Give lands to nomadic herdsmen for cattle grazing – Kufuor
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has advised that parcels of land should be allocated to nomadic herdsmen where their cattle can graze and not stray onto farmlands.
This, he said, could prevent the persistent clashes between the herdsmen and farmers which have resulted in the loss of lives and properties, particularly in the Eastern and Ashanti Regions.
“Nomadic herdsmen, with their animals straying onto farmlands and destroying farms without any sense of responsibility leading to clashes that lead to killings, even for security forces is a real threat here,” the former President said.
“What hasn’t been the practice in our country is that, we haven’t come by ranching or demarcating lands that are developed as farms across the country that herdsmen could be directed to camp their herds to pasture for a fee.”
Mr. Kufuor added that, given the tendency of the herdsmen to graze their cattle in multiple locations, the lands could be leased out to any cattle herder who is in the area at any point in time.
He added that, law enforcement agencies could ensure that such a policy is implemented effectively.
“What we should be thinking about as a policy, is to encourage the local governments across the country to see if they could develop ranches that could be leased to these herdsmen so that when they are forced by climate changes to come here, they know where to go and should be directed to go there,” he said.
“There should be law enforcement, and if they should violate the laws then the law should deal with them.”
Tensions escalated recently in the Asante Akyem North District after four security personnel, including three military officers and a police officer, who had been deployed to the area to evict nomadic herdsmen and their cattle, were shot by an unknown assailant at Agogo.
The government had dispatched about 200 personnel drawn from the military and police service to the Asante Akyem North and Sekyere Afram Plains districts of the Ashanti Region, to flush out nomadic herdsmen who were reportedly terrorizing farmers.
So far, hundreds of cattle have been killed, whiles some of the herders and their cattle have been evicted from the Asante Akyem North, into the Sekyere District.
Similar suggestion has been made by the MP for Ledzokuku, Dr. Okoe Boye, who called for a Bill which when passed, will regulate the management of cattle in the country.
Dr. Okoe Boye warned that, “if you displace them [the herdsmen and cattle], they will find themselves somewhere else.”
“We have to have a Bill which will regulate the sector and encourage more people to get in. When it is a regulated area, it will not be left for a few people. We will have a lot of farmers who can go into that sector.”
“It is a very lucrative sector and close to 80 percent of the cattle do not belong to the guys. So now you have Ghanaians who are giving their cattle to the people to manage for them because they know it is a sector that can generate money,” he said.