Farmers and cattle owners including herdsmen at Kawampe in the Bono East Region of Ghana have come into agreement through dialogue to stop the spiraling farmer-herder violence in the area.
The farmer-herder conflict has become one of the gravest security challenges in the Kintampo Municipality, with bloodshed becoming an everyday occurrence.
At a workshop organized at Kawampe by Jaksally Development Organization, a non-governmental organization that is into employment and wealth creation, the participant groups came out with a number of measures to prevent violence, especially between farmers and cattle owners/ herdsmen in the area.
Mr Seidu Jeremiah, Director, Jaksally Development Organisation mentioned that, seasonal water shortage issues and the demand for pasture, are some of the causes of conflict and violence between the farmers and the Fulani herdsmen.
The workshop, he said, was imperative to tackle all issues since almost everybody in the area including the Gonjas, Dagaabas, and Konkombas have cattle.
He revealed that, not all Fulani herdsmen are criminals as it is being speculated, suggesting that, the few bad ones who allow their cattle to destroy farms must be sacked outright from the community.
According to Mr Jeremiah, payment after destruction should be agreed between the affected farmer and the cattle owner after officers from the Ministry of food and Agriculture have taken measurement of the quantity of farmland destroyed.
He indicated that, the dialogue between the various groups is good and timely as it would reduce the problem between Fulani herdsmen and farmers during the dry season, especially from December to May every year.
Terms of agreement
Among the measures taken included the suggestion that, all cattle ranches must be located in one area or controlled in sections to prevent the animals from entering into people's farms for destruction.
It was also agreed that, water must be provided for the animals instead of roaming through people’s farms in search of drinking water. The farmers and the owners of the animals including the herdsmen further agreed that, the full cost for destruction of farmlands by the animals would be borne by the owners of the animals with the leadership of both cattle and farmers addressing the issues in a timely manner.
However, if farmlands are destroyed and solutions are not found, the case may be taken to the law court through the Kintampo North Divisional Police Command with offenders being punished to pay extra cost.
The parties agreed that, if the cattle cannot be controlled, they should rather be expelled from the area to end the frequent violence.
The women farmers in the locality have welcomed the mediation by the NGO, saying that, the presence of the Fulani herdsmen and their cattle have ended up stopping them from going into farming.
The women therefore expressed the hope that, all parties, especially the herdsmen would obey the terms of the agreement to help prevent violence and other nefarious activities such as armed robbery, and cases of rape in the area.
By Zion Abdul-Rauf - Kintampo