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Focus on Forests (text version)

The threat to the forest…

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 condition.

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