Venchi Municipality in Bono Region is known for the annual influx of cattle, especially during the dry season, in search of greener pastures.
They come from the neighboring Sahelian regions, led by their shepherds to find a convenient place to feed them.
In the process, they destroy both food and cash crops along with streams, much to the annoyance of local farmers.
The situation sometimes leads to clashes between farmers and herdsmen and creates a security threat in their grazing areas.
Last week, police arrested 13 farmers from Buasu / Kwame Pinsong Constituency in Wenchi Municipality for allegedly killing 30 cattle in the area.
The farmers allegedly took the action after accusing the herdsmen of allowing their cattle to destroy their farm produce.
According to Kose, chairman of the justice and security sub-committee of Venchi Municipal Assembly, who is also a member of the Acheampang Badu Assembly, the herdsmen invaded those communities with their cattle and destroyed maize, banana and other crops.
“We received distress calls from Buasu/Kwame Pinsang Constituency that herds of cattle have invaded their lands destroying crops”.
Mr. Badu explained that around 30 cattle were slaughtered in the area, adding that the police had started a preliminary investigation into the matter.
According to him, two herdsmen have been arrested by the police to assist in the investigation.
Farmers’ anxiety is threatened
Some of the victims told Daily Graphic that they were helpless as they could not stop the cattle herds from destroying their fields.
One of them, Kofi Antwi, lamented, “After taking loans to invest in our farms, these herdsmen come and destroy our crops such as maize, banana, beans and cashew plantations.”
Cattle attacks have become a headache for the farmers of this region for the past four years.
“Acres of farm produce in the area has been destroyed in a matter of days. Our labor and sweat has gone in vain and we have nothing to take care of our children,” lamented Mr. Antwi.
Another affected farmer, Akua Frimpoma, said the cattle were not only destroying food and cash crops but also the creeks that served as their source of drinking water.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, Venchi Municipality Chief Executive (MCE) Alexander Damoh explained that seasonal incursion of cattle into the area is a security concern.
Despite vowing not to allow herdsmen into the municipality, he said the herdsmen were moving into the bush through unauthorized routes.
“I have held meetings with my counterparts in neighboring districts and municipalities to ensure that cattle do not enter Venchi Municipality from their areas,” he said.
“Why on earth should cattle rearers use the agricultural produce of farmers who have taken loans for their agribusinesses to feed their cattle,” said Mr. Damoh.
According to him, the arrested farmers have been released on bail while the issue is still pending.
Although it is very difficult to prevent herdsmen from entering the municipality with their cattle, everything is being done to prevent them from doing so,” he said.
Mr. Damoh called for calm and stakeholders to assist the Wenchi Municipal Security Council (MUSEC) to stop the situation.
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