Agric. Ministry observes Tree Planting Day
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security in collaboration with the Environment Protection Agency, Guma Valley Water Company and other line stakeholders have facilitated the planting of 18, 000 hectares of trees to commemorate this year’s World Tree Planting Day on Wednesday 3rd August 2016. This year’s official launch was held at the Mile 13 in the Western Area Rural District where speaker after speaker underscored the importance of tree planting so as to prevent water shortage in the country. The coined Krio theme for this year’s event is: “Plant Tik For Get Wata”.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, in her keynote address said government is working on an integrated program to solve problems like the water crisis that hits Freetown few months ago. Hon. Marie Jalloh pointed out that Sierra Leone is the second in the world amongst countries that are prone to disaster, adding that if positive measures are not taken by the people to protect the environment difficulties will ensue. Tree Planting, she said is part of the Ministry’s program on the Presidential Priority Initiative. “We are committed to plant trees and maintain the forests,” she said, adding that people must endeavor to plant ten of more trees after cutting down one. “We must reclaim our lost values by planting more trees to regain our lost forests areas,” says the Deputy Minister.
The Minister of Water Resources, Momodu Maligie recalled that the water shortage that hit the country brought about a great awareness on the importance of tree planting and environmental protection. He noted that the people must take responsibilities and think positively to save the environment. “We must do our best to sustain life,” he advised his audience. He promised that the past water crisis will not be repeated in the country.
The Member of Parliament for Constituency 93, Hon. Dauda Kallon pledged his people’s unconditional support to ensure that the exercise succeeds. He observed that the community people most times feel the pinch during water crisis period. Hon. Kallon therefore admonished the Lands Ministry, NPAA and other stakeholders to discourage the idea of illegal sale of state lands, especially in the water catchment area. He also called on the NPAA to recruit Forest Guards in the community so that they protect the preserved forest areas well.
EPA Executive Chairperson, Mrs. Haddijatou Jallow said all hands are needed on deck to protect and conserve the environment. She called for the need to educate each other on the importance of tree planting to supply more water to people. She announced that her office is ready to fund community youth led projects on environmental protection.
Dr. Kolleh Bangura of NPAA said before now there were about one hundred streams around the Western Area Peninsular that provides water to communities and wild life. “We only have about five streams flowing in the area in the dry season,” the NPAA Boss said, noting further that trees contribute to millions of gallons of water to flowing. “We are committed to plant 70, 000 trees across the country,” he pledged. Other speakers include Dr. Sillah of the Strategic Policy Unit at State House, who revealed that they will engage line entities to legislate laws to prohibit the destruction of water catchment areas.
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