A/R: Grazing cattle destroy 43 hectares of sorghum and watermelon farms

File photo[/caption] Nomadic herdsmen have led their cattle to destroy over 43 hectares of sorghum and watermelon farmlands at Dukusen in the Asante Akim North district of Ashanti region. The nomads have harvested almost all the unmatured watermelons on a 5-hectare farmland belonging ScanFarms, to feed their cattle. Also, the company’s 38 hectres of sorghum farm have been grazed and stampeded by the cattle causing its outright destruction. Farmers in the area have started losing their investments less than a month after the herdsmen returned with their cattle to the area. The menace For over two decades, the activities of nomadic herdsmen in the Asante Akim Agogo area resulted in the destruction of hundreds of hectares of farmlands. The failure to deal with the situation led to persistent clashes between farmers and the herdsmen resulting in death from both sides. To bring a lasting solution to the standoff, the government in January 2018 deployed a joint team of military and police to evacuate all cattle and nomads from the area. The team succeeded in evacuation the cattle from the area within the time frame. Almost a year on, some of the nomads have returned to their area with their cattle. Destruction of ScanFarms The nomads with their cattle have in less than two weeks caused destruction of 43 hectares of sorghum and watermelon farms.Farmers fear more destruction will be caused if urgent steps are not taken to evacuate the herdsmen and their cattle from the area. Though the news team could not sight any cattle during a visit to the destroyed farms, traces of fresh cow dung were visible on the farms to serve as evidence of their presence. Field supervisor of ScanFarms, Priscilla Henrietta Fynn, says the farmhands are scared of working on the fields. “You come to the farm to work and you’re always scared because you don’t know when you will be attacked by these nomads and their cattle. The cattle come in hundreds so it is difficult to control the level of destruction”, she noted.The destruction has resulted in the loss of about thirty thousand Ghana cedis investment, exclusive of human capital. “The destroyed sorghum farm is one of our biggest plot and we were expecting a higher yield on it. We have been struggling with the weather this season so the plant were under-stressed. We were managing to get the maximum yields but all our effort has now gone down the drain”, Priscilla stressed. Administrator of ScanFarms, Edward Asiedu Gyebi, said government’s approach in dealing with the herdsmen menace has not been sustainable. “The government occasionally bring in the military and the police to drive away the nomads and their cattle but each year they come back to cause destruction to farmlands in this area. The time has come for the government to get to the root of the matter. The owners of the cattle should rather be dealt with instead of always focusing on the herdsmen”. A cabbage farm owned by the Asante Akim North district Agric Directorate was also not spared by the cattle invasion.

READ ALSO:  Holy Child College of Education insists new Principal qualifies
Government intervention The government in March this year set up a committee tasked to find lasting solution to the perennial conflict between herdsmen and crop farmers under the ’Ghana cattle Ranching Project’. President Akufo-Addo during his media encounter Wednesday announced that four thousand cattle have been enclosed under Operation ROADSTAR which involves construction of a 40-acre cattle ranch at Wawase in the Afram Plains. Farmers in the Agogo area will heave a sigh of relief if the ranching project helps protect their farmlands. By Ibrahim Abubakar|3news.com|Ghana]]>