The Association of the Wood Re-Exporters & Forest Users in The Gambia (AWEFUG) Thursday handed over 1000 seedlings to the people of West Coast Region (WRC) at a presentation ceremony held at the Governor's Office in Brikama.
The seedlings, which were received by the governor of the region, Lamin Sanneh, are earmarked for replacement of the trees that were lost on the highways during the rural electrification project. The varieties include 400 mangoes, 300 orange and 300 cashew seedlings.
Speaking at the ceremony, Governor Sanneh expressed his delight at the presentation, and said it is a clear indication that AWEFUG is moving in the right direction. "These seedlings will go a long way in the restoration of forest cover," he noted.
He hailed the immense efforts of the Association in the restoration of the environment, and assured that the seedlings will reach the right beneficiaries and taken great care of in realising its sustainability for the benefit of the future generation. The WCR governor also urged the Department of Forestry to continue implementing laws pertaining to forest protection so as to foster the development of the forest.
Lamin Barrow, the chairman of AWEFUG expressed gratitude to the governor of WCR for according them the opportunity to hand over the seedlings. His words: "We all understand the importance of trees especially fruits and it is notable that a lot of trees have been lost during the rural electrification project construction and this is a form of replacement. He added: "AWEFUG is not only a profit making organisation, but it also looks for ways and means of protecting the environment and replacing lost trees."
Babucarr Suwareh,Educationdirector for Region 2, described tree planting as key to national development. He thanked the governor of WCR and urged him to ensure that the schools within WCR benefit from the gesture. He also assured that at the school level, they would ensure that the trees they receive would be greatly taken care of to ensure its sustainability.
Alhaji Dembo Bakary Badjie, the chief of Foni Bondali District described the move as wonderful initiative adding that it is a clear indication of their political will and true reflection of what the Anti-Bush Fire Association has been calling for which is protection, restoration and development of the forest. He on behalf of all the chiefs urged AWEFUG to continue the good work.