Farmers imbibe productivity booster tips

Appalled by the growing shortfall in agricultural productivity despite much trumpeted Government assistance in regard to technical and material inputs, anagri-business development company christened ‘ThinkfastBc’ has drilled farmers drawn from many locations in the Southwest Region on ways to step up agricultural outputs. This was during a seminar dubbed ‘The Farmer’s Open Season’ in Buea on Wednesday, March 14, 2018.
Rooted on the theme, “Increasing Agricultural Productivity in line with SDG2”, the CEO of ‘ThinkfastBc,’ Blaise Mfonto said the seminar is unique as it comes at the beginning of the farming season with aim to promote genuine agricultural revolution in Cameroon.
“Farmers face the challenges of inaccessibility to fertilizer, finance, information, technical skills and applications. We are using the financial knowhow of ‘ThinkfastBc’ to see how to propel these farmers technologically and financially,” Mfonto said.
According to him, they are not doing the job of ACEFA, but work in collaboration; while ACEFA concentrates on the legalized farmers who belong to cooperatives ‘ThinkfastBc’ concentrates on individual rural smallholder farmers who actually have the potential to put the food on the table.
Going by a Diverse Economic Operator and Business Manager at a farmer’s resource organization, Agrodyke, Dahlah Jerry one of the greatest challenges faced by farmers in Cameroon is inaccessibility to quality farm inputs. He said this explains why, they have brought modern technology in agriculture known as ‘Agrodyke multipurpose organic fertilizer’ to fight low productivity, pests, and fungi infection.
“It helps steps up the quality and the quantity of our produce that are being exported to the international market. This should in return bring in foreign earnings in our agricultural sector, which will help accompany the state in achieving economic growth and development,” Dahlah stated.
At the end of the workshop, farmers acknowledged having acquired new knowledge on how to boost their productivity. To one of the farmers, Geh Wung Patrick, from Limbe, he used to plant locally, not knowing the type of fertilizers to use; but now he knows the type of fertilizers to use and how to use them.
“I came here so that I can also improve on my own method of faming. Often, my harvest is just enough for my family but I think if my yield increases, I will be able to sell part and help myself financially,” he said.
By Nester Asonganyi

Ignorance, negligence, killing many

The sophistication of current life trends has been such that following up on how and why individuals indulge in particular lifestyles remains a daunting feat.
What people eat and drink, what they rub and spray their bodies with, all impinge on their life spans. Hence going to the hospital is increasingly losing its allure, having been overshadowed by cure-all traditional medicine practitioners and new generation healing prophets.
To that end, the news of the death of a person in contemporary settings, no longer elicits surprise or overflow of emotions. It is now very common, no longer shocking to hear that a person who was strong during the morning hours of the day suddenly slumped and passed on in the afternoon. Both young and old, move around looking rather hale and hearty, but the fact is, they are not aware their inherently ailing systems that are in dire need of prompt medical attention.
Death is now a very common phenomenon; the afflicted are flooding hospitals, while the mortuaries are bursting at the seams with corpses.
Poisoned food, polluted air, caused by many factors make the immune system of many fragile when taken in.
When The Rambler visited a hospital in Buea, the number of people found seriously ill was puzzling. Diseases that were not known in the past like hepatitis B have been discovered to be threateningly prevalent, especially, amongst youths.
When questioned on the method of transmission, Dr. Daniel Tambi, revealed baffling truth, particularly, for youths. “Hepatitis could be contracted via a kiss, body tissue, sweat or any liquid from an infected person to an individual with poor resistance or immune system. The disease is even worse than HIV and also has no cure but drugs to sustain a person. But once you are tested negative of the disease, there is a vaccine which is given three times and after that, that person is immune to hepatitis B. Even if the person gets in contact with an infected person, there is no possibility of him contracting the disease once he has been immunized.”
Another disease which The Rambler found to be prevalent amongst youths is the HIV virus. The doctor revealed that, most youths we see on the streets looking very fresh and beautiful are carriers of the virus, even as many are not aware. Consequently, with multiple sex partners, he explained,the virus is distributed and that is how the disease keeps thinning out. He narrated a scenario of a young girl who contracted hers in a hairdressing saloon via a needle which was infected by a carrier.
He also talked about various diseases which afflict many as a result of negligence and ignorance and cautioned that care should always be taken when dealing with people. He added, that the fact that a person looks healthy .
By Relindise Ebunedoesn’t mean that the one is actually in good physical shape, so medical checkups should always be done in order to know one’s health status.

