By Momodou Darboe
Land scarcity in parts of Saloum and Fulladu is forcing thousands of farmers to migrate to Senegal in search of farmlands and grazing for their cattle.
This revelation was made by the Minister of Tourism, Hamat Bah, in Kerr Gibi in the Central River Region as he embarked on a tour of tourism facilities and heritage sites across the country.
The minister made a stop-over at the village where government is embarking on a road construction project and in a brief chat with the contractors and consultants, he advised them to be frugal with land use as government looks forward to opening up the area to tourism development.
“There is a land scarcity in this area. From Fulladu to this end, thousands of farmers have left for Casamance. Land is a huge problem in CRR. And according to statistics, this region has the largest number of cattle,” the tourism minister said.
Meanwhile, minister Bah and delegation over the weekend visited the UNESCO heritage site of Kerr Batch Stone Circles where a museum is being constructed because according to the director general of GTBoard, plans are afoot to return Kerr Batch’s artifacts from Wassu for exhibition purposes.
The Kerr Batch project has fencing and water components. The minister said he was impressed with the pace of construction there, expressing hope that it will meet the deadline.
From Kerr Batch the tourism minister accompanied by senior officials of his ministry, the GTBoard, National CenWassu tre for Arts and Culture, GHI amongst others, visited Stone Circle where he underlined government’s commitment to train young Gambians to enable them impact positively on the country’s tourism sector. He tasked the NCAC to assume ownership of the site by developing it.
The ministerial delegation later visited the home of Sir Dawda Jawara in Barajally where the minister spoke about government’s intention to build a museum there with a view to immortalizing Gambia’s first president.
The minister and entourage left Barajally for Karantaba to the obelisk of explorer Mungo Park.
At the obelisk near the bank of River Gambia, Bah echoed the need for ‘our past to serve as inspiration’ whilst highlighting the significance of preserving the country’s heritage sites.
The minister also visited the tomb of Musa Molloh in Kisiri Kunda and according to NCAC boss Hassoum Ceesay, his institution intends to provide toilet facilities and a museum there. He also spoke about plans to refurbish the tomb and provide fencing for the area.
The minister expressed optimism that the tomb has a potential to improve domestic tourism by attracting students from the coast, saying the Kunkilling eco-tourism camp will aid in this.
The ministerial tour continues in the URR.