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Animal research institute cries over land encroachment

BY: Emelia Ennin Abbey
Dr Edmund Sottie speaking to journalists
Dr Edmund Sottie speaking to journalists

Officials of the Animal Research Institute of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have warned of a possible collapse of the institute following widespread encroachment on lands of the institute.

The development, they stated, was threatening research and technological development activities as well as endangering the lives of staff.

The encroachers wielded weapons such as guns and sometimes fired indiscriminately.

The destructive activities on the more than 1,000-acre land at Frafraha, off the Adenta-Dodowa road, have led to the destruction of many projects such as a piggery, a hatchery, a guinea fowl housing project, a sheep breeding pen and a meat processing factory.

The projects were sponsored by the government and some international partners such as the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) and the World Bank.

Also, the residence of staff of the institute and security posts have also been hit by the encroachment.
Stolen equipment

A Principal Researcher at the institute, Dr Edmund Sottie, who spoke to journalists on Tuesday, April 13, 2022, said equipment meant for research had also been stolen by criminals and land guards.

"The activities of the criminals and land guards on our land are greatly endangering the government and donor investment in facilities for research and development here at the institute," he said.

Some ongoing construction on the land of the Animal Research Institute

He said the situation had become an international embarrassment as the partners had to be informed about the threat to the projects.

“The peace and lives of the staff of our institute are being threatened by these criminals," Dr Sottie said.

Mandate

The institute was set up with the mandate to develop technologies for improving poultry and livestock production.

The parcel of land was acquired taking into consideration its ecological characteristics.

Over the years, Dr Sottie said the institute had contributed immensely to improving poultry and livestock productivity, thereby enhancing farmers’ incomes and livelihood.

Some of the technologies developed and transferred include an ARIBRO broiler breed, innovative feed technologies for poultry, cattle, sheep and goats, grasscutters and rabbits; insects for feed and waste management.

Others are technology for guinea fowl sexing, reduction of young guinea fowl mortality and improved pasture plants that were high yielding and drought resistant for livestock.

Fence wall

The land encroachment activities, he explained, came to a head in 2017, compelling the institute to construct a fence around 200 acres of the land which was the portions that had not been heavily encroached upon.

"Yet some unscrupulous persons have ventured into the fenced area, destroyed our property, including large sections of the walls, and put up houses or fenced off large tracts of land," Dr Sottie indicated.

He appealed to law enforcement agencies and the government to help safeguard the land, facilities and staff of the CSIR Animal Research Institute which was a national asset.

Another researcher, Dr Charles Domozoro, said the fight with the encroachers was a daily battle.