Army kills Ndian woman, wounds others

A civilian (a woman) was reported killed and others seriously injured in Bekora Barombi, Ndain Division, after the military invaded the village, shooting indiscriminately about a week ago.
The Rambler gathered that the outright prohibition of the circulation of motor bikes even during the day sparked social tension in this part of the country. We were told that after Territorial Administration Minister Atanga Nji personally issued a communiqué banning this form of transportation, ‘Ambazonian’ fighters, backed by some bikers rallied in Bekora, swearing that no cars would move into or out of Ndian Division if bikes were not also assured and promptly allowed free circulation.
The actions of these bikers we gathered, attracted the attention of the military in Ekondo Titi, chief town of the Sub-Division.
On Saturday, March 10, 2018, we learnt that the “Amba Forces” made their presence felt in the village. It is also alleged that a military envoy was sent to the chief of Bekora, HRH Supka Kuru George, to warn him of a possible crackdown for allowing the ‘Ambazonian’ fighters “free reign” in his village. He reportedly denied their presence here, arguing that his village is a junction town, which means everyone else, including insurgents, could be passing through it to other destinations.
As at Sunday, March 11, the “Ambazonian forces” we were reliably informed, were still seen around. “They paraded the village until the evening hours before taking off for an unknown destination. It was only then that the military surfaced, shooting indiscriminately,” a resident told The Rambler.
One of such stray bullets caught a woman. She was being rushed to the hospital when she gave up the ghost. The woman whose names we could not immediately get was said to be a businesswoman and was spending the Sunday in Bekora in prelude to selling her vegetables (Eru) on Monday, which happens to be Bekora market day.
Other wounded victims are currently admitted to hospital.
It should be noted here that even after certain civilians had stopped soldier’s bullets and were in imminent danger of death, no bike, no form of transport was available to rush them to the hospital. Bikers were wary of their motorcycles being burnt. It only took the braveness, the kind, timely intervention of the Rev Father in charge of the Bekora Catholic Parish to transport the wounded to the hospital.
Many Inhabitants of this Division have decried the ban on motorbikes, which remain the sole means of mass transit in this part of the country where the roads are horrible, especially during the rainy season.
It should be noted that ever since the escalation of the Anglophone upheavals; Bekora in Ekondo Titi Sub-Division, Ndian Division has repeatedly been on the limelight of attacks, reprisals, massive arrests and summary executions. The area is said to be one of the strongholds of ‘Ambazonian’ separatist militants.
In a related development, hundreds of youths arrested or disappeared, in connection with the uprising are rumoured to be giving parents lots of fear and anxiety. One such is a middle aged widow, whose son, Agwenjang Lionel, according to our sources, has not be traced for a long while now. The lady, who insisted that her name should not be committed to print, told our reporter how she was at a loss fathoming why “the authorities are piling more pain on me and the children my husband left behind. My husband is gone; now they are picking on my children…”
Another lady lost her mind and spent over one week parading the streets of Buea with the photograph of a young man said to have been her only son. He was allegedly shot dead by security forces. She was swearing and cursing incoherently, suggesting that she had been “denied custody of the corpse of my only son.” She was finally forced out of the streets by security forces, only after she had clearly lost her head. Other parents were tear-gassed at the mortuary when they turned up to find out if their kids were victims of security forces crackdown some time back.
A gendarme recruit we spoke to, said on grounds of anonymity that they have orders to shoot to kill. He noted that they are buoyed, or angered by the fact that they, (gendarmes) have become the prime target of brutality which they did not initiate. “We are killed like flies by hit and run rag tag forces. We suffer for long hours, deprived of the comfort of sleep, while our own families are at risk of being attacked, all because we are defending the state.
“That is why we thought teaching these terrorists a bitter lesson could mean a quick return to the comfort of our own homes. Look here, we are also human beings, with family, with a life to live. How do you think that I feel each time I learn that one of my colleagues has been beheaded or shot dead by secessionist hoodlums?”
By NGENDE ESTHER

