By Cherno Omar Bobb
The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) in partnership with the World Food Programme (WPF) through the Peace Building Fund on Tuesday supplied four communities (Bassick, Tambakoto, Kubandar and Maka Farafenni) in North Bank Region with 20 wheelbarrows and an assortment of other materials.
They also planted 13, 000 mahogany, lime, moringa, orange, cashew, gmelina and mango trees in the said communities.
The exercise is being carried away in partnership with Government institutions such as the ministries of Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Department of Forestry, the Integrated Pest Management Directorate and the Community Development.
The project, dubbed ‘Peace Building Fund Project’ aims at promoting peaceful coexistence among communities in addressing the negating impacts of climate change such as land disputes.
Abdoulie Fye, Director of Programmes and Operations at The Gambia Red Cross Society said they conducted a national consultation and targeted beneficiaries, identified the type of trees they wanted, adding that the identified trees are what they gave communities.
Mr. Fye noted that his office’s advocacy is for tree growing because tree planting is one thing but ensuring they grow, is another thing. He therefore urged beneficiary communities to ensure the trees have the necessary fertilizer and protection they need to grow.
Bakary B. Jarju, assistant regional forestry officer at West Coast Region said trees play a very important role in our livelihood, adding that they provide us food as well as influencing the rainfall pattern. He further said that they also serve as wind breakers, noting that the impact of the recent windstorm in North Bank Region was more severe because it has less trees than other regions.
Dr. Ismaila Mbenga, Director of the Integrated Pest Management Directorate said anyone who gives you trees has given you life as trees are good for the protection of the environment, provide us with food, can be used for drugs production and other uses.
He called on beneficiary communities to take ownership of the project in ensuring the trees grow.
Njogou Jeng, Senior Program Associate Disaster Risk Management at WFP said we depend on the environment for survival particularly on farming. He added that it has been reported that harvest and rainfall has decreased in the country as a result of climate change and therefore highlighted the significance of tree planting.
Majenung Sanyang in his remarks on behalf of Bassick alkalo assured donors that they will ensure the growth of the trees.
The project targets the planting is t 45, 000 trees in 10 communities in North Bank, Central River and Upper River Region and supply them with 600 spades, 300 rakes, 300 cutlasses, 200 watering cans and 50 wheelbarrows.