Local blacksmiths’s activity in the west region of Cameroon and their contribution to the development of micro hydroelectric power plants in that region
As a result of the nature of pollutant and exhaustible of fossils energies, developed countries have made use of renewable energy sources to make effective their energy systems. To stow on that vision in Cameroon, the promotion of micro-hydroelectric powers plants (MHPP) is a priority and any contribution to its ease is beneficial. The objective of this study is to characterize some main forges in the west region of Cameroon and show their technical input in the development of MHPP in that region. The survey was conducted in January, 2014. Socioeconomic data related to blacksmiths and main features were studied by the use of questionnaires, direct interviews, site observations and measurements. Main results show that the first forges was set in the Foto village in 1850 by blacksmiths from Nigeria. The studied forges are of traditional (62.5%) and modern type (37.5%). More than 50 products belonging to the main use sectors are manufactured, adapted and/or repaired. The main problems identified are acquisition of raw materials, the lack of equipment and limited technical knowledge. The blacksmiths has been involved in MHPP facilities since 1997, the installation year of the pilot MHPP with the participation of local craftsmen. Civil engineering structures, hydroelectric unit, transportation and distribution equipment are built by local blacksmiths using as much maximum materials as possible. This is often a source of malfunction. Thus, funding of local craftsman and equipment by the government or other agencies can render the forges useful for sustainable development in the west region of Cameroon.
Key words: Study, blacksmiths, micro hydroelectricity, funding, Cameroon