World Food Day 2022: Urban gardening recommended as farming space reduces in Bamenda

By Bakah Derick 

Bamenda, the regional headquarters of the restive North West Region of Cameroon is experiencing a rapid reduction of farming land. Urbanization is at all time high despite the current armed conflict in the region. Land spaces initially reserved for farming have been reclaimed and are now used as construction sites for housing. 
The transportation of food stuff from rural areas has become a major challenge with the ongoing armed conflict as a result of regular road blockages, lockdowns and financial extortion on the way. This does not only lead to increase in food prices but also an increase in perishable rates. 

With the increase in food prices and rising inflation, many are turning to alternative sources of food. They still buy from Bamenda's food markets like that of Atua-Azire and Nkwen but not-for-profit nongovernmental organisations like the Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW), Society for the Promotion of Initiatives in Sustainable Development and Welfare (SOPISDEW) and others are making different proposals. They say the use of plastics and old tires provide simple farming options. 
Talking to recently after participating in the week for sustainable mobility and Climate  in Dakar Senegal, Sevidzem Ernestine Leikeki of CAMGEW indicated that it has become part of her Institution's activities to empower many to be environment protection agents through the reuse of plastics for the creation of home gardens and thus preventing the entry of these used into the environment leading to pollution. 

"Used Plastics are not just waste; they are a resource. We need to recognise and work with this resources to improve on our livelihoods, create jobs and promote organic farming around us in little spaces in the community. At CAMGEW, we use these plastics to grow various vegetables, food spices, medicinal plants organically. This has attracted so many people. We have people who come here just to watch the plastics to go and emulate in their own little spaces. This is something that rather than having these plastics liter around, block our water ways, pollute are beautiful rivers and environment, we should put it into use by developing urban gardens in little spaces and enjoy the goodness of nature right in the urban center." Ernestine Sevidzem said 

Considered very practical, the recycling of plastic bottles to create home gardens is largely recommended in urban Bamenda. Those who make these recommendations explained that by using plastic bottles, waste is reduced from the environment due to the possibility to reuse the bottles. 

According to these NGOs, this can be easily done by all those  who are running homes because they frequently come in contact with these plastic bottles and should they not use them properly, they become a problem to the environment. 

"We are working on collecting the bottles, from and around the market, We buy the bottles from hawkers and then the women work on it by cutting, perforating and filling the ground. This is working well for us and I think it is a good project because we are reducing waist from the environment and it is very much sustainable than the polythene bags we have been using over the years." Tata Charity of the Society for the Promotion of Initiatives in Sustainable Development and Welfare (SOPISDEW) explained. 

Leave no one behind is the theme for this year's world's food day. These NGOs in Bamenda Cameroon believe that should everyone in the city engage in urban gardening, the challenge of food unavailability can be arranged. 


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