An analysis of herder-farmer conflicts in the Asante-Akim North District of Ghana.

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October, 2015
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The availability of fertile soils and climatic conditions in Asante-Akim North District are suitable for large scale crop cultivation and animal production. This has attracted several farmers and cattle owners, who rely on the services of Fulani herdsmen. The farmers cultivate variety of food crops such as plantain, maize and watermelon on a commercial basis all year round. Coincidentally, these crops have also been found to be of nutritious value for the cattle and as such alternative feed, especially during the dry season. This has caused massive crop destructions resulting in frequent acrimonies and often violent conflicts between these two landusers. Consequently, this development has affected the relationship between the two groups. The Fulanis have always been perceived to be violent in their interactions with the residents over the use of resources. The study examined the incessant conflicts that emanated from these interactions. It focused on the identification of the underlying causes, how it affects the livelihood security of the people and rural development. Additionally, the management strategies adopted by the people were also explored. The study used eclectic approaches of personal observation, questionnaire survey and key informant interviews to obtain data. By way of quantitative and qualitative analyses, the study contended that the recurrent herder-farmer conflict was attributable to competition over the use of land and water resources. This resulted in crop destruction, pollution of drinkable water, rape, killing and maiming of natives. In turn, the youths of the host communities resorted to reprisal attacks. The implication was that, several people lost their lives while others sustained various degrees of injuries. Besides, agriculture which is the mainstay of the economy was being disrupted leading to reduction in production and income. In the end, the livelihood of the people and the development of the communities were affected negatively. The study concluded with the recommendation that a committee of experts should be set up to determine appropriate compensation for the affected person, cattle owners should adopt agro-pastoralism which integrates crop production and animal rearing. Additionally, a portion of the vast Afram plains should be reserved for grazing where well fences could be provided to control the movement of the animal as practiced in Denmark.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning,