Photo credit: IWMI
Abdullah, a Fulani crop and livestock farmer, at home on the farm near the village of Jimli
Why fences, crop rotation and water storage mean one farmer is no longer losing the plot in Northern Ghana
Abdullah practices a livestock/crop rotation system. He keeps livestock on a designated piece of land for a period of time ensuring a build-up of manure in one specific area. He achieves this by using simple fencing made from sticks and branches. After moving the livestock on to another site on his farm he grows crops there for three years. After that the soil fertility begins to drop and he brings the livestock back to the same site again.
Fencing is an unusual technology for a Fulani to embrace. Yet it is a strategy that has the potential to improve his crop yields and also play a role in reducing conflict between different communities. Conflict between predominantly semi-nomadic, pastoralists and more sedentary crop farmers is a regular occurrence in the north of Ghana sometimes leading to violence and death of one or more of the parties involved.
Trouble invariably arises when a pastoralist’s livestock (generally cattle) have crossed over into someone else’s crop fields and eaten or otherwise destroyed them, and along with it their owner’s livelihood. Increasing the use of fencing in the region to keep livestock in certain areas and, equally importantly, out of others will help to remove a key catalyst that pits one community against the other.
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