Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Hon. Lamin
Dibba, has officially handed over 38 forest parks to communities across the
country as part of his nationwide tour.
The said forest would now be managed and owned by the communities.
In his remark at the handing over ceremony, the Environment Minister, said that the North Bank region was facing a massive deforestation.
He disclosed that two decades ago North Bank region was totally forest covered from Salikene to Dobo, saying they must protect the forest for future generations to benefit from it.
Having good forest parks was key to food security and climate change mitigation, he said, adding that The Gambia is a lowland country and to mitigate climate change they must make sure they tackle desertification and deforestation.
“We now have the enabling environment to operate and conduct massive sensitisation on deforestation,” he stated, noting that each Gambian must abide by the law.
According to the Environment Minister, a new bill on forest Act would soon be passed at the National Assembly, which would protect and sustain the forest reserve.
The representative of the Governor of North Bank Region, Kemo Gassama, said that the Office of the Governor of North Bank Region would support and work together with the department of forestry office in North Bank Region to combat and reduce the felling of forest trees.
Muhammed Jaiteh, the Director of Forestry said the forest they are handling over would be history in the making but it doesn’t mean it should be over exploited.
The Community forest could be useful to generate income to benefit the communities, he said, adding that they would be monitoring.
Dr Mustapha Ceesay, representing the FAO Country Director, said FAO supports the process of handing over through the project Forest and Farm Facility (FFF).
The FFF supports farmer-based organizations and producer groups to combat food security, deforestation and to empower the farmers.
He said FFF project was successful in The Gambia as their coordinator, Kanimang Camara, has made tremendous efforts of intervention for strengthening the efforts of the forest communities by building their capacity on livelihood skills.
Seckou Janko, the president of All Forestry Platform The Gambia, thanked the various communities for properly managing their forest parks and they appreciated the efforts of the department of forestry for their technical and financial support.
He disclosed that The Gambia was recommended globally for the management of their forest parks and advised all forest communities who were given back their forest parks not to over exploit it.