As an expert in the various agricultural endeavors of his native land, Gilbert will organize the discussions and present focused, action-oriented plans for implementing the principles of remineralization and local agriculture in Cameroon. Specific topics include planting remineralized Jatropha plantations to produce fuel and enhance soil fertility, using rock dust to replace synthetic fertilizers for regional crops such as pepper and watermelon, exploring rock powder as a replacement for pesticides, and developing pilot programs at the university level that encourage the study of remineralization technology as an aspect of applied geochemistry. The meeting will also explore the possibility of a bioregional model similar to RTE’s project in Costa Rica, designed by John Todd of Ocean Arks International, in which intercropping of over twenty species of trees was used to provide food, fuel, and income to sustain a local community.
The upcoming RTE workshop in Cameroon will provide a forum for sharing information, experiences, and research related to sustainable agriculture and remineralization. Among the several objectives and themes of the meeting, Gilbert hopes to identify sources of rock-based fertilizers and develop a feasible plan for transporting these materials to the farms and forests that need them. Gilbert knows that the progress of remineralization in Cameroon depends on stable, synergistic relationships between academic interests, non-governmental organizations, and indigenous rural communities. The environmental and agricultural problems in Cameroon are varied and complex, but they need to be addressed—Gilbert believes that “RTE technology…could be the best and most enduring holistic approach.”