West Gonja Cattle Herders And Owners To Regulate Pastoral Farming
An Environmental Non-Governmental Organization, A Rocha Ghana, has organized a workshop for stakeholders to form Cattle Herders and Owners Association as well as review their constitution to regulate pastoralism in Gonjaland
Welcoming participants to the program, the District Coordinating Director, Mr. Petro Ankorle who represented the DCE, Hon. Saeed Muhazu Jibril thanked the organizers for their continuous efforts at making the environment fruitful and peaceful to support current and generations unborn.
“The fact that you have been able to bring together the Fulani herders, Chiefs, farmers and other stakeholders on board tells your commitment to making sure Gonjaland has effective and efficient environment for the benefit of all”.
He advised the chiefs, farmers, Fulanis and all stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunity offered by A Rocha Ghana to work together to improve agriculture productivity in Gonjaland. He assured them that the District assembly together with A Rocha Ghana will enforce the bye laws to deal with persons who are caught in environmental destruction.
Mr Godwin Evenyo Dzekoto, the Northern Sector Manager of A Rocha Ghana, gave the overview of the program. He explained that the roadmap that led to the formation of the Cattle Herders and Owners Association in Gonjaland included Stakeholder and Multi-Stakeholder Consultation workshops, Formation of Pastoralism Regulation Committee, Development of Blueprints by Committee, Review of West Gonja Environmental Bye-law and Engagement with Herders at Zonal Level.
He said the formation of the Association (CHOA), was necessary because it will go a long way to reduce the farmer-Fulani herder conflict and this will surely lead to increase in productivity in the agriculture as well boost the preservation of the environment for a better future. Mr. Dzekoto said the emerging challenges facing pastoralists in the area are clear for all to see.
They included the shrinking size of grazing fields, difficulty to access forage and water during dry season due to expansion of farmlands near water points as well as dry season farming, attacks on Fulanis by perpetrators and killing of cattle, lack of perceived justice, high and insensitive costs of compensation and other glaring factors that pose severe challenges to the people.
On preventing the seeming challenged situation, stakeholders including herders suggested that there was the need for serious sensitization and education of herders on best grazing practices around the area. Also, social inclusion of herders by natives or community people should be enhanced. The creation of grazing corridors or ranches, construction of water points, standardized compensation mechanisms, engagement in re-afforestation and others viable interventions must be implored to safeguard the situation.
Rev. Fr. Clement Aapengnuo, Director of Centre for Conflict Transformation and Peace Studies (CECOTAPS), under the Catholic Diocese of Damongo, made a presentation on a study which was done in five (5) districts; Jirapa in the Upper West region, Bunkpurugu, Mamprugu-Moagduri, West Gonja districts in the Northern region and Kassena-Nankana in the Upper East region to foster peaceful farmer-Fulani pastoralist relations in Northern Ghana.
He stated that the purpose of the study was to fill knowledge gaps in understanding farmer-herder conflicts in Northern Ghana, identify pathways for their resolution, with the objective of fostering peaceful farmer-Fulani pastoralist relations in northern Ghana, drivers of conflict and barriers to prevention and resolution among others.
On conflict resolution and prevention, he proposed that Fulani pastoralists should be included in socio-economic structures of host societies. Also, they should be responsible tenure governance system to help reduce conflicts in the area.
Chief Ahmed Tolodonpewura Abdalah, Assistant Director at the Commission on Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) took turn and led the participants to review the constitution of the cattle herders
The formation of cattle herders and owners association and review of the constitution was held on 19th December, 2018 at the West Gonja District Assembly Hall, Damongo, in the northern region.
The program was attended by heads of departments, religious and traditional leaders, Cattle Owners, Fulani pastoralists, security agencies, farmer associations, Hon Assembly Members among others.