Kwahu Afram Plains Cattle Farmers Association (KAPCFA) in the Eastern region has registered their displeasure about what they described as an inhuman treatment being meted at them by the District Chief Executive (DCE) of the area and some state security personnel.
According to them, the five day ultimatum given to them by the government through the DCE for the area, Mr. George Ofori, to move all their cattle to the Folder Banks created by the state to house all cattle in the region was unrealistic. Thus it would be very difficult for them to comply with.
They are therefore calling on the Afram Plains South DCE, the military, police and other state security apparatus handling the relocation of all cattle in the Eastern Region to Folder Banks to come back to the drawing board to find amicable solutions to the issue.
The General Secretary of the association, Mr. Amevor Besah, briefing, the media at a press conference held in Kwahu Afram Plains over the weekend, disclosed that, the association presented a total of 183 cattle for the pilot project when the government asked them to send their animals to the folder banks, but after few months, they realized that 75 out of the total number could not be traced.
He said when they inquired from the managers of the Folder Banks why they (managers) cannot account for the cattle they (owners) left in their care, the only explanation given to them (cattle owners) was that, the 75 cattle dead whiles some gone missing.
The association hinted they have not been paid for their lost cattle or given any assurance of compensation or replacement of their missing cattle. This according to them was what has led to the farmer’s unwillingness to release large numbers of their animals to the management of the folder banks for keep, since they cannot guarantee the safety of their cattle.
The General Secretary of the association, explained that, they recently received information that, the National Security Minister, Mr. Albert Kan Dapaah has ordered Mr. Ofori to ensure that, all cattle in the area are sent to the Folder Banks (a place prepared by Government to keep all cattle in the region) and that, any farmer who refuses to comply or send their cattle as directed would have their animals killed by soldiers.
He further explained that the Military cum police personnel would soon be deployed to the area, after the five day ultimatum given to them expires.
According to him, the communiqué they received also stated that the Military cum police personnel would be tasked to take up a patrol duties in the area to ensure that, all cattle are sent to the folder banks or properly catered for, and any farmer who allows his animals to go contrary to these orders would have their cattle shot dead without any compensation.
The Cattle Farmers Association is therefore calling on the government to as a matter of urgency engage them for a peaceful and lasting solution to the cattle grazing and folder banks issues in the District.
The 250 member association, has been duly registered under the laws of Ghana, outlined a number of issues bothering them after the pilot project was carried out with their Cattle following the introduction of the folder banks by the government.
Mr. Besah said emphatically that the folder banks can admit and cater for only 10,000 cattle; meanwhile the association has about 70,000 cattle, which means there would be overcrowding in the banks, which would not help the health condition of the animals.
They also complained about monthly charges of Ghc7 per animal, meaning every cattle owner is expected to Ghc7 per each cattle let in the care of the managers. So if one has say 50 cattle, he or she would have to pay Ghc7 by the total number of cattle. He maintained that the charges will be too costly because, aside that, whenever a farmer sells any animal, they are also expected to pay ten percent on for the female pay.
“Aside this cut-throating charges, one would pay twenty percent (20%) from the proceeds on each bull and 30% on each calf sold to the government. They believe this arrangement would not help the owners since there are no other means of making revenue to pay those monthly charges. They are therefore pleading with the government to review those decisions as soon as possible.
“What makes the situation worse is that, during the pilot period, some Military personnel were sent to patrol the area in making sure there is peace, these military personnel rather brought lots of tention in the community when they started shooting and killing our animals whenever they see them grazing along roadside, and when they finish, they send the carcass away.
When we tried to find out the where about of the carcass, all we were told was that, government has asked them to bring any cattle they will kill to the school feeding caterers used the meat in preparing food to feed students in government’s School where Feeding Program is ongoing. And we find this decision of the government as cheating and unfair,” Amevor stated.
The association is therefore calling on the government through the Minister of Defense, the National Security Minister, Minister for Agriculture to meet the farmers for dialogue over the issues.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
Writer’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org