Women & Agriculture
Agriculture has the potential to improve the socio-economic life, not only of a woman, but a family and community as a whole. It is an important aspect and the basis on which Bridgers Association Cameroon operates. We want to encourage sustainable agricultural practices and thus take care of the environment.
In the agriculture domain, Bridgers is engaged in training women through the establishment of community farms, which serve as practical illustrations on the usage of organic manure to improve the output of their subsistence farming produce.
We do well to encourage these women to increase their products not just to serve as food in their homes, but also a means of bringing income for other expenses to better their livelihoods. Some of the crops they are specialized in include: tomatoes, cucumber, plantains, beans, maize, ndjinger, etc which are all short cycle products.
It is difficult to give an accurate assessment of women’s contributions to agriculture due to the lack of statistics, But according to FAO, it is estimated that rural women supply about 90% of the food needed for the subsistence of the population in Cameroon.
However, poverty still lingers as these women always face a great financial need especially sending their children to school. As such we strife to solve this problem by organizing them to pull their small financial resources together through savings on a weekly basis from where they can borrow at a 1% interest rate free of procedures and a lot of paper work like the case in financial establishments. This gives them a relief as access to loans especially for rural women in banks is a nightmare due to lack of collateral.
Non-Timber Forest Products
For a long run purpose, Bridgers is further introducing women in to the cultivation of non-timber forest products (NTFP) which are condiments and medicinal plants.
This will greatly improve the income of the women due to the high demand for the products locally and internationally, however, these NTFP take a longer time to grow to maturity.
We hope to get maximum impact since we intend engaging seed multiplication experts, Agro-Forestry systems and organizations for the best improved species and products. These plants will grow into trees and eventually contribute to safeguard the environment by providing oxygen to the environment, improving air quality, preventing soil erosion and providing habitat for animals such as birds.
Still for safety, of the environment, we also discourage the burning of forests through Capacity building workshops and seminars within the rural communities.
Animal and Poultry Farming
Animal farming is one of the most cherished forms of farming Bridgers is out to promote and introduce women into. We donate high yielding species of pigs to beneficiaries to boost up their income from the sales of piglets which are often great in number per one delivery by a mother pig as a result of the special breed of pigs we donate. The donations are preceded by a training phase during which resource persons drill them on the best techniques involved in pig farming with the use of locally produced feed and fences which are cost effective.
Similarly, Bridgers takes interest in encouraging, educating/training and donating chicken to rural women to raise their standards of living, these fowls don’t only fetch income but serve as a source of protein in their homes. Through experts we train women on the elements of rich feed for fowls which is lower in cost with usage local food stuff.