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04.11.2004 Regional News

ECOWAS Ministerial delegation visits Upper East Region

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Bolgatanga, Nov 4, GNA - Mr. Mahami Salifu, the Upper East Regional Minister, has expressed the need for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to review the protocol on Livestock and Transhumance to resolve the numerous conflicts between farmers and migrating herdsmen.

Mr. Salifu was speaking when a 30-member ECOWAS Ministerial delegation paid a courtesy call on him in Bolgatanga. The delegation who were attending a Ministerial meeting on Livestock Production and Transhumance in Ouagadougou in neighbouring Burkina Faso, were on a fact-finding field visit to the Oncho-Free Zone along the Red Volta Basin of the Region.

The Ouagadougou conference forms part of a trans-border pilot project between Burkina Faso and Ghana, initiated by ECOWAS in 2003 with funding from the Government of Belgium and a technical assistance from the Food and Agricultural Organisation.

Mr. Salifu urged the team explore the possibility of boosting livestock production in the Sub-Region.

Mr. Oscar Kanwille, the National Project Coordinator of the Oncho Trans-Border Pilot Project, explained that the project fell within the framework of the Oncho Control Programme initiated by the World Health Organisation in 1974.

He said the next phase of the programme was the socio-economic development of the Oncho-free zone.

Mr. Kanwille indicated that the current pilot project area fell between the Red and White Volta Basins, embracing 15 communities in Ghana and another 15 in Burkina Faso.

"These communities would be given direct support including infrastructural development under the pilot project."

Major trans-border issues to be tackled by the pilot project include the Development and Management of Shared Natural Resources in a Sustainable manner, development of Market Infrastructure and support Services to Foster Cross-border Trade, the Management of Cross-border Transhumance and Related Socio-economic Issues.

The field trip took the visiting delegation to Nangodi, Bongo and Yelwongo where they interacted with the chiefs and people.

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