. Indeed, the mobilization of village representatives within the partner GICs for the completion of SEPLS exercises was an ideal opportunity to give this training to farmers. These seminars are a continuation and complementarity of the various training courses given during the previous field phases of the project we are leading.
This field stage took place in two phases. The first phase (from 05 to 08 October) made it possible to travel to the Specialized Oil Palm Research Center (CEREPAH), in Dizangué. The second phase (from 09 to 15 October 2020) was devoted to conducting practical training workshops within the partner GICs and associated activities.
Objectives of this field stage
- The field trip had two main objectives:
The inclusion in the production process of improved oil palm seeds by artificial germination in Dizangué
- Material support and performance of practical training workshops with members of partner GICs, on the creation of oil palm nurseries from pre-germinated seeds.
1. Insertion into the production process of plant material improved by artificial germination at the Specialized Oil Palm Research Center (CEREPAH) in Dizangué.
1.1 Travel to CEREPAH
The trip to CEREPAH was made in part to settle and collect the seed order planned for the material support of the planters, but also to learn more about the process of creating these improved high-yield seeds.
Basically, the improved seed variety produced in this unique center of the country specialized in the matter is the Tenera (hybrid variety of oil palm resulting from the cross between the two natural varieties Dura and Pisifera). The cross is made from Dura the female parent, which has a very thick shell with a small pulp and therefore low palm oil yield. Pisefera is the male parent and is characterized by a very thick, oil-rich pulp and a virtually non-existent kernel, but this natural variety is generally unproductive/abortive.
However, the growers use both varieties at the same time, hence the name "all-rounder" used to characterize this mix used in the context of a farm. The goal of crossing is therefore to obtain an intermediate or synthetic variety that has both pulp and a fairly thick core (the pulp makes it possible to extract palm oil and the kernel makes it possible to obtain the almond oil). It is the ideal variety for good plant production.
For the moment, the vast majority of small planters in the Commune of Ngwéi still use the two low-yielding natural varieties Dura and Pisifera on their farms. It is largely the elitist minority converted to oil palm exploitation that has access to the improved Tenera variety.
The complete production cycle of this seed lasts between 10 months to 1 year, from crossing the flowers to producing the bunch in the plantation, until artificial germination. Once the seeds have been produced and dried, they are then sent to the germinator where they spend around 80 days under intense heating before being put on the shelves to supply the planters.
A sprouted seed of the Tenera variety is marketed at 300 XAF within said structure.
Photos 1 a, b, c, and d show the process of artificial germination of seeds of the Tenera variety at the Specialized Oil Palm Research Center in Dizangué (Littoral-Cameroon). Photos a and b respectively show the arrangement of the seeds in the heating room and then in the storage room. Photos c and d illustrate the germinated seeds resulting from artificial germination and ready for marketing.
The particularity of the Tenera variety compared to improved varieties
Unlike traditional varieties which take 5 to 6 years to enter the first production, the hybrid Tenera variety begins production in the third year. When the plantations are well maintained, yields in bunches of palm nuts are two to three times higher than those of natural varieties. Palm and almond oil production is also better. This double profitability is ideal for meeting the expectations and needs of growers and even local demand for palm oil, and the socioeconomic stakes are enormous.
2. Material support and conduct of training workshops on the creation of oil palm nurseries from selected pre-germinated seeds
That was indeed the main objective of this stage of the field. The material support of the partner GICs made it possible to hold the experimental/practical phases of the training given previously during the seminars.
2.1. Interest of this initiative
The material support of partner GICs for improved high-yield oil palm seeds has several aims:
- Contribute to the dissemination and popularization of access to seeds of improved high yielding varieties in an area that is still dominated by the use of traditional/spontaneous low yield seeds.
According to field surveys, the vast majority of planters still use low-yielding seed varieties (Dura, Pisifera, and all-rounder), only 26% of planters use seeds of improved varieties including Tenera (Figure 1). This trend is linked to the lack of financial means of the growers but above all to the lack of information concerning the productivity of improved varieties and the acquisition process.
- Contribute to the improvement of yields per hectare and thus of palm oil production in the Municipality of Ngwéi.
Since the passage of the economic crisis in Cameroon in the 1980s which led to the withdrawal of the Government from supporting the rural economy, in particular the supervision of peasants (monitoring, material support, and agricultural subsidies), the country has struggled to meet demand. National level in palm oil. Moreover, the Cameroonian government is said to have authorized, on behalf of 2018, imports of crude palm oil for a total volume of 100,000 tons, in order to guarantee the supply of the refining industries.
Thus, the dissemination and popularization of access to seeds of improved varieties, which this initiative aims, is a palliative for the poor yields that the "small planters" of the Ngwéi commune have been facing for several years.
- Promote the empowerment of oil palm planters in general and especially women
For the moment, access to improved plant material with high yields remains almost inaccessible for the small farmers of the Municipality. Only elitist farms (farms owned by local elites) can afford this luxury. The handful of smallholders using these seeds would have benefited from either government semi-subsidies or the rare subsidies from local elites.
On the other hand, this sector is still strongly dominated by men. Women, who nevertheless constitute 48.23% of the population of the Ngwéi Commune, represent only 16.73% in the oil palm sector (field surveys, November 2019). This reflects the low empowerment/independence of women in this sector of economic activity which is however the main source of income for peasants. It also fuels the vulnerability of women when we know that the vast majority for the moment live on a minimum of income from subsistence farming or petty trading. This trend calls into question the issues of sustainability, particularly questions of social justice, economic justice, and even local development linked to the oil palm activity in the Municipality of Ngwéi.
In this sense, the material support in improved seeds with high yields, which we provide to small planters, aims at the gradual revitalization of this activity to raise the productive capacity in palm oil in the said Municipality, by promoting more participation of women. We are convinced that the participation/engagement of more women in this sector of activity is essential to strengthen and even improve the productive capacity in palm oil in this Commune.
- Limit deforestation driven by the extension of peasant palm groves in this area.
The field surveys of this study reveal that the low yields per hectare recorded by small oil palm farmers in the Commune of Ngwéi are mainly linked to the low level of use of agricultural inputs, improved plant material, and lack of training and information for growers (Figure 2). This reality underlines the motivation of the growing projects to extend the areas of the village palm groves in which the planters embark every year in the Commune of Ngwéi. For the vast majority, these projects primarily target the conversion of mature forests (49.50%) and secondary forests (17.40%), the main reservoirs of biodiversity (Figure 3). This calls into question the issues of environmental justice and even climate justice, linked to the activity of the oil palm within the framework of this activity.
The material support of small planters with improved seeds with high yields constitutes in this sense, a strategy for the conservation of primary / mature forests in the Commune of Ngwei. Concretely, the idea is to allow the gradual limitation of increasing projects to extend the areas developed to compensate for yield deficits per hectare. It is to be able to achieve satisfactory high yields in small areas.
- Basically, contribute to the development of a sustainable oil palm activity in the Commune of Ngwéi.
The development of a sustainable oil palm activity in the Municipality of Ngwéi will necessarily have to go through the improvement of the income and living conditions of the growers, which depend mainly on productivity. This is the basis. The environmental considerations raised by this development model are also closely linked. Sustainable oil palm activity cannot be effectively achieved when more than 80% of planters have no access or hardly use necessary agricultural inputs (improved seeds, chemical fertilizers, phytosanitary products). One cannot envisage the sustainability of this activity if, at the grassroots, the farmers do not have access to the necessary training and information, if the growers still face poor yields every year. Nor can we speak of the development of a sustainable oil palm activity in this area when the population of women who undoubtedly constitutes an enormous potential in terms of labor, know-how, and dynamism, does not is hardly exploited and that they are in the background in this sector which is nevertheless the economic lever of the zone.
Strategically, this initiative, therefore, aims both to improve the productivity of small oil palm planters and to revitalize this sector of activity and even the local economy, by promoting more participation and autonomy of women.
2.2. Material support from Gics partners and conducting training workshops on the creation of nurseries from germinated seeds.
As planned in the framework of the collaboration with the Joint Initiative Groups project partners, a donation as a contribution to improving oil palm production and building the capacity of planters was awarded to them.
