SERAPH: Fighting Against Raffia Extinction

The production of pasteurised raffia wine is just one of the many tons of products that comes from raffia.

Raffia palm constitute an important ecosystem of Cameroons flora and are found growing in wetlands especially around flood plains and river valley. Their presence in particular areas has led to the growth and development of particular animal and plant species which are linked up into a complex web of feeding relationship. The existence of raffia bushes led to the development of several activities like wine tapping, fishing, hunting and craftworks. Unfortunately, the activities of man like agriculture, bush fire, infrastructure among others is gradually destroying the rich ecosystem and subsequently the extinction of raffia bushes. On hand to discourage the destruction and subsequent extinction of raffia is SERAPH (Sève de Raphia Pasteurisée) under the umbrella of GADDDschang (Groupement d’Appui pour le Développement de Durable). SERAPH is out to sensitise the population on the importance of flora and the economic benefits linked to using raffia including pasteurised raffia wine. Raffia is good for the body when it is still fresh but when it spends more than seven hours after it has been tapped, it alcoholic content triples and it becomes very toxic for human consumption. It is for this reason that SERAPH thought it wise to pasteurise raffia wine and bottled it so that it can stay for 10 months without affecting the sweet taste. SERAPH produces for two weeks each month and has a production capacity of 200 bottles daily. They produce 33cl and 65cl and sell at FCFA 300 and FCFA 500 respectively. The prices doubles in supermarkets and other sales points with a 33cl selling at FCFA 500 and a 65cl at FCFA 1,000. With the production of pasteurised raffia wine, not only SERAPH benefits in monetary terms but wine tappers and others involved directly or indirectly in the raffia wine business. Tebonsso Nantia Valery, in charge of production in SERAPH disclosed that instead of buying a litre of raffia wine from tappers at FCFA 50, they have doubled the price to FCFA 100 which is already a big benefit to the tappers.

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