The communities of Kumadi in Jokadou and Kasaywa in Upper Niumi in the North Bank Region recently signed a joint forest park management agreement.
The signing ceremony held in Kerewan was presided over by the Governor of the region, Lamin Queen Jammeh.
The objective of forest management agreement is to contribute to the conservation and improvement of forest resources through sustainable management of its resources.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Governor of the Region, Lamin Queen Jammeh, lauded the Regional Forestry Office in Kerewan for bringing together beneficiary forest users to discuss and map out strategies for the proper management of forest resources and campaign against fire and illegal logging.
Governor Jammeh said the signing of this agreement would strengthen closer ties, promote information sharing and consultation of forest park management with district authorities.
He noted that the Government of The Gambia attaches high importance to empowering communities to take charge and manage their own resources.
Ebou Janha, Regional Forestry Officer (RFO), thanked district authorities for their invaluable support to the Department of Forestry especially in protecting and preserving the country’s forest cover.
Janha explained that the joint forest park management concept was developed in consultation with village representatives and other stakeholders utilising the forest parks in Central River Region in 1999 by the then Gambia German Forestry Project (GGFP).
“The project aims to preserve Kumadi Forest Park, which is about 304 hectares of land and Kasaywa Forest Park, which is 155.7 hectares. Under the project we will ensure that the parks are protected from bushfire, encroachment and other illegal activities,” he added.
The NBR RFO lauded the Department of Forestry for the foresight, noting that it is the first of its kind to be implemented in the region.
Chief Momodou Chatty Cham of Upper Nuimi commended the Department of Forestry for the move, saying the agreement would contribute to the maximum management of forest resources so as to bring about sustainable livelihood development.
Momodou BK Ceesay, Regional Disaster Management Coordinator, said the initiative is in conformity with the framework of disaster risk reduction.
He acknowledged that forest contribute to the attainment of food security and enhance people’s livelihood.
Ceesay called on the beneficiary communities to continue to protect the forest.
Chief of Jokadou, Jimfatma Jobe, assured of his support to the protection of country’s forest resources.
Other speakers included Omar A Barry, secretary to the executive committee; and Alpha Khan, vice chairperson of Kerewan Area Council, who lauded the initiative as a move in the right direction.
by Alhagie Babou Jallow