Army sacks Meme villages, driving refugees into forests

Travelers along the Buea-Kumba highway were recently stranded, following clashes between the military and gunmen suspected to be “Amba forces.”
Eyewitnesses said the road from Mbalangi to Banga Bakundu under Mbonge Subdivision in Meme Division was blocked for several hours, with indiscriminate shooting at close range from both sides.
Travellers who lived the horror told this reporter that from Banga Bakundu any vigilant person could sense that there was danger ahead.
One of them said “as we drove through Banga we passed a few gendarmes, the road was dry with few tense looking villagers spotted along the streets. When we got to the Weigh Station around Mbalangi, the military on duty told us to stop. A gendarme on duty said his colleagues were clearing the road,” our source stated.
The same passenger told The Rambler that hundreds of people claimed to have waited for close to an hour. The traveller said sounds of gunshots were heard from the Mbalangi direction.
Ediki -Mbalangi shootout
The Rambler gathered that sustained military intervention within the forest around Ediki and Mbalangi slowed traffic.
It is reported that within minutes, the security forces reopened the road. Traffic was restored and vehicles drove into and out of Kumba unperturbed.
The sight of these vehicles from the Buea direction encouraged others stranded at Barombi Kang to hit the road for Buea.
Mbalangi village razed!
It was later established that rampaging soldiers went haywire, setting most of the houses in Mbalangi village ablaze. The same burning ceremony was extended to countless motorcycles, the main mode of transportation in the area.
Inhabitants of the affected villages, having been rendered homeless have fled into the forest where they are taking refuge.
Few others with relatives in the nearby town of Kumba could be spotted boarding vehicles around Ediki heading tofor the chief town of Meme Division.
Meantime reports say the corpse of a corporal who was killed earlier by unknown gunmen along the same road has been recovered by members of the Kumba Fire Fighting brigade.

By NGENDE ESTHER

BOLE BAKUNDU RAID: Many killed, burning escalates, villagers flee

There seem to be no letting up in the merry-go-round of gun fire exchanges and subsequent killings, burnings and looting propagated by resolute separatist militants and regular soldiers who have turned callousness into a favourite pastime on the Kumba/Mbonge road, with the latest episode being the exodus of thousands of inhabitants of Bole Bakundu on Friday, January 2, to nearby villages, bushes and even to Kumba for those who could easily escape for safety. This latest stampede is said to have been caused by regular soldiers in pursuit of alleged Ambazonian separatists.

Friday’s raid was a spillover effect of Thursday, February 1 clash between Government soldiers and separatist fighters. According to eye witness accounts to The Rambler, at about 4pm, roads along Kumba-Mbonge and Kumba-Kotto were reportedly blocked by “Ambazonian Tigers” thereby halting circulation, which prompted military intervention.

The narrative continued that on the night of Thursday, February 1, indiscriminate shooting from gunfire exchanges by both parties left many dead and some wounded on both sides. These actions had already induced panic in the populations of Bole and Nake, thereby causing many to flee that same night for fear of the unknown, with hindsight from memories of Kwakwa on their minds.

More than 20 houses have reportedly been reduced to ground level and at least three persons dead in Bole alone. Motor bikes that were apprehended are said to have been set ablaze. Gunshots were reported in other villages like Ekombe on Thursday night. Generally, farmlands, businesses and other valuables have been abandoned.

