Earlier, in an effort to promote tree planting in the country, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio has promised to make Sierra Leone green. He made this pronouncement during the launch of the month-long exercise marking National Tree Planting Day, at Hockey Pitch, Wilberforce Barracks Freetown.
The National Tree Planting launch, is in line with the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, Deforestation and Desertification on Environment on Environment Protection for Adaptation and Resilience and calls on Sierra Leone which is a signatory to honor. The event was graced by the Mayor of the Freetown Municipality, government ministers, FAO representative, EU Delegation and CSOs with the theme: ‘Plant Tik Fo Betteh You Life’
Goal 15 of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) shows that forests cover 30 per cent of the earth's surface and in addition to providing food security and shelter, forests are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population.
The value of trees, according to President Bio is not about the forest, but it is a potential source of wealth creation. He stated that he will always encourage planting and growing of economic trees like cashew, cocoa, coffee, rubber among others for the tree planting campaign.
“I will also encourage the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to set a target for number of trees to be planted each year,” the President promised adding that he is an enthusiast when it comes to environment protection matters.
President Bio disclosed that he hopes that the national tree planting campaign will be an everyday practice which will in due course make Sierra Leone greener.
“Under my government Sierra Leone will be green and the future will be bright, Ladies and gentlemen, let roll off our sleeves and get to work and plant as many trees that we can destroy every year” President urged.
According to President Bio his government is committed to implementing policies and practices that will support attractive biodiversity management, as well as strengthen the ministry’s other component agriculture which promotes food security while the forestry component focuses on biodiversity management.
According to the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Joseph Ndanema, the status of the country’s forest is unstable. He went on to say that it is documented that 80% of the country was once covered with forest but that at present only about 5% of the forest remains as the country surrenders to uncontrolled and unplanned urbanization, logging without replenishment, and primitive acts among others.
“This ministry is aware that the spate of flooding, mud and landslides and heavy winds is a direct impact of rampant deforestation across the country,” Minister Ndanema said adding that Sierra Leone is literally sitting on an environmental time-bomb!
Planting trees only on 5th June, according to Ndanema, is not enough to keep pace with accelerated environment degradation coupled with deliberate acts of depleting the environment, stressing that the one month nationwide tree planting campaign is not enough and therefore much more is being planned by his ministry for maximum coverage.
“We can only assure of peaceful moments during the rainy season when we accelerate reforestation and afforestation,” Ndanema said.