By Mustapha Jarju
The Foni Jarrol District Forest Committee has recently banned the charcoal making and cutting of big trees in the District aimed to discourage deforestation through an action-oriented approach which includes banning charcoal production and falling down of big trees in the bushes and discouraging farm clearing without replacement of trees that were cut.
In an exclusive interview with The Voice Newspaper, Mr. Amadou Jarju, a Committee member of the Foni Jarrol District Forest Committee revealed that the Chief of Foni Jarrol, Solo Sanyang, and the forest Committee chairman, Yaya Tamba has called people from all the villages across the district to discuss on how to put an end to the cutting of trees, and they also selected committee members in every village.
“We sensitized people before stopping them from cutting trees and making charcoal and after that, we selected a day to go round the villages in the district and go into the bushes, the first day we went we found many people have stopped the act of cutting trees and making of charcoal,” he pointed out.
However, they at some point found some people who already started burning their charcoal and were given a deadline to immediately avoid the act by making sure they are done with their charcoal before the due date.
According to him, the Committee is there to maintain the forest, because the forest is seriously damaged and many big trees are no more due to the charcoal burning which led to the cutting of most of the trees which have caused a lot of challenges to them, adding that if it continues for the next three years, it would be difficult for them to cope with the deforestation situation.
“Currently you will not hear any machine in the bushes of Foni Jarrol, cutting trees for charcoal production because this has entirely stopped. Currently, the charcoal our people use for their daily consumption in the district is from the Southern Senegal region of Casamance,” he said.
He also said that the plan to end cutting trees during the rainy season for farming without replacement is not good.
He further called on the people to join them in protecting the country’s bushes from deforestation to avoid climate change, which he said is causing a lot of challenges to the Gambia’s agricultural sector, adding that they are closely working in hand with the Forestry Department to come up with a plan on how to end charcoal burning and cutting of trees.