|The villagers asked the Park authorities for help.
A National Park Community Forestry Officer (CFO) was paid by WWF to
work with the villagers, finding out what they wanted and how the
Park could help them with their plans for the future. Up till then,
they had been selling the NTFPs, especially afang (a kind of vegetable),
to buyers from the cities who came to the village. They then had to
carry it on foot to Okokori where the nearest road was. Because they
did not know what prices it would fetch in the towns, they sold it
to the ‘middle men’ for unreasonably low prices.
The villagers realised that if they had a proper road, they could
themselves take large quantities of NTFPs to the towns and make a
lot more money. In 1992, a commercial timber company made a tempting
proposition to build a new road in return for a timber concession
(the right to fell trees) in their forest. However, the money offered
was very small and the villagers thought that the company, having
no long-term interest in the forest, might leave it in a very degraded
/ Ukazi leaves (gnetum African)
These are dark green Shiny leaves of the creeping "afang"
plant cultivated mostly in Calabar and Igbo land. Afang is
used as an ingredient in cooking. It can be bought ready shredded
from African food stores.