The perennial clashes between nomadic Fulani herdsmen and crop farmers in the Kintampo North Municipality, which had always led to its attendant deaths and casualties, would soon be a thing of the past, Michael Sarkodie Baffoe, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) and Kwasi Etu-Bonde, Member of Parliament of Kintampo North have declared.
The two said, plans are in place to turn the recurrent menace into an economic venture, where the problem would be turned into economic benefits, tamed-rotational grazing parks and develop fodder banks in Kintampo North Municipality for the cattle farmers, as pertains in Canada.
This, they opined, would minimized, if not eliminate cattle grazing on crop farmers’ fields in the Municipality to boost commercial activities between the two groups, which has positive impact for the local economy.
The two, made the declaration on their return from Alberta, Canada, upon invitation by the Alberta State Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to learn some lessons on how best Alberta, has managed their cattle rearing situation and turned it into a profitable economic venture, which can have implications for development in the Kintampo North Municipality.
The trip was facilitated by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Kintampo North, Kwasi Etu-Bonde, who came in contact with Alberta Innovation and Smart Agriculture Mission in Parliament in November, last year.
“In a bid to finding lasting solutions to the perennial clashes between Nomadic Fulani herdsmen and the crop farmers, which has adverse effect on the Municipal budget and for that matter on our development, the two of us have been looking at various avenues to minimize if not eliminate the situation entirely.
“In consistent with President Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo Addo’s vision of tackling head-on the clashes between crop farmers and cattle farmers, we teamed up and as a result, had series of meetings in Ghana, and several correspondences with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Alberta, Canada, that resulted in our invitation by the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for the facts finding and program partnership mission in Canada,” Mr. Baffoe emphasized.
Over the years, there have been reprisal attacks leading to the deaths as a result of violent clashes between Nomadic Fulani herdsmen and crop farmers in the Kintampo North Municipality of Brong-Ahafo Region. A good number of cattle belonging to the herdsmen have also been killed in the clashes.
While, the crop farmers, accuse the herdsmen of allowing their cattle to graze on their farms, thereby destroying their crops, the herdsmen, claim the crop farmers, have been stealing and shooting their cattle. The recurring clashes between the farmers and herdsmen are not only worrying. The situation is one that if not exhaustively dealt with could adversely affect the economic and social fortunes of Ghana’s agriculture sector.
Recounting their experience from Alberta, the two said they met with representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Alberta, who facilitated the meeting with some key cattle ranches, Universities who research into that area, as well as key industry players within the cattle industry to learn at first-hand best practices on how to deal with the situation.
They contended that what they have learnt during the trip to Alberta, would be implemented in the Kintampo North Municipality, with a view to bringing permanent closure to the perennial problem between cattle farmers and crop farmers.
They are of the view that when well implemented, the success story could be replicated in some parts of the country which have the same challenges, and were quick to emphasize that they have the full backing of the President, the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Kwaku Asumah Kyeremeh, the Chiefs, Queens and people of the Municipality.
According to them, the perennial problem has implications for security in the Municipality, saying that, currently there was a Military cum Police detachment in one of the communities in the Municipality for the past seven months, who have been trying to manage the situation.
They said as part of the project, there was the need to concurrently explore a potential like ranching as a more permanent solution to the volatile situation, which he said is practiced mostly in the North American continent to regulate the activities of cattle farmers as against crop farmers, and this they noted, would enable the Municipality use its little budget for the needed development programmes.
The MCE noted that the project was also consistent with the vision of President Akuffo Addo’s One District One Factory, since there were plans as part of the project, to develop the cattle industry and extend it into the production of milk, cheese and beef for local and international consumption.
According to him, the visit to Alberta exposed them to the realization that there were feed lots, where they have confined the animals to graze, and this he said was a solution to solving the clashes between the two groups.
“One interesting aspect of our trip was that, we also learnt about traceability systems that link cattle to their owners, feeding lots and their daily activities and health status to quicklyidentify and address diseases, and so as to avoid unwholesome dairy and beef products from getting unto the market.
“It is worth noting that the government in Alberta has teamed up with Research institutions and industry players to create a symbiotic relationship, where each individual sees themselves as partners and not enemies in the industry,” he indicated.
Mr. Baffoe stated that, in view of the perennial clashes which results into social problems, the implementation of the project would address the situation so that they could surmount it into economic benefits, where farmers could voluntarily plant cattle feeds as is the case in Canada to the cattle farmers.
He said as part of the programme, the Alberta team will pay a reciprocal visit to Kintampo North Municipality to find at first hand, data/information that could be processed into the formulation and implementation of the project.
He, therefore, called on the good people of the Municipality and Ghana, as a whole to see the project as a socio-economic venture devoid of political colours, hoping that with the collaboration between the two of them from different political backgrounds, the lifespan of the project was not going to be endangered in anyway.
The MP, Mr. Etu-Bonde, who is an Agribusiness and Rural Development Specialist by profession, and a member of the Parliamentary-Select Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, said there wass absolutely no reason, why precious human life should be lost because of animal grazing, emphasizing that Ghana needs both the herdsmen and farmers to stay alive and prosper, so that the agriculture sector will thrive in leaps and bounds.
“It must be emphasized that the farmers and herdsmen are both major stakeholders in the agriculture sector and it is regrettable that the two groups have to go head-to-head in clashes that often leads to deaths of human and animals as well as the destruction of valuable crops in its wake.
“If we are to benefit optimally from the two stakeholders, we must learn from other countries such as Canada and other North American countries who have managed the situation effectively,” he maintained.
He thereby invited all hands to be on deck towards the realization of the project because ultimately, it would create jobs for the youth and consequently, boost the local economy for their common good.