EYEAFRICA TV: Gunjur, THE GAMBIA:-Greenpeace Africa has on Thursday called on the government of The Gambia to take concrete actions to stop land grabbing and the expansion of fishmeal factory in Gunjur.
A Chinese fishmeal factory named Golden Lead, has recently expanded their factory by grabbing land from women growing vegetables, Greenpeace Africa said in a statement.
Greenpeace Africa activists in the region confirmed that the community living nearby the fishmeal and fish oil factories has been exposed to constant air pollution for the past six years, Greenpeace added.
“As human beings, it’s our fundamental human right to breath fresh air,” said Mustapha Manneh, China Dialogue West Africa Regional Editor.
The fishmeal factory expansion project was revealed by posts popping up on social media resulting in youth environmental activists’ frustration and protests among the populations in Gunjur.
According to the environmental activists, the fishmeal expansion will directly affect 31 women depending on the farming as their unique source of livelihood.
“Taking jobs from Gambian local women is showing that the people of The Gambia are not a Government priority. The female farmers are paying their children’s school fees and feeding their families. If their livelihood is affected, many more children will suffer,” Manneh explained.
The young Gunjur activist added: “You cannot come and bribe our people and take our land. Stop grabbing our land. No one can go to China and do that.”
“My son is a student, and thanks to this small farm, I’m able to pay for his university’s fees. Last year, I earned 35,000 dalasis and this year the vegetable gardening is even bigger. Now they want to remove us from here and give it to the Chinese,” said Awa Darboe, a female vegetable farmer in Gunjur who is now anxious about the future of her young boy.
Golden Lead first expanded their factory in 2017 after building waste tanks and accommodation for their workers without notifying the community or conducting an environmental impact study.
“It is time to shed light on the social, economic, and environmental impact of fishmeal and fish oil factories on the most vulnerable populations,” said Ibrahim Cissé, senior campaigner at Greenpeace Africa.
Many local artisanal fishermen and small-scale farmers are negatively impacted by expansions like the Golden Lead case. Land grabbing is a major problem and a threat to food security and nature protection, Greenpeace said.