Outgrowing Arrangement Helps HI Cameroon Expand

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A major part of increasing organizational sustainability at HI Cameroon is developing the means to completely produce the Total Health product line in-house, from growing the herbs, to processing them into medicine, to distributing them to customers through the Total Health Center and Mobile Clinic. Local production is significant because it means that the center will no longer need to import the medicines, thereby greatly reducing cost to customers, while increasing opportunities for employment.

Because of the popularity of the line, Energy Farming program leader Lilian Gupie, who is in charge of cultivating the necessary herbs, reached out to other farmers in the area to help with growing them. Currently, two farmers in two different locations are contracted to grow the herbs—including ashwagandha, brahmi, turmeric, rosemary, and others—and a total of 6 people are employed on their farms to help with the cultivation.

Both farms are located along roads used by many farmers, and the contracted farmers report that many people stop to ask about the herbs being grown and their uses.

The farmers who were approached about growing for the Institute had previously participated in a training with HI Cameroon about using power tillers. Because of the prior connection, Lilian felt confident about hiring the farmers and they in turn knew that HI Cameroon would make a fair arrangement.

In the past, the farmers have cultivated maize, beans, peanuts and some minor crops like coco yam on these properties. Now they have been able to cultivate a greater variety and number of crops, while continuing to grow food for their families.

Planting started in May and the number of healthy, vibrant plants have already met and exceeded the Total Health Center’s needs! Some crops will be harvested soon, then dried and ground for use in medicinal formulas, while a few others will remain in the fields for a couple months longer. The next step for the farmers, who have been in charge of all aspects of cultivation, will be to fence in the remaining herbs to protect them from cattle, which graze on the lands during the dry season!

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