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30 July 2016

MoFA develops livestock development strategy

Dr Hanna Bisiw, exchanging greetings with Dr Frederick Boadu. There with them are Dr Short (4th-left), of the College of Agriculture and Life Science, Texas and some officials of the Veterinary Services. Picture: EMMANUEL QUAYE

Dr Hanna Bisiw, exchanging greetings with Dr Frederick Boadu. There with them are Dr Short (4th-left), of the College of Agriculture and Life Science, Texas and some officials of the Veterinary Services. Picture: EMMANUEL QUAYE

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has developed a Ghana Livestock Development Strategy document to address challenges in the livestock and crops sectors.

 The document, which is currently before the Cabinet, outlines, among other things, strategies and regulatory frameworks to resolve conflicts that have emerged between livestock owners and food crop farmers.
The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Livestock, Dr Hanna Bisiw, made this known at a one-day stakeholders’ workshop in Accra.

The workshop

The workshop, under the auspices of MoFA and the Texas Law School, brought together participants from cattle farmers associations, food crop farmers associations, officers from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to discuss how to strategise to be able to amicably

resolve the conflicts that had emerged between livestock producers and food crop farmers over the years.

Holistic approach

Dr Bisiw said there was the need for a holistic and comprehensive approach that would engage all stakeholders in the production chain, so that the right measures could be rolled out to address all conflicts at the national and transnational levels.

“The issue is that anytime conflicts arise between herdsmen and crop farmers, we are quick to refer to Fulani herdsmen as alien herdsmen. We need to do categorisation and be able to tell who is an alien herdsman and who is not.

“Ghanaian cattle destroy food crops, and so do Fulani cattle. So there is no need to paint the picture as though only alien Fulani cattle cause destruction,” she added.

Right institutions

The Assistant Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the College of Agriculture and Life Science, Texas, Dr Frederick Boadu, said the conflict that emerged from livestock production could best be managed by building the right institutions.

“We need to have rules and regulations in place and have the appropriate agencies that will manage them. There should be good enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance,” he said.

He said the enforcement of regulations was key to ensuring that players in the production chain of the livestock industry and food crop farmers worked together to promote agriculture.

Dr Boadu said more veterinary officers ought to be trained to educate livestock farmers on an efficient cattle management system.

The Deputy Director of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and Consultancy Services (IIRaCS) of the University for Development Studies (UDS), Dr Abdulai Abubakari, called for an efficient animal husbandry system to control the movement of livestock.

He said the free range system that most cattle farmers used was a major cause of the conflicts, since the animals wandered onto people’s farms and destroyed crops.

He called for all cattle farmers in the country to be registered, so that they could be easily located and the right information disseminated to them.

“We need to give cattle farmers a unique identity, so that we will know who owns which cattle and where they are located, so that we can easily trace them,” he said.

Dr Abubakari said the country ought to demarcate specific places for grazing across the country to prevent indiscriminate grazing that could pose environmental problems.

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