When The Rambler talked to a lady who had fled from Bole but elected anonymity for security reasons on what transpired in her village and how she survived, she said “on Friday morning I went to buy fish in to prepare food. On my way back, I just saw people from my quarter running so I too joined them and ran back to the bush. When we arrived at a quiet place I asked them why they were running and they told me that the soldiers had come to our quarter searching homes for only what they alone know. Thank God I always walked with identity card even when am going to the farm because I know times are bad now and one can be embarrassed anywhere. That was how I followed my neighbours and landed in Kumba. Here in Kumba I only received calls from the village of persons whom I know whose houses have been destroyed and even some who have been caught by stray bullets,” she recounted.

Some other two corpses of civilians were discovered around the Kake Bridge still on Thursday night. The corpses were later taken for burial by workers of the Kumba City Council.

By NGENDE ESTHER

Firebombing moves from schools to villages

Incineration has become a regular trademark in villages where assailants have stalked and killed soldiers in the Northwest and Southwest Regions, causing many to begin wondering if such acts of vandalism expected from unknown assailants ought to be associated with regular soldiers as it currently obtains. Moreover, this firebombing feature that used to be connected with public and private edifices has now been extended to whole villages, inflicting pains in their wake on innocent citizens.

In the event, while gunshots rent the air as separatists and the military engage in combat, air pollution has, also, become a tenant as the homes of most citizens are razed by the military in retaliation against perceived injury and/or deaths inflicted on fellow men of arms.

Whether as a strategy by the Government to render denizens of the Southwest Region especially in Kumba and Mamfe homeless or not is still a moot point in discussions. However, it has been noted that in every area where there is combat between separatists and the military, houses around such areas would be set ablaze mindless of the fact that there may be people in such homes.

A recent scene of such barbaric act by military goons is that of the innocent 96 year old woman who died in one of the buildings said to have been set on fire by the military. While strong and agile youths for the fear of the unknown scampered for safety in the bushes, the late old woman couldn’t and was consequently roasted like chicken by same people who are under normal circumstances supposed to protect her.

Natives of victimized villages have cried foul as their properties have been shattered and their lives in danger. They have bitterly complained of an unprecedented crackdown by the military, which also used helicopters to fire on civilians. Even though Cardinal Tumi, Archbishop Emeritus of Douala has spoken out against the recent use of military violence and for the respect of human life, this has fallen on deaf ears as the burning persists and is instead progressing to other villages as was recently the case of Tado in Bui Division of the Northwest Region.

Many have pondered on the motive behind what they term wickedness by the military. According to natives, it is innocent people who are suffering because those the military are combating are not from of the villages which have been razed.

Though the Government is talking of dialogue but not initiating one, many have ascertained that the rampant arson on homes would eventually harden the hearts of denizens and make things worse. They have bitterly complained that the Government is doing nothing to ensure that the problem is solved and precious Cameroonian lives are going by the day.

Violence, many have said, cannot be solved by violence, but that seems to be the case now. Fear has engulfed the hearts of Cameroonians, especially, those in the two English speaking Regions as to what the future holds.

By Relindise Ebune

Journalists charged with being peace ambassadors

The advent of sociopolitical agitation climaxing in the Anglophone crisis of the last 15 months or so has brought into being a perilous circumstance for the media in Cameroon. And, in a profession that had initially exhibited a pronounced shortfall in both tact and proficiency propaganda for either of the contenders represented by Government and aggrieved Anglophones has become customary through the inadvertence of wanting to be seen to belong to the Joneses.

It is against this backdrop that during a press dinner organized by the Cameroon Community Media Network, CCMN Wednesday January 31, journalists were advised to practice peace journalism.

According to Alexander Vojvoda, Technical Organizer of CCMN, journalists should keep themselves safe first in order to be able to report on conflict situations. He however stated that as the fourth estate, reporters have the voice to either escalate the crisis or to join the peace voice. While calling on journalists to go in for peace journalism, he advised that information from the field should be weighed before dissemination. Vojvoda added that the effects of disseminating information should be put into consideration prior to its being propagated. “Since journalists are the voice of the voiceless, they should consider the effects at the school, economic, and social levels for the good of the public,” Vojvoda advised.

