More than 150,000 hectares of land have been identified for the development of grazing reserves to address challenges with cattle production and mobility in the country.
With about 500 kilometres of demarcated corridors and service centres, the land is scattered at various locations including the Kintampo North Municipality, Fanteakwa North, Sekyere Afram Plains, SekyereKumawu and Adaklu districts.
Estimated to cost GH₵25 million, the facilities with an effective forage management, when completed, could sustain the feeding of about 520,000 heads of cattle over a four month period.
Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mohammed HardiTufeiru, said the development of the grazing reserve was part of thegovernment’s strategy to enhance cattle production for job creation and ensure food security.
He was speaking at the opening of the 5th Project Technical Committee Meeting of the Regional Dialogue and Investment Project on Pastoralism and Transhumance in the Sahel and Coastal Countries for West Africa (PREDIP) in Accra yesterday.
PREDIP, represented by eight countries comprising Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, is aimed at strengthening the contribution of pastoralism and cross-border transhumance to food security, equitable socio-economic development and regional integration in West Africa.
The Deputy Minister noted that the government’s interventions on pastoralism were to curb violent clashes between nomadic herdsmen and farmers that mostly resulted in deaths.
He said between 2001 and 2006, 68 persons died as a result of the clashes.
Despite the challenges, he explained that the contribution of pastoralism to food and nutrition security was massive adding that the Ouagadougou-Accra corridor alone was estimated to generate US$73.5 million in cereals and livestock trade yearly.
Mr Tufeiru said the government was focused on investing in infrastructure and establishments, especially in coastal areas to support the management of transhumance and livestock mobility in the sub-region.
Already, the livestock markets at Buipe and Gushegu in northern parts of the country, he noted, had contributed in creating value in livestock production.
Since its implementation three years ago, Executive Secretary of Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel, Dr Abdoulaye Mohamadou, said PREDIP had led to the construction of 10 livestock feed banks, three livestock markets, two loading docks and a vaccination park and installation of 1,111.5 tonnes of animal feed.
Additionally, he noted that the programme resulted in the development of the geoportal which constituted the web interface of the regional pastoral information service, training of 28 professional master’s students in pastoralism and the establishment of two multi-actor innovation platforms in Korhogo, Ivory Coast and Builsa, here in Ghana.
Further to that, he said PREDIP was responsible for the training of nine magistrates and 101 leaders of breeders on regulatory texts in the field of pastoralism, construction of six cattle markets including two in Ghana at Buipé and Gushegu and the development of several animal disease control strategies, the most recent of which was the control strategy against zoonoses and tick-borne diseases.
DrMohamadou said the the complexity of issues challenging pastoralism required permanent consultations and exchanges of points of view in order to take into account the shared visions of the Sahelian and coastal countries and help achieve the objectives of the project.
He, therefore, asked the members to dutifully consider the issues and develop roadmaps in mitigating the challenges.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS