A 42-page policy to help bring an end to the perennial conflicts between cattle and crop farmers in the country has been presented to the government.
Jointly developed by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) and the Ghana National Association of Cattle Farmers (GNACAF), the document is expected to be implemented once it receives Parliamentary approval.
It among others, aims at developing a more efficient pastoral industry that provides mechanisms acceptable for all stakeholders to increase productivity of livestock, national supply of meat and livestock products, while contributing to the improvement of crop production.
Presenting highlights of the draft document at a dialogue in Accra yesterday, chairman of the Ghana Cattle Ranching Committee (GCRC), Dr Kwame Oppong Anane deplored the incessant clashes between herders and crop farmers, resulting in deaths in some cases and the need for a policy to regulate the activities of both parties for co-existence.
In his view, both industries were critical to the growth of Ghana's economy, hence the policy which takes into consideration the ECOWAS protocol on transhumance, among other strategies, was timely to derive the utmost benefit from the sectors.
Pointing out that the implementation of the policy was time bound (within 1 to 3 years for the short term and 1 to 10 years for long term), Dr Anane said the guidelines touched on key intervention areas including improving sedentary ruminant production, increasing awareness on pastoralism, trans-boundary management (entry and departure of pastoral herds) and establishing corridors for pastoral herds.
Other areas the document takes into account are the setting up of appropriate markets, capacity building, promoting private sector participation, pastoral conflict prevention, mitigation and management, set up of a pastoral support fund, entry deposit and taxation as well as the enforcement of pastoral regulations.
The Agricultural Consultant, however, did not rule out the need for a robust institutional framework for the successful implementation of the policy.
He mentioned the need for the government to provide the essential support through agencies like the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) for the efficient allocation of resources, strengthening of linkages between different stakeholders and coordinating their activities for expected outcomes.
Receiving the policy document on behalf of the sector ministry, Assistant Director of the Animal Production Directorate, Mrs Mavis Afutu, agreed on the value of the pastoral chain to the national economy, expressing MOFA's commitment to take immediate action on the policy.
Mrs Afutu admitted the timeliness of the guidelines as the government had over the years made efforts at resolving the unending conflicts between both parties, adding that, "this will also help transform the entire pastoral value chain."
The Assistant Director assured that the policy "will not rest on our shelves. An action plan will be developed on it, a bill will be done, we will create the needed awareness and ensure the MMDAs pass the needed bye-laws" to operationalise the policy.
President of PFAG, Mohammed Abdul-Rahman and that of GNACAF, Imam Sonde Hanafi in separate remarks stressed the need for peaceful co-existence among their members for national development.
They expressed the hope that the document would see the light of day to improve both industries and protect lives of citizenry.