The Ghana National Association of Cattle Farmers has called on the government to create grazing reserves and fodder banks across the country to be able to accommodate their cattle to prevent the conflict between the cattle herdsmen and farmers.
Speaking at the press conference, Imam Hanafi Sonde, Chairman of the Ghana National Association of Cattle Farmers (GNACAF) said, the creation of the grazing reserves would prevent the destruction of farm crops and also prevent the conflict between the two groups (cattle farmers and crop farmers).
He said the fodder bank which was constructed in Afram plains can only accommodate 300 cattle, which is too small considering the number of cattle in the community.
The conflict between these two farming groups is a serious threat to human and food security in the country and therefore, the association thinks it requires the maximum attention of the government and all concern stakeholders to come out with solution to solve the problem once and for all.
‘’we cannot continue losing precious lives in the nation,” he added.
The cattle sector contributes significantly to the economic development through employment, production and taxes but the image of the sector continues to be tarnished with conflict.
He noted that, the Ghana National Association of Cattle Farmers had accepted the court ruling and had asked it members in Agogo to respect the laws of the country and relocate, insisting that the Association did not support the herdsmen who decide to stay back in Agogo.
“We also condemn the recent killing of security personnels and urge that investigations should be carried out to apprehend the offenders to face the law.”
Mr Sonde pointed out that, the GNACAF is also not satisfied with the shoot and kill approach by the security on the cattle within and outside Agogo. ‘’we are sad to find out that the killing of the cattle has even extended to other areas like kumawu in the Ashanti Region and some communities in the Eastern Region. The issue of Agogo is by court order, why then extends the killing to other communities? Beside the court never said the cattle should be killed.
“The killing of the cattle is not the solution because; the cattle are controlled by the herdsmen.
“It could have been better to apprehend the cattle under the custody of the security agencies and if the owner refuses to show up, the cattle can become state property,” the chairman suggested.
He said, he had heard allegations that herdsmen deliberately led their cattle to graze on people’s farms but challenged those making such claims to produce evidence.
He therefore appealed to the Minister of Defense to call on the security agencies in charge of the operation in these areas to consider the innocent people and the innocent cattle.
Imam Sondes expressed gratitude to the government through the Ministries of Agriculture and National Security for initiating the Ghana Cattle Ranching Project Committee to find holistic solution to the problem between the herdsmen and the crop farmers to enhance development in the sector.