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16.11.2005 General News

Western Region Forum on Grasscutter production

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Takoradi, Nov. 16, GNA - Mr. John Ankah, Deputy Director of Animal Production Division of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), on Tuesday said the division had intensified education on grasscutter breeding and production to save the animal from extinction, reduce poverty and create employment.

Mr. Ankah announced this in an address read for him at a two-day Western Regional Stakeholders Forum on Grasscutter production at Takoradi.

The forum was organised by MOFA in collaboration with the German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) and being attended by farmers, input providers and processors of grasscutter. Mr. Ankah said inadequate supply of meat and meat products in the country had led to large dependence on imports, which was a drain on the country's scarce foreign exchange and on game animals including the grasscutter.

He said most of the grasscutter meat found on the market came from groups of people or individuals who hunt the animals. Mr. Ankah said hunters usually set fire to bushes especially during the dry season, use traps and chemical poisons to trap grasscutters. He said these methods were not commendable and sustainable therefore, they should be discouraged because of their harmful effects on the environment and consumers. Mr. Ankah said grasscutter breeding was more progressive, sustainable and environmentally friendly and would guarantee year round supply of the meat.

He said grasscutter breeding and production would generate gainful employment and income for unemployed youth, rural communities particularly women and pensioners.

Mr. Ankah said it was comparatively low cost investment suitable to resource poor communities and disadvantaged groups.

He said some regions notably Brong Ahafo and the Greater Accra Regions had taken the lead in grasscutter promotion and production. Mr. Ankah said MOFA would continue with the promotion of grasscutter production in the country through training of extension staff, establishment of training centres and expansion and re-stocking of the Grasscutter Breeding centre at the Nungua Livestock Station in collaboration with the Animal Research Institute.

Problems identified included scarcity of breeding animals, high cost of inputs, lack of knowledge about grasscutter rearing and inadequate veterinary care.