Going by him, there is a need for journalists to take a step back and see on which side they are standing; they should weigh each side and bring possible solutions to the crisis rather than being propagandists on either side which may instead fuel the crisis.

Journalists present during the press dinner where asked to each give their experiences and how they handle the current situation. It was discovered from almost all the media organs that journalists are often threatened for speaking the truth or for not being part of either of the propaganda. Many shared the ordeal they have experienced and are still going through since the crisis broke out.

While painting a picture of CCMN in 2017, the Secretary General, Kum Leonard said for 2018, they had a board meeting to look forward to activities for the year. According to him, it was agreed to design projects for workshops with journalists in 2018, set up a monitoring and evaluation scheme to follow up the projects. To him, it is their objective this year to increase membership and involve journalists in the network, especially, in this year of crisis and elections.

By Relindise Ebune

Letter to Unknown Soldier

Dear Unknown Soldier,

This letter is addressed to you because it is rightly assumed that you are the product of refinement through training and continuous mentoring. Unlike the ragtag terrorist agitators you are fighting, order is supposed to be ingrained in your personae. However, your recent presence in Manyu and Meme Divisions tend to invoke a rather sombre picture of your clairvoyance capacity, or its complete absence. Whatever the circumstance, tread softly, my compatriot.

Furthermore, judging from the way you prosecute assignments, certainly, on the instructions of your superior officers, there is the definite impression that you mistake all Anglophones for terrorists. More so, your indiscriminate shooting and killing of unarmed, hapless civilians, especially, on the occasion of the death of your colleague(s) allegedly killed by some faceless individuals who call themselves ‘Ambazonia Forces,’ is not a solution to the present face-off between Government and Anglophones.

The guerilla warfare launched against you by the “terrorists” has no doubt been slaying many of your peers. It is understandable that such situations might be difficult for you to accept because it presents a kind of defeat picture, but it is not true.

You might be the terrorists’ target but Ah! Mr. Soldier, mind you, hapless civilians are no substitute for the faceless individuals attacking you. You have the duty to locate, defeat and conquer them. Even if you kill all Anglophones civilians, you are not declared victorious or should I say, you are not safe yet-you will have no peace because your enemy still lives and intimidates.

Please Mr. Soldier; in the event where you are attacked in a particular locality by faceless individuals, do not in anger or in the spirit of revenge react by shooting indiscriminately at every living being on sight; razing down homes and rendering hundreds of fellow Cameroonians refugees in their own homeland.

You did this in Manyu and then in Meme. Have the “terrorists” stopped their activities? Of course not, so logical reasoning should tell you that, the guys perpetrating these inhumane acts on you are probably not from those localities and, so, would have little or nothing to regret after you raid in revenge. Mr. Soldier, by doing what you are doing to the local population, you only give them ideas that negatively change their impression of you.

By burning down entire villages, you immediately turn those people into your enemies because you treated them as such and that scare will take generations to heal. The point is, by doing what you do, you become as inhumane as the extremists. Remember, it is not in your place to inflict greater pain, loses and burden on your camp; when the people are shot, killed, maimed, rendered homeless, it is not the inhuman radical who will come to their rescue afterwards, but the Government.

In a sense, it is Cameroon that loses its human resources and not the terrorists, and this has tremendous impact on the country’s development. Analytically, if we continue on this lane, Mr. Soldier, “Vision 2035” would be a farce because the resources supposed to be put together for national development is being irrationally wasted.

If one puts together houses and properties torched in Manyu and now Meme, as well as the number of people rendered homeless, one can only begin to imagine the difficulties these people will go through in managing to pick up the broken pieces of their lives.

Please Mr. Soldier, you are out to protect civilians as opposed to killing and exposing them to danger. Remember that all lives matter and we are all Cameroonians before being civilian, military, Anglophone or Francophone. Please, shoot no more, and kill not innocent civilians in Anglophone localities.

Graduate from being destructive to protective soldiers!

By Nester Asonganyi

Firebombs now rule Meme!

