The World Agroforestry Centre’s West and Central Africa (WCA) regional office is based in Yaounde, Cameroon. The region covers approximately 1,200 million hectares, spanning 21 countries with a population of over 330 million people. WCA comprises two main agro-ecological zones — the dry Sahelian zone, a semi-arid landscape stretching from Chad to Senegal, and the Humid Tropics, spreading along the Atlantic coast and extending inland to the central part of Africa.
Activities are carried out in the Sahel and in the Humid Tropics zones, known as 'nodes'. The West and Central Africa region is the World Agroforestry Centre's flag bearer in participatory tree domestication and tree biodiversity conservation, and aims to enhance the livelihoods of smallholder farmers through increased income and non-income benefits from indigenous trees and shrubs on their farms and in agricultural landscapes.
Promoting cultivation of high-value plants
In participatory tree domestication, researchers work with communities to identify priority species and select them from their natural habitats and adapt them for cultivation on farms. The procedure involves the identification, reproduction, adoption and dissemination of quality and high market-value germplasm. The region’s researchers have selected, developed and adapted vegetative tree propagation methods of air layering, rooting of cuttings and grafting. These techniques lead to early fruiting, replication of desired traits or characteristics, easy reproduction of species whose seeds are difficult to collect and conservation of valuable species. Indigenous fruit trees such as Adansonia digitata, Cola spp, Dacryodes edulis, Garcina kola, Irvingia gabonensis, Ricinodendron heudelotti, Tamarindus indica,Vitellaria paradoxa, Ziziphus indica have all been promoted using participatory approaches. Others include oil tree species such as Allanblakia spp; trees with edible leafs that provide an important vegetable component in diets, including Adansonia digitata, Gnetum africanum, Moringa oliefera; spice species such as Afrostyrax lepidophyllus, Baillonella toxisperma, Monodora myristica; and medicinal species, mainly Annickia chlorantha, Khaya senegalensis, Pausinystalia johimbe and Prunus africana.