Jan 31, 2012, 12:28 PM
The exercise was carried out with funding support from the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, through the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) project.
NFPG president Alagi Bassi Mboge explained that the tree planting exercise was supported by FAO through the FFF, after the NFPG signed a letter of agreement with FAO to implement a series of activities, one of which is the tree planting exercise.
According to Mr Mboge, the NFPG targeted pilot areas within the country, including North Bank Region, which is one of the areas in the country most affected by deforestation.
The other pilot regions are Central River Region South and North and Lower River Region respectively.
During this exercise, Mboge added, over 1000 seedlings of cashew, mango and other local fruit were planted in the North Bank Region alone, with the aim of restoring the lost forest cover which is a major problem for the people of the region.
He said looking at the North Bank Region, NFPG deemed it necessary to embark on a tree planting exercise at Illiassa and Yalala villages to rehabilitate the lost environment, and make their community forest areas green.
He said the team also proceeded to Jakaba Kuntaur in CRR South, as well as Tabanani, Tabanding and Madina and in LRR. Sare Musa village was also covered and supported with various species oflocal trees and fruit meant for economic purposes.
“We all know we are losing our forest based on some of the activities that human beings are engaged in; which is not natural but human-induced,” he said.
They are also advocating for community forests to be handed over to the community so that they would be properly managed, Mboge went on, adding that this was why the programme was going through the communities so that ownership would be there.
“We are targeting village communities whereby they will protect the planted trees and take ownership,” Mr Mboge said.
He advised the beneficiaries to maintain the trees for the future generations yet unborn, and also thanked the government for creating the conducive environment for the private sector to operate in the country.
Ebrima Jammeh, chief of Illiassa village welcomed the idea of tree planting and expressed appreciation for the move that the NFPG has taken, while calling on them to keep the momentum and increase more seedlings in his region.
He noted that deforestation remains a major concern in the North Bank Region, since even to cook is a problem because of lack of firewood.
The Regional Forestry Officer, Ebou Jaha, spoke of the importance attached to tree planting, noting that planting a tree is one thing, but protecting it is another thing and, therefore, challenged the communities to take ownership of their forest.