Several thousand young trees planted by the Green Ghana Day are now facing threats from grazing herds of cattle as they eat their way through the Bono Region of Ghana.
According to the Forestry Commission, about 2,000 cattle have been counted in four reserves in the region including Tain I, Tain II, Sorsor, Nsembre, and Yaya, expanding three districts: Berekum, Wenchi, and Sunyani West districts, otherwise referred to as Sunyani Forest District.
To prevent further destruction to the young trees, the Forestry Commission in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Form Ghana – a private afforestation organisation, and the Berekum Traditional Council have decided to flush out the cattle using military personnel.
At a press conference in Berekum, a few days ago to announce the commencement of the operation, the chief of Berekum, Nana Dr. Didwuo Amankona II, issued the last warning to cattle owners and their herdsmen to quickly move the animals out of the forest or face the wrath of personnel deployed for the ‘Operation Shoot To Kill’ about to begin.
According to the Omanhene, the only option left to protect the seedlings (forest), that government expended so much on, is to shoot and kill the animals if owners fail to drive them away willingly as advised by stakeholders.
“Several meetings were held with the owners to take the animals out of the forest but all to no avail. The animals are also destroying crops such as maize, plantain, cocoyam, and the herdsmen, several times tried to rape our female farmers on their farms,” he said.
The Sunyani Forestry District Manager, Francis Brobbey, praised the stakeholders for the efforts to protect the reserves.
“The operation is mandated by law and anybody whose animals may be killed cannot hold any individual or institution responsible,” he stressed.