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General News of Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Selling farm leftovers to herdsmen can bring peace to nomadic crisis - Dr. Anane

Ghanaians have been urged to go into the business of fodder production as a way to make money and bring peace to the deadly conflict between nomadic herdsmen and farmers over grazing areas.

Chairman of the Ghana Cattle Ranching Committee, Dr. Oppong Anane said nomadic herdsmen are "prepared to pay" for fodder because they suffer losses when cattle graze in farmlands.

Dr. Oppong Anane who has been tasked by the government to find lasting solution to the conflictexplained there are two types of herdsmen in the conflict - the cross-border herdsmen who move to coastal countries in the dry season for fodder and the indigenous cattle herders.

He said there the need for a full implementation of a 1998 ECOWAS protocol on transhumance which regulates the movement for food.

Periodic social, political, ecological and weather crisis dictate cattle migration in West Africa.

The ECOWAS treaty on Transhumance Protocol, therefore, allows for herders to move across borders in search of pasture.

Dr. Oppong Anane said it is a breach of the protocol for a herdsman to control more than 50 cattle.

The ECOWAS protocol requires that an adult is put in charge of every 50 cattle in an effort to maintain greater human control over the movement of the cattle.

There is also a recommendation member countries should state the number of cattle they can allow in their country

The protocol allows the cattle to be seized if herdsmen fail to abide by the regulations.

The protocol calls on the government to create reserve grazing lands for the cattle along the movement of the cattle entering the country.

"We need to come out with corridors where the animal would pass through. We need resting points," he said.

"If cattle are coming from Burkina Faso to Afram Plains, they can't do that in a day and therefore there ought to be corridors where they will rest, where there will be feed and water...

"...so that they don't get up and graze on other people's farms and we can easily do that."

He said other countries collect crop residue from farms and give to the pastoralist "more or less on a commercial basis".

The Ghana Cattle Ranching Committee called on the private sector to consider fodder production as a business because cattle fodder is at the heart of the menace.

Pastoralism is a lucrative business that supplies about 65% of cattle meat, 40% of mutton and goat meat and 70% of milk consumed in West African countries.