How does your reforestation programme help?
Our reforestation programme revolves around the replanting of the forest corridors that have been created through the expansion of farmland and areas of logging.
We have created a nursery from which farmers can opt into planting hardwood saplings and various shade crops on their land. The produce generated from the shade crops will make up some of the NTFPs that we will be developing and promoting, therefore incentivising the farmers to look after their little portion of the rainforest.
Coupled with a project to erect boundary markers around the edge of existing conservation land, we hope to aid local fauna by reconnecting areas of rainforest. This is especially important for species such as the Cross River gorilla, whose populations have become so isolated that they are at extreme risk of extinction.
How do you help indigenous farmers?
Due to poor and often difficult access to neighbouring communities, coupled with very limited storage and preservation facilities, the indigenous farmers of the forests seldom succeed in selling more than 50-60% of their harvests in their community markets.
Over the next few months we will be expanding our Waste-to-Wealth programme to assist them in reducing their waste and converting them into additional income. By drying their excess goods (sun dried fruits, peppers etc) we can market them in our farmers’ stead, increasing their incomes whilst reducing food waste.
Additionally to this bush meat makes up a big part of the diets of most indigenous communities, it’s part of their culture.
Through working with the local communities, we have begun the process of setting up master farms that will farm greater cane rats, giant African land snails and catfish. We aim to produce enough bush meat to undermine hunting as a profession, whilst offering a guns-for-jobs scheme. Hunters will be allowed to hand in their hunting gear in return for jobs on the farms
How are you helping to conserve Britain's waterways?
Scientists believe signal crayfish to be one of the worst invasive species ever to hit our freshwater systems.
They “crawl considerable distances” out of water and “climb substantial heights,” allowing them to colonise new stretches of water at a rate of more than half a mile per year. The species is also much larger and much more aggressive than our own local crayfish and their extensive tunnelling displaces endangered water voles from their riverbank homes. Their tunnelling can also destabilise banks, causing erosion and bank collapse, increasing flood risk and the silt load in the water.
By law, signal crayfish caught in British waterways are to be destroyed on site. Many establishments actually promote the consumption of them in restaurants and the like in order to reduce their population. We’re working with Bob from Crayaway, an organisation that deals with the environmental problems caused by the rapid spread of the American signal crayfish through UK waters.
By using this species as our new source of crayfish, we are also doing our bit to protect the endemic life of our waterways.
What packaging materials do you use and where do you source them from?
At the moment we are in a change over period, using a recyclable plastic but aim to move over to biodegradable bamboo packaging
What are the Rainforest Superfoods?
These are: peanuts, yams, green banana, moringa, scent lead, coconut, turmeric and ginger.
They are supplied by The Rainforest Guardian Farmers' Co-operative who are our local partners for several of our conservation projects.
These wholefoods provide an additional income for the cooperative and provide them with a financial incentive to stay involved in our conservation project work.
What are Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP)?
NTFP foods are grown by out farmers and we empower them by teaching them processing techniques. This allows them to create foods they can sell at local markets and through us.
They help show that the forest can provide a source of income without needing to be reliant on timber.
How are the rainforest ingredients sourced?
They are sourced through our project work that we are doing in Nigeria with the help of indigenous locals in the areas were our ingredients are grown.
How are the meat ingredients sourced?
The meats are all UK human grade quality as there are legal issues surrounding meat and the transport into the UK from Nigeria.
You use peanuts in your treats, some people worry about these being poisonous to their pets. How do you ensure they are safe?
How do the treats help your reforestation programme?
We have created a nursery from which farmers can opt into planting hardwood saplings and various shade crops on their land. The produce generated from the shade crops will make up some of the NTFPs that we will be developing and promoting, for example Moringa and scent leaf, that is used so heavily in our natural dog and cat treats.
How are the conservation projects progressing?
Unfortunately due to the pandemic which is going on it has been impossible to get to Nigeria to make any progress, however the locals have made a small push on the Bush meat farm.
Any new projects on the horizon?
We are always coming up with new projects whether it be in Nigeria, Belize and Tobago which is where we aim to go after setting all our projects up in Nigeria.