Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto Minister of Food Agriculture (2)
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) has called on the government to address conflicts between Fulani herdsmen and farmers across the country to ensure the security of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
According to the Church, the frequent conflicts especially in the Kwahu area, had resulted in some communities, which were predominantly occupied by farmers, being wiped out because of the negative activities by the Fulani herdsmen.
The situation, it said had the tendency to affect the successful participation of farmers in the Planting for Food and Jobs programme if not addressed.
At a press conference to close the 17th General Assembly of the PCG at Abetifi in the Eastern Region, Reverend George Opare-Kwapong, acting Moderator of the Church, said: “The Church notes with great disappointment the half hearted manner with which the Fulani issue has been handled.”
He called on the government to step up its efforts in addressing the phenomena without any fear or favour.
Rev. Opare-Kwapong said, “The negative activities of the Fulani herdsmen continue with impunity, their cattle destroy the peoples’ farms and backyard gardens and when they complain, these Fulani herdsmen, armed with sophisticated weapons, attack and kill them and rape the women and girls”.
Rev. Kwapong noted that in many cases, the fear of the herdsmen has caused whole communities in Kwahu such as Mempemasem, Oboyan No.1, Atta-ne-Atta and Mpaem to become ghost towns.
In February, this year, six schools serving 15 communities on the Kwahu Ridge were forced to close temporarily due to clashes between the inhabitants and the Fulani herdsmen.
That, Rev. Kwapong said, was unacceptable and the General Assembly, the highest decision making body of the Church, wanted government to revisit the Fulani issue and tackle it once and for all to enhance security and the livelihood of the people.
On mining, the General Assembly acknowledged the significant contribution of the mining sector to the economy, in spite of the fall in production and drop in gold prices.
Nearly 1.6 billion dollars was realised from the sector in Ghana in 2016, representing an increase of over 23 per cent over that of 2015.
However, Rev. Kwapong noted that the rampant destruction of the environment and life in several instances remained a source of worry and pledged the Church’s support to the Government to ensure that the menace was curtailed.
The Church, therefore, applauded the Government for the Operation Vanguard to flush out illegal miners and confront the galamsey menace.
It also commended the media for their sustained campaign on the issue, which has showed some positive results.