updated: 9 February, 2008
Diversification of smallholder farming systems in Western and Central Africa through cultivation of indigenous trees

Growing out of poverty: tree cultivation in West and Central Africa for home use and markets

This grant supports the development of productive and diverse farming systems using food crops, trees and small livestock to increase the incomes of resource-poor farmers. It supports the integration of high-value fruit, medicinal, fuel and vegetable species into farming systems. The main objectives are to:

  • facilitate tree integration and management through an understanding of existing and model systems, matching approaches to farmers’ needs, capacities and land use systems  
  • fine-tune existing work packages for high-value tree propagation and cultivar development by adapting them to the means, capacities and farming systems of grass-roots partners and target groups
  • develop an adaptive marketing intelligence system for high-value trees and tree products by studying the production dynamics of tree-crop systems
  • develop, test and monitor mechanisms for achieving effective social and geographic targeting to reach vulnerable groups in rural areas, with an emphasis on farmer-to-farmer approaches that motivate farmers to use their own networks and knowledge systems
  • build the technical and organizational capacity of farmer groups, students, NGOs and extension workers in the region regarding tree propagation and management methods
  • implement a systematic monitoring and evaluation mechanism based on socio-economic and livelihood indicators, to provide guidance for the project and facilitate impact assessment

West Africa’s tropical moist forests are rich in biodiversity. Cameroon alone hosts 14,000 species of plants and 3,500 different tree species. For a long time many resource-poor farmers have relied on fruit trees and medicinal plants for food, medicine and income. But unsustainable practices such as the slash-and-burn method and uncontrolled logging are drastically reducing the number of useful trees and plants and are impoverishing small-scale farmers.

By supporting the integration of high-value tree species, the grant helps farmers produce marketable forest products, enabling them to diversify their sources of income, improve their nutritional base and restore the region’s biodiversity.


Source: IFAD

In this section
Contact information

Mr Zac Tchoundjeu
Principal scientist, ICRAF representative in Cameroon
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF-Cameroon)
B.P. 2067, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Tel: +237 2237560
Fax: +237 2237440

Facts and figures

Total cost: US$2.3 million

IFAD grant: US$1.2 million


  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (US$500,000 for Democratic Republic of Congo only)
  • World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) (US$300,000)
  • Belgium - Directorate General for Development (DGD) (US$150,000)
  • National Agriculture and Research Institutions (NARI) (US$205,000)

Duration: 2004-2007

Geographical area: Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria

Directly benefiting: farmers, community-based organizations, NGOs, students and teachers at universities and higher institutions of learning, researchers
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
  • Belgium - Directorate General for Development (DGD)
  • National Agriculture and Research Institutions (NARI)