The graduates were awarded certificates after undergoing one year intensive training programme on applied forestry from June 2014 to June 2015.
It was organised by the Department of Forestry under auspices of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Water, Forestry and Park, and Wildlife.
Cherno Gaye, head of forestry participatory, pointed out that most of the senior management of the forestry department passed through the Kafuta forestry institution.
Representing the regional forestry officer of West Coast Region, Mr Gaye said during the training, the people were exposed to many forestry modules.
Statistics has shown that The Gambia could lose 100,000 hectare of forest within ten years.
“This is cause for concern and therefore there is need for people to conserve and manage our forest,” Mr Gaye said, calling on the graduates to deliver to the best of their ability and give back to the community.
The head of forestry participatory said there are plans to institutionalise basic forestry training at local level for capacity development of newly recruited forest guards of the Department of Forestry.
He said the objective is to strengthen the department’s institutional capacity to better implement the new forestry concept and approaches including The Gambia Forest Management Concept (GFMC), a binding framework for forest management.
Mr Gaye urged the graduates to be ambassadors of the school by effectively applying the skills learnt during the training as that will serve as a yardstick to further justify the need for more investment to maintain the functions of the establishment.
He said:“The development of the perception of the forest as economically valuable, coupled with numerous other anthropogenic and natural factors, has been putting lots of pressure on the resources.This is resulting to serious deforestation and degradation and therefore heavy loss of habitats for our fauna.”
He further urged the graduates to strengthen and promote the participatory forest and protected area management approaches which is being pursued by both the Department of Forestry and the Department of Parks and Wildlife.It is part of strategies to put more forest areas under sustainable management.
The head of forestry participatory said the forest management can contribute to socio-economic development of the country by providing economic returns through the sale of products and services as well as the creation of employment opportunities for people.
Momodou Lamin Njie, principal of the forestry school, said the institute is set to cater for the growing need of basic forestry knowledge in the management, protection, conservation and national utilisation of the forest resources in The Gambia.
He noted the Department of Forestry and Department of Park and Wildlife remain committed to sound forest and wildlife management, saying these departments have attached a great deal of interest in building the capacities of their staff for effective service delivery.