Business News of Monday, 21 January 2013
Wild bush fires have destroyed Foadaan Farms, a 50-acre commercial farm at Gungolgu near Kpantinga in the Gushegu district of the Northern Region.
The GH?26,000-worth private farm, made up of 25 acres of maize and 25 acres of rice, was destroyed by fire on Friday, December 7 2012.
Briefing the B&FT in Tamale, Managing Director of the farm, Mr. Yambor Edwin Benjua, said that workers on the farm had started harvesting rice on the field, but had to suspend work on Wednesday December 5 to enable them travel to their various destinations to participate in the national elections.
“Workers returned to work on the farm on December 8 only to find it completely burnt to ashes,” he lamented.
Foadaan Farms, a subsidiary of Foadaan Consult Ltd, was established to examine the viability of establishing nucleus farms to cultivate quality maize, rice and soya bean in commercial quantities at Gungolgu.
Mr. Benjua noted that for the 2011/2012 farming season, the company raised a total of GH¢25,275 from banks and personal savings to invest in the farm project, “all of which have now gone up in flames.”
He explained that the farm was structured to support smallholder farmers to increase food production, gain access to finance and good markets, thereby creating jobs and alleviating poverty in the north.
Even though he could not ascertain the cause of the fire, he lamented that the activities of Fulani herdsmen in the eastern corridor of Ghana, especially Gushiegu and Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo districts, pose a serious threat to all farming activities.
He said the predominantly known threat is the cattle grazing on food crops during the farming season; but even more serious is the starting of bushfires by these herdsmen, particularly from the month of November onwards, in an attempt to create routes to water sources and accelerate the germination of fresh grass to feed their cattle.
He said information from Burkina Faso, Mali and Togo suggests that due to the destructive nature of these herdsmen, cattle ranching laws have been passed to control the movement of animals in these countries, forcing them to drift into a free country such as Ghana, where there are no such laws.
He therefore appealed to government to act swiftly by promulgating laws that will control the activities of these destructive herdsmen to protect the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA)’s agricultural projects and other noble programmes that aim at ensuring food security, creating jobs and reducing poverty in Northern Ghana.
He also appealed for financial and material support to enable the management of Foadaan Farms to continue with its dream of establishing a viable nucleus farm project in the SADA operational area.