Study: Farmer-Herder conflicts contributing to increased poverty in Afram Plain areas

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Farmer-Herder conflicts are contributing to increased poverty in the Afram Plain areas of Asante-Akim North and Sekyere Afram Plain Districts, a recent study has revealed.

   The study, conducted by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in collaboration with the University for Development Studies (UDS), University for Energy and natural resources (UENR) and the University of Copenhagen, sought to come out with recommendations to serve as basis for policy or change in practice to reduce the conflicts.

Dubbed ‘Access Authority Nexus in Farmer-Herder Project’, the study which started in 2019 involved two Post doctorate students, three PhD and 11 Master students, with funding from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).

Consequently, a project completion and science policy workshop has been held to share findings with stakeholders and also discuss the roles they could play to reduce Farmer-Herder conflicts.

It was attended by participants drawn from the two districts, including community leaders, traditional leaders, farmers, cattle owners, the researchers, and representatives from the Assemblies.

Also in attendance were representatives from the Universities who participated in the research, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), National Peace Council, and the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC).

Professor Boateng Kyereh, the Project Coordinator, said virtually all the actors in the areas where the research was conducted, were experiencing increased poverty with exception of the Herders who migrated from elsewhere to those areas.

“Their poverty didn’t get worse because the areas where they normally migrate from is severe in terms of climate effects.

So they lose a lot of animals if they don’t migrate and when they come here despite the fact that a lot of their animals are killed, at least they are able to save some of them,” he further explained.

He said lack of dialogue between the feuding factions over the years was a contributory factor to the long-standing conflicts between the farmers and the herders.

Professor Kyereh indicated that, until the beginning of the project, there was no dialogue mechanism to address the concerns of either party, adding that there had been some progress since the project started in terms of people’s behaviour and utterances.

“I will suggest that going forward dialogue must be the main approach to resolving the conflicts,” he noted.

He also spoke about lack of regulations which had created room for people to do whatever they wanted, disclosing that the project supported the Assemblies to come out with bye laws to spell out the responsibilities of each party.

Mr. Bryan Acheampong, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, in a speech read on his behalf, underlined the need to find lasting solutions to the perennial conflicts between farmers and herders who were both contributing to food security in the country.

He said the relative peace in the area for the past few years was commendable and praised the implementers of the Access Authority Nexus in Farmer-Herder Project, for the initiative to find workable solutions for the age-long menaced.

He reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to work closely with all relevant stakeholders to find lasting solutions for the conflicts to maximise food production in the country.

The participating Universities and the two Assemblies also took turns to share their experiences with the project and their commitments to helping address the problem.By

Yussif Ibrahim, GNA

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