2.2.1. Nature of material support
The donation consisted of seeds of improved varieties with high yields and plastic bags needed for the nursery. Each partner GIC received 450 germinated oil palm seeds for this purpose (Photo 2 a, b, c, d,), or 3ha of oil palm trees per GIC. A few independent growers, chosen for their dynamism, also benefited from this material support, in particular 150 seeds per planter, or 1 ha for each. In total, just over 2000 seeds were distributed for this purpose.
2.2.2 Capacity building workshops in nursery creation techniques from experimental plots
Material support from GICs made it possible to conduct practical training workshops for members on the process of creating nurseries from sprouted seeds. These workshops are in line and in continuity with the specialized seminars organized previously. They have often been privileged moments of the application of certain theories taught in previous presentations. The main structural steps in creating a nursery were systematically communicated to the participants.
- Preparation of the site, filling, and transport of the bags
Sites located near the head offices of the partner GICs were respectively chosen for the installation of these nurseries, for practical and safety measures. The fertile soil that had been used for filling the bags was also taken not far from these sites (Photo 3 a, b, c, and d).
- Staking and arrangement of bags on the sites
Once filled with black or brown fertile soils, the bags are transported and placed on the sites previously prepared for this purpose. They are carefully placed, respecting the recommended distances and orientations and following the arrangement of the previously positioned stakes (Photo 4 a and b).
- Transplanting germinated seeds and watering
The arrangement of bags of soil at the sites was followed by the explanatory guidelines concerning the insertion or transplanting of germinated seeds in the soil. Photos 4a and 4b respectively illustrate these moments at Makek and Seppe.
Subsequently, the participants moved on to the application, in particular, the transplanting phase / inserting the germinated seeds into the earthen pots. Photos 5a and 5b illustrate the execution of this work during the training.
After this step came the first phase of watering the nurseries to prepare the plant growth process (Photo 6 a and b).
Well followed, a nursery setting like these lasts 8 to 9 months. The seedlings that will be obtained at the end of the growth process are then transported and planted in plantation for the creation of palm groves. It will thus be necessary to wait 3 years to obtain the first entry into production. The average lifespan of an oil palm is 30 to 35 years.
3- Idea of an applied project envisaged by the members of the GIC VISEL
Based on the skills acquired during training as part of the collaboration, particularly in the creation and monitoring of nurseries, the members of GIC VISEL are considering a micro-project to set up within the association, a seed bank of improved variety, for marketing.
Following the same approach, the project consists of creating nurseries from improved germinated seeds purchased from IRAD, and later marketing the "ready to plant" plants after 8 months of growth. Beyond valuing the skills acquired during the various training courses, the project aims to supply other small planters in the Seppe village who do not have access to plants of improved varieties.
This community initiative is financially profitable for its members in the long term, but above all has the merit of relaying the contribution to the process of dissemination and popularization of high-yield plant material throughout the village.
This field phase took place from February 17 to 26, 2021.
Objectives of the field phase
The work of this last field phase was organized around 5 objectives:
- Assessment of producers' perceptions of climate change, their impacts on oil palm production, and the inventory of forms of response/adjustment mobilized
- The measurement of nut bunches in plantation for the quantification of production
- Taking water samples for laboratory analyzes
- Monitoring of incubators created within GICs
- Visit of the main palm oil extraction unit in Ngwéi and interview with managers on exploitation, production, and waste management strategies
In addition to the field surveys and community activities that preceded this work, two data collection approaches/techniques were used to collect producers' perceptions of climate change, the impacts of the changing climate, and farmers' adjustments/responses. Have been conducted:
- Semi-structured exchanges with groups of producers
- Individual surveys using a vulnerability assessment sheet
1.a) Conducting semi-structured exchanges with producers
On the basis of the administration of a questionnaire, the various exchanges carried out with the groups of producers (Photo 1) made it possible to collect the information and the perceptions of the participants on the climatic disturbances felt, the repercussions on production, and the forms local adaptation. These exchanges allowed:
- to inventory the disturbances/threats perceived or felt by the peasants linked to the changing climate
- inventory the types of impact/damage caused by these climatic disturbances on agricultural production and the repercussions on the living conditions of producers
- inventory the types of adjustments to agricultural systems and social adaptation of producers to these climatic disturbances.
