We are now in August, the peak of the rainy season. We are aware that those who are keenly interested in the development of this country are busy working in their farms all in a bid to meet the food self-sufficiency drive of the nation.
Of course there are some who have adopted a non-challant attitude towards the back-to-the-land call; it is high time that such people realise the importance of agriculture to national development. Apart from cultivating the land to grow food crops, we should also take advantage of this wet season to make efforts to green our environment.
The Wood Re-Exporters Association has already began the greening crusade in the West Coast Region. We appeal that this should be entended across the whole country. Every citizen should also take it as a duty to at least plant a tree; this would help in not only protecting our forest cover, but also combat the desertification that is threatening the country.
We do not need to remind anyone that The Gambia is a Sahelian country; this implies that the country lies within the sub-tropical savanna belt and prone to desertification. The encroaching desert would have the better of our land if adequate attention is not given to the environment. In the face of such a threat, planting and nurturing more trees is the best weapon we have at our disposal to protect the country. Conserving and protecting our environment should therefore be the concern of all.
Another worrisome phenomenon is that trading in timber has become a lucrative venture in the country. This is harming our forests greatly as many of the trees felled as timber are never replaced. This has grave implications for our environment. Also, many species of plants and animals are already extinct, while others are threatened with extinction due to the loss of habitat.
Furthermore, the degradation of the forest results to a decrease in the amount of rainfall we receive.If rains fail to fall, then drought sets in, bringing with it its own set of problems. The current sahel food crisis is a case in point. Let us plant trees to safeguard our environment.