Adequate support needed to improve access to pasture and water for transhumant pastoralists

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Dr Bryan Acheampong, the Minister for Food and Agriculture (MOFA), says much support is needed in the development of adequate infrastructure to aid the practice of peaceful transhumance – a movement of cattle from low to a rich pasture area.

He said access to pasture and water for transhumant pastoralists could be improved with adequate support.

Dr Acheampong said this in a speech read on his behalf by Dr Solomon Ansah, Director for Crop Services, MOFA, during a 3-day workshop review meeting of the Animal Production Directorate of the MOFA on Trans-human and cattle ranching.

He appealed to the leadership of Non-Governmental Organisations and development partners in transhumance to collaborate in that regard.

The Minister said the contribution of the activities of cross-border transhumance to the socio-economic development of the ECOWAS member States was well documented.

Dr Acheampong said experts in that field had demonstrated continuously that cross-border transhumance was invaluable to food and nutrition security of the people in the sub-region.

“Employment and wealth creation along the value chain are also reported to be enormous,” he added.

The Minister said a focus on only the positive side of cross-border transhumance would be a biased analysis of the whole practice, adding that there was a cause to worry on the threat to the general peace and security emanating from the unregulated activities of the actors in the space of cross-border transhumance.

He said several reported cases of conflicts as well as the loss of life and property could not be overlooked.

“The recent publication by Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), pointing to a surge in the number of violent incidents and the loss of life is surely a cause for alarm,” he said.

Dr Acheampong said the Government through the Ministry for Food and Agriculture and the National Security showed leadership by establishing the Ghana Cattle Ranching Committee in 2017.

He said the milestone aimed at finding lasting solutions to the herdsmen and crop farmers conflicts in Ghana while improving domestic cattle production.

The Minister said in the face of the cross-border transhumance related challenges, information and experience sharing amongst the National Transhumance Committees was very important.

“It provides a platform to discuss good practices, financial resource mobilisation strategies as well as regional initiatives and perspectives for peaceful pastoralism and cross border transhumance,” he added.

Dr Acheampong entreated all stakeholders to open-up and make input that would help protect the lives and livelihoods of people.

Imam Hanafi Sonde, National President, Ghana National Association of Cattle Farmers, said there were many benefits from livestock and transhumance activities as millions of people depended on those activities for their livelihoods.

He said, however, there were numerous challenges related to the transhumance activities that required maximum attention for a holistic solution to the problems.

The National President said the efforts of governments, the ECOWAS Commission, the regional livestock and pastoralists organisations had continued to promote livestock development and a peaceful transhumance activity in Africa.

“Their efforts deserve recognition and appreciation, so we say thank you for the support,” he added.

GNA

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