As Forestry trying to regain cover loss
VOL:1 ISSN:42 “The fisheries sector has the potential to contribute to the improvement of national food security, employment and revenue generation, poverty alleviation and foreign exchange earnings,” the Finance Minister was quoted as telling Gambians in his recent Budget speech.
Honorable Abdou Kolley added that the Government of The Gambia continues to provide fisheries infrastructure facilities, fishing related equipment and facilities for fish preservation and distribution.
On the Gambia Artisanal Fisheries Development Project, he said that works on the Banjul Fisheries Jetty are now in progress and the construction work is expected to be completed by mid 2010. Adding that following acquisition of a supplementary loan from the African Development Bank, funds are now available for the construction of the Bakoteh Fish Market and the rehabilitation of three inland fish landing sites at Bintang, Tendaba and Albreda.
According to him, the Food and Agricultural Oganisation (FAO) - funded Sustainable Aquaculture Project launched on 30th September 2008 is expected to supplement existing aquaculture research activities, reduce pressure on the capture of fisheries of The River Gambia and assist farming communities, and especially rice growers in Central River Region to generate supplementary incomes.
He noted that the provision of four high-speed patrol boats by the Government of China (Taiwan) will reinforce capacity for monitoring, control and surveillance of the country's territorial waters (coastal and inland). He said that the Government, having met the Millennium Development Goals target of 75 percent with regard to provision of safe drinking water to the population, citing that the target now is to provide safe potable water for 100 per cent of the population in line with Vision 2020.
During 2009, he said the RWSSS project completed construction of 16 out of the 30 planned hand dug wells, and 10 of the 45 planned drilled tube wells, all equipped with hand pumps.
“Sensitisation of all 25 beneficiary communities has been completed. All works under this project are to be completed before the end of 2010,” he said.
He further said that the Regional Solar Programme Phase II installed nine (9) new solar systems in various parts of the country in 2009, while the Saudi Funded Rural Water Supply Project, covering all the five Regions of the country has provided sixteen solar power wells and twenty-four drilled wells equipped with hand pumps.
On Forestry, he said the Department of Forestry, through the Technical Co-operation Project (TCP) and Forest Facility programmes secured funding from FAO to build a permanent and functional database, review the current Forest Policy and Legislation and conduct forest assessment including the biophysical factors and socio-economic variable of our forests.
However, he also noted that the Department will also continue the “One Million tree planting” and woodlot establishment initiatives as a means of increasing our forest cover and arrest deforestation. “The implementation of the Biodiversity and Wildlife Policy is on track with a focus on more efficient management of wildlife, parks and natural resources,” he said.
He admitted that with the support of their development partners, projects such as Integrated and Coastal Marine Project (ICAM Phase2), the Programme of Work and Protected Areas (POWPA) and the Wings over Wetlands (WOW) are being implemented for the effective management of what he called protected areas.
He added that within the framework of the West African Marine Conservation Programme, the Fondation Internationale du Banc d'Arguin (FIBA) has also initiated a new programme for the monitoring and socio-economic assessment of the coastal area of Niumi National Park.