Visit by the Ambassador of France in Oku - May 14, 2016
The Ambassador of France to Cameroon, Christine Robichon, visited Oku commune in the mountains of the Northwest Region on 14 and 15 May 2016.
She went on the shores of Lake Oku, sacred place for the local population, sanctuary of biodiversity, natural heritage preserved intact for future generations.
On the esplanade of the royal palace, she participated in the presence of a thousand people, at a ceremony chaired by the Fon of Oku, HM Sentieh II, to celebrate the cooperation between France and Oku community.
With the support of CIRAD and the French Development Agency (AFD), Oku white honey is one of two Cameroonian productions with Penja pepper, which enjoys a protected geographical indication by the African intellectual property organization (OAPI). Oku is a place of intense and old Franco-Cameroonian cooperation in scientific research. For fifteen years, Cameroonian and French scientists are exploring together biodiversity, environment and Oku history, through partnerships (University of Yaounde 1, University of Douala and Agricultural Research Institute for Development and in the french side, IRD, CNRS, the National natural history Museum, the Practical school of High Education). Oku host the last African mountain large forest of West Africa, research that are conducted are of a particular importance for the understanding of tropical biodiversity and to develop strategies for the conservation and sustainable management of tropical environments.
Fon Sentieh II awarded to the Ambassador the title of Ya’ah. The Ambassador handed over Fon Sentieh II archaeological collection made include pottery fragments that the oldest date from the fifteenth century, unearthed during excavations in recent years near the royal palace Oku. These objects will complete the collection of the Royal Museum.
The Ambassador visited the cooperative of farmers producing white honey of Oku and two sites where micro-projects financed by France via the C2D and the PNDP were made : 28 fountains and a cattle market (cattle enclosure and administrative and medical building).
With a hundred people, the Ambassador participated at the communal center, to a scientific cultural evening organized as part of the Field School "Man and biodiversity", coordinated by Philippe Le Gall, an entomologist at IRD. This field school meets for two weeks in Oku twenty master students, doctoral candidates and supervisors. The program includes conferences on biodiversity (Philippe Le Gall, IRD), geology (Robert Tendjim, University of Yaoundé 1) and archeology (Geoffroy de Saulieu, IRD) and the screening of two films made by IRD scientists : "Hubert beetle" and "Foss business".
The Ambassador expressed the hope that the actions of Franco-Cameroonian cooperation serve the development of all the inhabitants of Oku town that has an exceptional natural and human heritage. The forest, the lake, the cultural traditions are alive and yet properly preserved. The Honey, a product of the nature, but also a cultural expertise, sees its quality recognized. But its future depends on the preservation of local biodiversity, the source of future wealth.