By Fidel Amakye Owusu

1. In the last decades Ghana has intermittently experienced fatal clashes between Fulani herdsmen and sedentary farmers.

2. The situation became so macabre with time that the government initiated a security operation codenamed “cow leg” to flush out Fulani herdsmen from the mostly rich pasture lands of the plains in the central east of the country.

3. Interestingly, Ghana does not form part of the Fulani “homeland”; however, the northern part of the country has been part of the geography where the transhumance economic life of the group happen. The fact behind the clashes in Ghana was that wealthy Ghanaian animal farmers have sometimes hired the Fulani herdsmen to take their cattle around.

4. In 2018 the Agriculture Ministry came up with a good idea: the establishment of cattle ranches in the lush Afram Plains region. For some time, even though the threats still exist in Ghana, as Fulani herdsmen threaten security personnel, it is not as frequent as before.

5. And so what?

6. While the situation in Ghana subsides, the Sahel and the Savannah regions across West Africa is challenged by bloody clashes between herdsmen and crop growers.

7. In Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria, this has become national security issue for the respective governments. In Nigeria, the clashes between Hausa farmers and Fulani herders are becoming more dangerous than violent extremism.

8. In Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, extremists are exploiting such frictions. Terror groups are providing “protection” to herders and recruiting Fulani youths into their ranks. The Dogon-Fulani clashes in Mali forms another theatre of this kind of conflict.

9. Yes, extremists are exploiting the situation; however, they are not the cause of it. Even after extremism is defeated, these clashes will continue if nothing is done to address root causes.

10. Why?

11.The problem is socio-economic and cultural. The kind of transhumance that is practiced today in the Sahel and Savannah has been in place for centuries. It has become a culture of the groups. It is difficult to change such old practices.

12. Again, both crop growers and pastoralists depend on their respective occupations to survive. This means that the various groups in the two vegetation will do everything possible to protect their livelihoods—including deadly clashes.

13.Even though some wealthy people have built ranches for themselves, majority of the people are still stuck with their old ways of pastoralism and its concomitant adversities.

14 .Regional bodies and countries in these zones could look at ranching as a viable option. Sustainable ways of growing crops could help in make ranching a better option as climate battered vegetation is managed for the benefit of all.

15.Many more…

By Fidel Amakye Owusu – International Relations and Security Analyst and Writer

Article Reproduced with Permission from Fidel Amakye Owusu

To view the original article by Fidel Amakye Owusu on LinkedIn visit here

We hope you enjoyed the article, there will be more regular weekly articles from Fidel Amakye Owusu coming soon.