At the same time, these exchanges also made it possible to collect other types of information concerning:
- The logic of the right of access and land management in the context of oil palm exploitation in Ngwéi
- The role or specific activities carried out by men and women within the framework of the operation
- Access and use of climate knowledge
1.b) Conducting individual surveys using a climate change perceptions assessment sheet
Based on producers' perceptions, the survey made it possible to assess, using a sheet scaled from 1 to 5, climate change from 7 identified focal points: heavy/adverse rains, decrease in the number of days rainy, late onset of rains, the early end of rains, increased temperatures, prolongation of the dry season, and increased episodes of high winds.
The idea was to get a clearer picture of the extent of these climatic disturbances depending on whether they are felt or perceived by producers and depending on the damage to production. The evaluation sheet was sent to a sample of 150 producers. The majority of producers were chosen from across the villages among those who have often taken part in the various community activities organized since the start of the project. These also served as a relay for identifying part of the sample that had or did not take part in these activities. The choice of producers was based on age (with adult or older producers as the priority) and ability to speak or hear.
The results of the analysis of the assessment of these perceptions will also be compared with the climatic trends obtained by processing the meteorological data of the study area (rainfall and temperature).
As part of the analysis of the vulnerability of the oil palm sector to climate change and the issue of climate justice in Ngwéi, these data complement those already collected during the questionnaire surveys carried out from November to December 2019, in particular on the demographic trend. , living conditions in relation to income per household, farmers' means of subsistence, access, and use of climatic knowledge, access to resources by the populations (land, energy, water resources, etc.).
2. Measurement of palm nut bunches in plantation for the quantification of production
In order to obtain a relatively precise quantification of the production per hectare of the artisanal oil palm exploitation, measurements were made from a sample of the plantation. This aspect will be decisive for the calculation of the production of nuts and palm oil, and even the calculation of income per hectare of peasant farms.
To take into account the variation in information related to the age of the palm groves, 4 age groups were defined from which a sample of 8 palm groves of different ages, i.e. two palm groves per age group was chosen. . Using a double decameter, four measurements were taken in each sampled plantation (i.e. 1 small bunch, one large bunch, and two bunch of intermediate size) (Photo 2). Information on the age of the palm grove, the diameter of the palm nut bunches, and the GPS coordinates of each sampled plantation were regularly entered on a previously designed sheet.
3) Taking water samples for laboratory analyzes
The purpose of these samples and laboratory analyzes is to assess the physico-chemical composition of the water in rivers located at the outlet and near the artisanal palm oil extraction sites in Ngwéi. It is in these yards that the effluent from the palm kernels is discharged at the end of cooking or processing. However, the water in these rivers is the subject of many uses by local communities and the deployment of artisanal fishing. It is therefore to analyze the impact of these spills on the water quality of the surrounding rivers, and the possible long-term ecological and socio-health repercussions.
Three water samples of 1.5 liters each were taken from the Mbandjock river, in the village of Digombi: a control sample was taken upstream of the waste discharge point, the second was taken at the discharge point. , and the last after the point of discharge. Each sample was taken 100 m from the other, and the characteristic features on the bank of the stream were taken (photo 3). In relation to the composition of the control sample, the idea is also to analyze from the point of discharge, the evolution of the physicochemical composition of the water along the longitudinal profile of the stream.
4) Monitoring of incubators created within GICs
This field phase was also an opportunity for us to visit and observe the evolution of the nurseries created within the partner GICs during the months of November and December 2020 (photo 4). This made it possible to observe the state of maintenance and growth of the plants in the nursery and to remind producers of the monitoring procedures necessary for the proper development of the nursery for the coming months.
5) Visit of the main palm oil extraction unit in Ngwéi and interview with managers on exploitation, production, and waste management strategies
The main purpose of the descent on this worksite was to collect information on their plantation production system and the waste management strategy associated with palm oil extraction. Located in the village of Ndjock-Loumbè, this extraction unit is owned by a local elite, which currently operates more than 1,000 hectares of palm groves and plans to double its area in the coming years. The visit to this extraction unit made it possible to observe and obtain information on the mechanism of plantation exploitation, palm oil extraction, and waste management (solid and liquid) (photo 5).