Two Cabinet ministers were among over 300 volunteers from the communities of Kangfenda and Kanilai, including members of the Wood Re-exporters and Forest Users Association of The Gambia, who embarked on Mahogany transplanting exercise, aimed at “maintaining the country’s forest cover by replacing the cut trees”.
Fatou Ndey Gaye and Solomon Owens, ministers of Forestry and Environment, and Agriculture, respectively, took the front steps in the exercise that showed the transplanting of 800 Mahogany trees along the Kangfenda-Kanilai Highway in Foni Kansala.
Minister Gaye said: “The exercise is very important for the environment. If we kill and exhaust all the trees we have today what will the children use in the future? We would have caused a lot of problems for them.”
Through initiatives by the president, the country aims to plant one million trees every year.
On his part, Solomon Owens also described the initiative as important. He said that one will see the big difference when comparing the environment 42 years ago and today. He lamented that most of the trees are gone, pointing out that the disappeared trees are not the cheap and small ones, but trees that are very expensive.
Whilst he recalled that a report published 10 years ago stated that despite all the efforts put into tree planting every year, the survival rate at the end of the season is always less than 10%.
Also speaking at the closing of the exercise, the acting director of Forestry, Sarjoh Fatajoh, said the objective of the tree planting exercise was to replace the ones that were cut. He stressed on the need for a proper security mechanism to ensure the survival of the planted trees.
“Tree planting is a very important exercise because for years back there was more rainfall than we have now and human beings cannot live without trees and there cannot be life without trees. Therefore, the importance of trees cannot be overemphasised. This is just the beginning. We are going to continue the exercise and it is going to be countrywide,” he added.