Mounting tension in the vicinities of KwaKwa and Nake along Kumba/Mbonge road consequent upon the brutal murder of a policeman and a soldier earlier this month allegedly by “Ambazonian Tigers” who had laid siege over the area, patrolling with guns and checking vehicles and, concomitant Government retaliatory expedition actualized in the deployment of over 500 soldiers and policemen has left the villages lifeless

Reports, images and videos captured of these villages indicate that more than 50 percent of their populations have lost homes to flames of fire set by military men. It was, also, reported that on Wednesday January 17 and Thursday January 18 when the military raided the area and met nobody, they were angry and started setting houses on fire.

One of the survivors of that attacks whose house was also burnt told this reporter that, “The military were just burning indiscriminately. This is because even churches which have no connection to the Anglophone crisis were burnt. He revealed that the premises of the Apostolic Church and the house of the Rev. Father of the Catholic Church have been reduced to ashes.” It is even alleged that an old woman of 96 year was burnt in one of the wooden structures in Kwakwa when all her children ran for safety in the bushes.

Kwakwa deserted

The erstwhile buoyant village is now as quiet as a grave yard at night. People have fled this locality to other safe zones like villages along the Bai Manya/Kotto Barombi road. Many of those who can be seen are those who hid in the bushes and only come to pick food stuff around their compounds. The only people who own the land now are the military who keep parading combat ready. Stray animals and skeleton of houses are the images that welcome the eyes of passersby in Kwakwa. In fact as at Saturday January 20, The Rambler got reports that all the Batibo people who had been residing in Kwakwa had taken off for Bamenda.

Attacks elsewhere

On Tuesday, January 16, soldiers stationed in Mbonge stomped the locality of Dieka Bafaw whereupon two civilians were reportedly shot dead. Reports from this area also indicate that one of the soldiers suffered an injury emanating from the careless firing of guns. The corpses of the two boys were laid to rest on Wednesday, January 17, by the villagers. People in this village are also leaving in constant fear of the unknown.

In Mbonge, a soldier was reported to have been killed by persons yet to be identified on Thursday January 18. Still on this day the principal of GBHS Mbonge was reportedly attacked by the “tigers”. It’s said that he ran and got missing at the CDC rubber plantation but later found his way using the GPS device.

The villages of Ekombe and Kake also suffered panic as there were reports of random gunshots in the afternoons and even at night. At Ekombe, the indiscriminate shooting by the military left a Sourobat worker (company charged with the construction of the Kumba/Ekondo Mudemba road) dead.

The neighbourhood of Tancha, in Kumba III Sub-Division is said to have also experienced a tensed atmosphere on Friday morning.

Generally, life in Kumba is calm but not without fear of what might happen the next moment.

By Ngende Esther

UB opts for commercial agriculture

The University of Buea, UB has opted to ensure that its much cherished tag as “the place to be,” is flown high at all times through teaching and research. The Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, FAVM, has made commercial farm production the epicentre of studies, with the long-term objective of producing independent-minded graduates as against the current crop of perennial job seekers.
Commercial farm production, one of the pillars of agricultural studies in the Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, FAVM, University of Buea was activated during the current Yuletide Season.
Tomatoes, table birds, pigs and eggs are the tangible products FAVM students and field technicians cultivate and reach out to the community.
The scheme, principally targeting end-of-year festivities has come to bridge the gap in modern agricultural practice and stimulate local producers.
Professor Ernest Molua, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine asserted that “We view this scheme as a pilot opportunity to test the market here on campus and we intend to continue with the production of tomatoes, live birds, pigs and eggs. This won’t only be seasonal but we are going to strategize to see how we can do this on a daily basis.”
Studies and observation have proven that agriculture is facing a tough challenge in Cameroon due to poor farm-to-market roads, limited conservation and transformation plants and lack of modern farm technics.
This explains why seasonal products like maize, apples, plums, and mangoes last just for specific period and disappear.
Government policy must ensure agricultural institutions embark on commercial production effectively in order to expand second generation agriculture to the nooks and crannies of Cameroon.

By Ekonde Daniel