EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: The global action plan to achieve the eight anti-poverty goals by the year 2015 have now become a mirage in The Gambia in the face of unprecedented takeover of arable land across the country by rich investors and businessmen for estate agencies and agricultural production.
In what is now dubbed ‘land rush,’ in the country, the systematic takeovers are equally posing serious threat to major new commitments for women and children rights and other initiatives against hunger and disease.
From Kartong to Sanyang and from Gunjur to Jambanjelly to Faraba and elsewhere in the country, Estate developers and business owners are grabbing lands like no one’s business. The repercussion leads to confrontations, family disputes and even death.
Acting on the increase land grabbing and other mineral resources in the country, Gambia’s Ministry of Lands, Regional Governments and Religious Affairs and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations will convene a day synergy at the luxury five-star Kairaba Beach hotel tomorrow, where stakeholders will discuss a project that targets to address conflicts over land and natural resources in the country.
Land has become precious and a lucrative investment in The Gambia, and enterprise that began in the early 2000, when estate development started to boom. It came along negative vices, including loss of lives.
The tomorrow synergy seeks to strengthen government efforts in formulating legal frameworks for Land and Natural Resources (LNR), related conflict resolution, governance and to enhance mechanisms for conflict prevention in communities where LNR conflict-related violence has already occurred and support actions for peace building.
In June last year, three people died and several others hospitalised when the young people of the Kombo East village of Faraba Banta clashed with personnel of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU), in what the youth claim was a land grab by Julakay Engineering and Construction Company; who claim it was issued sand mining licence by government.
Also in 2017, another land dispute happened at Bafuloto when young people launched attacks on law enforcement officials and those of the Department of Physical Planning as they attempted to pull down illegal structures in that village and its environs.
The new United Nations Peace Building Funded project will be implemented over an eighteen month period, covering the administrative regions of West Coast, Lower River, Central River and Upper River Regions, with a funding envelope of 1, 400, 000 United States Dollars. FAO will provide 1, 100, 000 US Dollars while UNDP will provide 300, 000 US Dollars.