Kwahu Afram plains cattle farmers association has said, a five day ultimatum given to them through the DCE for the area, George Ofori is too short and difficult comply with.
The farmers explained that, they received an information that, the National Security minister, Kan Dapaah has ordered the DCE, Mr. George Ofori to enforce that, all cattle in the area are sent to folder banks (*a place prepared by Government has to keep all the cattle in the region and Ghana as whole) and that, any farmer who refuses to comply or send their cattle to prepared place by the government will have their animals killed by the Military personnel, who are going to be deployed to the area, today Monday 12th August happens to be the last day of the five ultimatum. They said, the Military are going to take up a patrol duties 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 by sending their cattle on free grazing will have their cattle shot dead by the Military.
The Cattle Farmers Association is therefore calling on government as a matter of urgency to engage them in findings a lasting and peaceful solution in respect of these cattle grazing and folder banks issues in the District.
A registered group with about two hundred and fifty members (250) has stated number of issues bothering them after a pilot project was carried out with their Cattle, soon after the introduction of folder banks by the government for safe keeping.
in a press briefing, the General Secretary of the association, Mr. Amevor Besah disclosed that, the association presented a total of one hundred and eighty three cattle for the pilot project (183 cattle) when government asked them to send their animals to folder banks and after few months, they realized that, seventy five cattle (75) out of the number sent could not be traced, when they visited the site during the piloting. When they asked the managers of the banks, the only explanation given to them was that, part of those 75 untraceable cattle are dead and others too missing with no assurance of compensation or replacement of their missing cattle and this has caused a serious threat to the cattle owners in releasing their large numbers of the animals to the management of the folder banks for keep, since they can not guarantee the safety of their cattle.
Also, location sighted for the project can only cater for ten thousand cattle, meanwhile the association has about sixty to seventy thousand Cattle (60,000-70,000 cattle) this means that, there’s going to be overcrowding in the banks, which would not help the health condition of the animals.
They also complained about a monthly charges of Gh.7 cedis on each animal, meaning, every cattle owner is expected to multiply Gh7 cedis by the total number of cattle he has and pay to the managers at the folder bank, the farmers think is too costly to bear and whenever a farmer sell any animal, they are also expected to pay ten percent on female and twenty percent on male cow out of the proceeds made to government and they believe this arrangement would not help since there are no other means of making revenue to pay those monthly charges, so therefore pleading with government to review those decisions.
Mr. Amevor said, 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 killed their animals whenever they see them grazing along roadside and send the killed animals away. They tried to find out the whereabout of their dead animals, all they were told is that, government has asked them to bring any cattle they will kill to be used in preparing of food to feed students in government’s School feeding Program. The cattle farmers also find this decision of the government as cheating and unfair.
They are therefore calling on government through the Minister for Defense and National Security Minister for Agriculture to meet the farmers to dialogue and get the best measures in keeping those cattle.
MR. AWUKU DZUMO
Hon. George Ofori (DCE)