The Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD) has called on government not to see issues of livestock ‘as just security issues’, but rather an economic issue with advantages that can be tapped into.
The Organisation expressed the believe that that way, government would begin to position the country well to tap the potential in the sector to boost agricultural production, create employment within the value chain and contribute significantly to the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mr. Daniel Banuoku, Deputy Director of CIKOD, made the call at the opening of a five-day training workshop in Wa, on trading livestock in West Africa – Issues and challenges.
He highlighted that today, if you talked about livestock in Ghana, it was perceived as a security issue especially along the coast, noting emphatically that “there cannot be a sustainable food system without integrating livestock production and crop production” – the two must go hand-in-hand.
Mr. Banuoku said the issue of livestock was important because when farmer’s crop and the crops failed to do well, livestock serve as a fallback – it serve as a shock absorber to many of the farmers.
“So it is important for Ghana as a country to begin to look at livestock not just as a security issue but to look at the potentials that are involve and how it can begin to tap those potentials as a nation,” he stressed.
The Deputy Executive Director of CIKOD noted however that Ghana could not do this alone as there were countries that were connected by borders and relationships established, hence the need for an enabling policy environment across the West Africa sub-region.
This would ensure that Ghana as a country and all other coastal countries within the sub-region maximized the benefits within the livestock sub-sector, he said.
Mr. Banuoku said for this reason, CIKOD together with Acting for Life (AFL-France) and Associate in Research and Education for Development (ARED-Senegal) were collaborating to implement a project dubbed “Strengthening the Resilience of Agro-pastoralists Systems in West Africa”.
He said the logic was to improve the wellbeing of agro-pastoralists communities in West Africa and promote sustainable economic development of the livestock sector through the ECOWAS Region, which according to him had a big potential for livestock development.
Mr. Banuoku said the workshop was therefore one of the many training series to help change perceptions and to help stakeholders understand the complex relationship that existed in the livestock value chain.
The training, he said would also enable stakeholders to understand the role they needed to play to ensure that Ghana and the whole of West Africa could enjoy a smooth conflict free livestock production system.
The workshop was attended by representatives from the Wa Traditional Council, the Wa Municipal Assembly, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Veterinary Service Department, the security services, and the Forestry Department.
The rest are Butchers and Cattle Dealers Association, National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Herders Association, Farmers Association and the media.