Kwahu Afram Plains Cattle Farmers Association (KAPCFA) has stated that a five day ultimatum given to them by the government through the District Chief Executive (DCE) for the area, George Ofori, is too short and would be difficult to comply with.
The farmers explained that, they received an information that, the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah has ordered Mr. George Ofori to ensure that, all cattle in the area are sent to 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. It said Military personnel would soon be deployed to the area, after the five day ultimatum to carry out the operation. The information noted that when deployed, the Military 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 and solution to the cattle grazing and folder banks issues in the District.
The 250 membership association, duly registered under the laws of Ghana, outlined a number of issues bothering them after a pilot project was carried out with their Cattle following the introduction of the folder banks by the government.
At a press briefing, the General Secretary of the association, Amevor Besah, 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 number could not be traced. When they inquired from the managers of the banks, the only explanation given was that, part of those 75 cattle were untraceable, others dead and some gone missing. The association said they have not been told or given any assurance of compensation or replacement of their missing cattle. This according to them this is what has led to the farmers unwillingness to release large numbers of the animals to the management of the folder banks for keep, since they cannot guarantee the safety of their cattle.
Also, the location sighted for the project can only cater for just 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 a monthly charges of Ghc7 per animal, meaning every cattle owner is expected to multiply Ghc7 by the total number of cattle he has and pay to the managers at the folder bank. This the the farmers think is too costly because, aside that, whenever a farmer sells any animal, they are also expected to pay ten percent on female and twenty percent on male cows from the proceeds to the government. They believe this arrangement would not help 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 pilot period, some Military personnel were sent to patrol the area in making sure there is peace, but these military personnel were shooting to kill our animals whenever they see them grazing along roadside, and when they finish, they send the killed animals away. When we tried to find out the where about of our dead animals, all we were told was that, government has asked them to bring any cattle we will kill to be used in preparing food to feed students in government’s School Feeding Program. 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.