The Government has been cautioned to rescind its decision to use the 144-acre land reserved for research by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), at Amasaman in the Ga West Municipality in the Greater Accra Region, for an Affordable Housing Scheme.
The Director of the Animal Research Institute of the CSIR, Professor Emmanuel Adu, told the Ghanaian Times in a interview that the land was covered with exotic shrubs, grasses, legume, economic trees and useful planting materials, used for scientific research on both plant and animals, and it would be a complete sabotage if the area was used for a different purpose.
“The land is a scientific research facility for the plant research, the crop research and the animal research institutes and covered with economically viable and nutritious plant species for livestock and animal feed, all these have been destroyed,” he lamented.
Prof. Adu said the unwarranted destruction and massive sand winning started last year when the Ga West Municipal Assembly gave out the land for people to win sand, destroying plant species, some more than 60 years old.
He said the kraal housing animals which include cows, goats and sheep, grass cutters, and birds such as turkeys were also destroyed leaving the animals in the open.
He said “As I am speaking to you now, the size of the animals have dwindled because they could not get good pasture to feed on, adding that development must not only be seen in concrete terms, because those plant species were technically preserved as forage for animal feed towards addressing the Fulani menace.
Prof. Adu stated that the Ndama cattle, which were rare species because of their Trypanomosis tolerant, did not have shelter.
He said the council was in the process of establishing pasture museum and a university to train farmers, students and scientists up to PhD level on pasture conservation and its effective usage.
He said “all those laudable ideas now belong to history and I wonder why the Ministry of Works and Housing with its numerous land banks would decide to use the only land reserved for research purposes.”
The Ghanaian Times on December 14, 2018, reported that the CSIR has accused the ministry and the Ga West Municipal Assembly for destroying its research land at Pokuase in Accra.
The two institutions were said to have encroached on 40 hectares out of the 144 hectares land given to the CSIR for research.
The Board Chairman, Professor Robert Kingsford Adabor, at a press conference, stated that the activity of the assembly had resulted in the destruction of rare species of specially cultivated forage valued at US $2million.
He said cattle belonging to the animal research institute did not have shelter as their kraals were demolished by the bulldozers.
Prof Adabor also accused the two institutions of engaging people to assault staff of the CSIR, who went to ascertain the level of destruction.
The illegal activities, he explained, had resulted in the destruction of international projects, pasture and other research activities, including the pasture museum, the National Committee on cattle conservation project, and the Agri food Canada trial programme on pasture material improvement.
But the Ga West Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Clement Wilkinson, in an interview with the Ghanaian Times, rejected the accusations, saying that the assembly could not be faulted for a project that was initiated by the Ministry of Works and Housing.
When the Ghanaian Times visited the site yesterday, workers of the company contracted to build the affordable housing, were busily constructing sheds to house their equipment, while huge containers containing their equipment were also on the land.
The displaced cattle were also seen roaming the land with piles of sand winned on the site partly fenced.
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU