BEREKUM: Fulani herdsmen accused of setting Kota Forest ablaze
A cross section of the people of Kotaa in the Berekum Municipality of the Brong Ahafo Region have raised eyebrows on the activities of Fulani herdsmen who have thronged the community; creating unnecessary tension and causing destruction to their famlands and the state forest reserve.

Date Created : 2/16/2018 6:04:01 AM : Story Author : Pius Agyemang /Ghanadistricts.com

The people are peeved to the extent that they are agitating for the Government, corporate institutions, security agencies and the Forestry Commission to intervene swiftly to avert the situation or the consequqnces would be very much disastrous.

The fresh instance of allegations levelled against these herdsmen is that both the forest reserve and the farmlands of the dear populace, amounting to several squared kilometres, have been set ablaze by these cattle rearers.

The wild fire started barely a week ago and has destroyed a vast majority of land with its vegetation cover and farm produce. As of the time Ghanadistricts.com got to the scene on 15th February, this year, a wider portion of individual farmlands and the Kotaa forest, boardering the "Form Ghana" reserve, had been burnt down; heading towards Namasua, Oforikrom and Tainso area on the Seikwa stretch of the Tain District.

The agitators claim that these 'foreign' livestock farmers indulge in such unscrupulous acts with the view to ensuring that the grass would begin to germinate and fluorish at the first rain and its subsequent ones, hence paving the way for their cattle to feed satisfactorily on the foliage.

Both the agitated commercial and peasant farmers within the community buttressed their stance with the fact that the vegetation had not only been burnt this year but this nefarious activity had also been continuing unabated annually since the inception of that kind of livestock production a couple of years ago.

They argued vehemently that the recurrence of such routine bush burning attitude, coupled with other anti-social acts embarked upon by the perpetrators, has deepened the wounds of the farming populace, with particular reference to the youth and women, who remain the most vulnerable under this circumstance, thereby deterring them to engage in farming activities.

"Our women are no longer able to go to farm in singles, except in a goup of three, in quartet and beyond. They are afraid of being raped or molested in any other form. The youth of this community are shunning farming of late because they are afraid their farms would ultimately be ransacked by these unwanted fires," stated Andrews Henneh, a commercial farmer and an opinion leader of the town.

'Agya' Henneh, who cultivates both food and cash crops on a hundred (100) acre land, was on that occasion, conducting "ghanadistricts.com" round portions of the vicinity set ablaze by the wid fire, with a team of agitated youth of the area. The exigency tour included the forest reserve, where some of the cattle were spotted grazing on the newly germinated grass burnt five days ago or so.

He never minced words when he lamented further, "Some of the youth sit iddle all day long whilst others are reluctantly migrating to urban centres to probably seek (non-existing) greener pastures. Athough the community is enjoying relative peace now, we seem to be sitting on tenterhooks since our security is gradually being jeorpadized. The leaders of the town indeed foresee danger looming."

Yeboah Charles, a peasant farmer, who doubles as a carpenter in the area, groaning over their predicament, made a passionate appeal to the Berekum Municipal Assembly to expedite action towards finding a lasting solution to the menace.

The aggrieved farmers and concerned citizens of the area resolved to work within their capacity to forestall any anxiety culminating from the activities of the herdsmen allegedly trooping into the area recently with their cattle in a fleet of trucks.

Reminding the Government, the Forestry Commission and the security agencies of the fact that the Kotaa Forest Reserve is being encroached, depleted and generally destroyed by the herdsmen, the indigenes of the community challenged the aforementioned state institutions and other regulatory bodies to trek down to the area to assess the activities of these immigrants so as to curb the unbearable canker.

Our efforts to reach Hon. Kofi Agyei, Berekum Municipal Chief Executive, for his version of the story, as of press time, proved futile at that stage.