Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), in collaboration with the West African Rural Foundation and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security has supported the Tombo Community to embark on massive mangrove planting in the coastal land.
The planting process witnessed the overwhelming participation of women and men from nine villages in the Tombo Community who are in dire demand of mangrove trees in the coastal land.
According to the Assistant FAO Representative, Programmes, Joseph Brima, the project is a pilot phase of the support for sustainable Climate Change Adaptation for marine artisanal fisheries communities, and it is simultaneously implemented in Sierra Leone, Senegal and the Gambia.
Brima stated that the pilot phase of the project is targeting the Portee and Tombo communities who during a meeting with FAO proposed the planting of trees as a major step to be taken in order to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.
He explained that the community people acknowledged during the meeting that the deforestation caused by human activities have resulted in the scarcity of fish in the coastal areas, and the threat of flooding and wind.
According to him, mangrove is a very important tree that provides shelter for many species, and has the ability to hold and prevent high tides and wind from causing dangers to residents of coastal communities.
He stated that FAO will be providing training for the fishing communities in order to enhance them on a profitable fish processing method and better micro finance management in order to realise more income for their livelihood, so that the mangrove plants will be preserved.
The Secretary-General of the of the National Artisanal Fishermen’s Union (NAFU), Abdul Mamoud Koroma, stated that they are pleased with the support for planting the mangroves in the coastal area as the deforestation of vast lands in the country has greatly affected the aquatic habitats.
He assured that the mangrove plantation will gain community ownership and proper monitoring because it is a request of the community people who have realised the dangers they are prone to and some of the natural habitats they are missing.
The Headman of the Community, Alimamy Ojuku Kargbo, expressed excitement over the mangrove planting process, as most of the villages have been affected over the years by high tide, as a result of salt mining.
“We used to see fishes along the coast but all of those are no more because of the absence of mangrove trees” he recounted.
He disclosed that they will be formulating bye-laws that will prevent people from cutting the mangroves.
The Portee community will embark on the planting of Coconut trees and the project has the tendency to be extended to other coastal communities based on attractive result.
By Keifa M. Jaward
Friday June 20, 2014