Several studies point out that the exploitation of NTFPs in Cameroon intensified after the economic crises of the 1980s. These studies also indicate a fast depletion of the wild stocks. One of these NTFPs is Eru, a highly priced and harvested wild vegetable found in the forest regions of Cameroon.
In response to this depletion a Forestry Research Project in Kumba, Cameroon initiated domestication work on Eru in the early 1980s. This pioneer work was later taken over by the Limbe Botanic Garden (LBG). By 1999 LBG had already researched and developed sustainable ways of cultivating Eru for both income generation and biodiversity conservation purposes. To apply this research output, the technique developed to cultivate Eru out of its natural habitat (domestication model) needed to be transferred to farmers and forest users. In 1999 therefore, LBG organized a training workshop on the domestication of Eru. Amongst the trainees were farmer groups from 4 villages in the Mount Cameroon region.
After the training the group of farmers from Mile 4, Limbe decided to stay together so as to share experiences on the knowledge they had acquired. They adopted the name Centre for Nursery Development and Eru Propagation, CENDEP. CENDEP was therefore created in 1999 as a grassroots organization and legalized as a Common Initiative Group (CIG) on the 19th July 2000. It has its headquarters at Mile 4 – Limbe, Southwest province, Cameroon.
CENDEP later embarked on extending the skills and knowledge acquired to other farmers in the region in order to promote the conservation of the resource and to improve the livelihoods of the farmers. CENDEP has evolved to address other environmental needs as well as needs of grassroots farmers, recruited skilled personnel to meet emerging challenges and extended its activities to other parts of the Southwest and Northwest provinces of Cameroon.
Besides the initial technical and financial assistance obtained from the exited DFID-funded Mount Cameroon Project Limbe, CENDEP’s contribution towards poverty reduction and environmental protection at grassroots level has progressed so far, thanks to financial and institutional support from national and international donors and other strategic partners. In order to respond adequately to the needs and challenges among its target population and to fulfill the dual need for livelihood improvement and biodiversity improvement, CENDEP’s vision is: to become a lead organization in Cameroon engaged in building capacities of grassroot organizations for the sustainable management of natural resources and in the production and marketing of non timber forest products and agricultural products of economic importance towards poverty alleviation.
Its mission is to assist and/or train local people in the domestication, sustainable production and marketing of NTFPs and agricultural products of economic importance and in the sustainable management of natural resources.