Dairy farmers call for support to boost production
The Ghana National Association of Cattle Farmers (GNACF) has called for technical support to enable its members to increase production, particularly milk.
That, they said, would also help reduce the incidence of clashes and conflict between cattle farmers or ranchers and crop farmers.
Speaking on the sidelines of a stakeholder engagement dubbed “Livestock executive breakfast meeting,” organised by the Israeli Embassy in Ghana last Thursday, the President of the association, Imam Hanafi Sonde, explained that cattle farmers were forced to allow their herds to graze openly because they needed more animals to produce milk in commercial quantities.
He added that in order to end open grazing by keeping fewer animals, which would also reduce the farmer-herder conflicts, cattle farmers needed to be equipped with modern ways of ranching which included the availability of supplements and modern machines to increase milk production.
“This is because if my cow is giving me less than one litre a day, it means I have to multiply my animals so that I can get more milk,” he explained further.
Imam Sonde also called for the establishment of grazing reserves in various districts across the country to serve as training grounds for cattle farmers.
“Once we are able to get the technology, our young people and children can also come and learn. They will be taught with physical demonstration where we will bring the cattle and the experts will do the insemination, and gradually we will learn something,” he explained.
For her part, the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Shlomit Sufa, said her outfit would continue to support the agricultural sector with expertise and technology that had been tried and tested through intense research and application with livestock farmers.
“I believe that through this forum, we will be able to come up with innovative cattle farming technologies for improved productivity and sustainable cattle farming in Ghana,” she added.
The ambassador further said that Israel had over the years been able to develop technologies in the fields of irrigation, water desalination, cloud seeding and combatting desertification, for which reason the agricultural sector was one of the core sectors the embassy continued to operate in to promote government to government and business to business relations in the country.
The Deputy Director of Animal Production at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Jonas Asare Berchie, said the government had come to the realisation that the dairy sector of cattle farming had the potential to become a major income earner for the country.
As a result, he said, the government was engaging in a cross-breeding programme by importing semen of high dairy producing cattle breeds from countries such as Israel to create hybrids that could adapt to our environment and produce more milk.
Mr Berchie also urged cattle farmers to avail themselves of training to equip them with modern methods of cattle farming which would produce high yields from relatively smaller herds.