Smallholder farmers across the country have urged government to, as a matter of urgency, take steps to end the violence and threat posed by the activities of nomadic herdsmen in the country.
According to the farmers who are members of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), the activities of the herdsmen have become an issue of food and income insecurity for a myriad of smallholder farmers in the affected regions due to the many incidences of deliberate and wanton destruction of farmlands, raping of women and killings which are mostly perpetuated by the herdsmen.
They added that should the government continue to make a little effort to assuage the plight of the many peasant farmers who have been severely affected by the activities of the herdsmen, the situation might degenerate into a serious national insecurity issue soon.
The farmers made the appeal at Dambai in the Volta Region recently when they staged a protest against the menace and petitioned the government through the Krachi East Municipal Assembly.
The farmers who were selected from various municipalities and districts of the region said all of them including members and non-members of PFAG were rapidly losing patience and confidence in the handling of the issue.
For them, the situation which is leading to food and income insecurity for peasant farmers and their many dependants is likely to degenerate into an issue of national insecurity; women and children will bear the heaviest brunt if strong steps are not taken to address their age-old concerns against the herdsmen.
One of the farmers, Jemima Gyato, a widow with four children, narrated how she lost almost all her crops after taking a loan of GH¢400 to invest into a three-acre farm of groundnut interspersed with cassava and okro to support her family.
She harvested only five bags instead of 45 bags of groundnut after the herdsmen had led their cattle to graze on her farm. Jemimas’ experience is one out of many cases of the negative effects of the herdsmen which, according to the petition signed by the National President, Abdul Rahman Mohammed, included the beating and raping of two women on their own farms – one at Kajelo in the Upper East Region and the other at Empaemu in the Eastern Region.
They therefore called on the President of the Republic of Ghana to swiftly direct the National Security Coordinator through the National Security Minister, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Regional Coordinating Councils of the affected regions to come up with pragmatic and permanent solutions to the problem.
The Municipal Chief Executive of Krachi East, Patrick Cherty Jilimah, who was out of town at the time the petition was presented, told DAILY GUIDE on phone that the assembly was working with the central government and the various security agencies to find a lasting solution to the matter.