The Department of Forestry in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese community in The Gambia and NACCO recently conducted a tree planting exercise in Tumani Tenda village in the Kombo East district of the West Coast Region.
Six thousand five hundred trees were planted and were supported by the Chinese Embassy in The Gambia.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of Forestry and the Environment, Hon. Lamin Dibba, declared that the significance of the tree planting could not be overemphasized as they face challenges of climate change and climate variability.
Climate change has lot of implication on communities; hence they need climate resilience and how to mitigate the effect of climate change on people and to make them prepare for climate change.
He said reforestation is one of those measures that will help in mitigating against climate change and climate variability.
The exercise signified the bilateral relationship between the People's Republic of China and The Gambia, he noted, adding that they want to take this relationship further and higher.
He said the participation of the Chinese community in The Gambia in the tree planting would enable the two to know each other's culture.
According to him, China is one of those countries that used culture as a development catalyst to reach where they are today.
He said China took 50 years to achieve what took the West 100 years; adding that they should make best use of the culture to develop themselves based on the local environment.
Hon. Dibba disclosed that the Ministry of Environment has the mechanism in place to ensure that the community participated in forest management.
He noted that community participation to take ownership of the forest was the best way to engage people and to ensure sustainable development to happen.
The Director of Forestry, Muhammed Jaiteh, gave a brief history of the Tumani Tenda Community forest, saying Tumani Tenda has had community forest management since 1998.
He said himself with one Alkali Jarjusey initiated the tree planting in Tumani Tanda community forest and the idea was welcomed by the people in the community.
He divulged that the people in the community went through the normal process until the forest was handed over to them as their own.
He said after the introduction of the community forest in the Tumani Tenda, they won a prize of $7,000, which the community has used to establish the Eco Tourism Camp in Tumani Tenda.