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Gambia Gov't committed to end forest intruder

Jul 14, 2010, 12:29 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The Director of Forestry, Mr. Abdoulie Sanneh has underscored government's commitment in ensuring sustainable management of our forest cover, stressing that The Gambia has the potential to put an end to forest intrusion.

Sanneh, who was speaking at the closing ceremony of a five-day training seminar on the national forest programme stressed the importance of the forest cover, which he added, remains a top priority for the government.

Organised by the Department of Forestry with funding from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the training, which was held at the Tendaba Camp in the Lower River Region, brought together stakeholders within the sector.

According to Sanneh, the rapid population growth and interdependency has contributed immensely towards the exploitation of our forest cover, noting that sustainable forest management has been a big challenge not only in The Gambia but the whole world.

He said the best strategy to map out some of those issues is by building the capacity of the stakeholder, especially the local communities.

Describing the training as timely, Sanneh commended FAO for always being at the doorsteps of his ministry in supporting its development agenda. He expressed hope that the training would go a long way towards complementing government's effort in sustainable development of the forest resource in this country.

The Forestry Director added that without building the capacities of the stakeholders, some of the issues like illegal felling of trees and charcoal burning cannot be addressed. He stressed that the participation of our local community in the management of the forest is very crucial in the sense that the forestry department cannot do it alone, and thus the need for community participation in the whole process.

Sanneh challenged the district authorities, chiefs, and Alkalolu to enforce the law by protecting and safeguarding the forestry resource. He further emphasised the need for collective responsibility in protecting the forest cover, adding that it is only through solidarity that some of these issues can be addressed.

For his part, Mr. Sambou Nget, the Focal Person at the Department of Forestry commended the FAO and the forestry department for their support in making the seminar a reality. He said the forestry department has been benefiting from FAO, who always supports some of their activities. He finally commended the facilitators for their willingness in giving participants the right information.

At the end of the training, participants were awarded with certificates.