The government has been urged to institute a Veterinary Care Volunteering programmeto work alongside local veterinariansto help address the problem of inadequate veterinary staff in the country.
Mr Vincent Subbey, a Development Consultantwho made the callindicated that such a move would help bridge the veterinary services gap and ensure the provision of veterinary services at the doorstep of the people in the communities.
He made the call in Bolgatanga at a Joint Stakeholder Review Forum of peasant women farmers drawn from the Talensi and Nabdam Districts of the Upper East Region belonging to the Maltaaba Peasant Women Farmers' Cooperative (MAPEWFAC).
The forum, organised by MAPEWFAC with funding support from STAR Ghana Foundation was to review needs assessments of the peasant women farmers in the Talensi and Nabdam Districts with the aim of advocating support to address such needs.
Mr Subbey, who is also the Director of Trax Program Support Ghana, a non-governmental organisation and Development Consultant to MAPEWFAC, identified inadequate veterinary services as one of the major challenges facing livelihoods of peasant women farmers
He said it was critical for the Ministry of Agriculture to form and build the capacity of community
volunteers in the field of veterinary services to help bridge the wide gap of veterinary extension services to communities.
He explained that after training such people in the communities, they could help handle minor livestock treatment and refer the complicated cases to the professional veterinary staff for treatment
Mrs Yinwonbe Ziba, one of the participants from the Namolgo community in the Talensi Districtstated that many community members depended on livestock rearing as one of their major livelihoods but noted that the spate of the death of many livestock as a result of lack of Veterinary staff to administer healthcare for the animals, had discouraged many farmers from rearing animals and birds.
Mrs Zagre Yenbila-Lao, another participant from the Yarkoti community in the Nabdam District, indicated that due to the lack of veterinary staff, many farmers had lost their livestock.
Madam Lydia Miyella, the Executive Director of MAPEWFAC, said the objective of the forum was to form constructive collaboration of the small rural women farmers from its operational areas to build their capacity to address their own challenges as well as advocate for support in addressing such challenges.
She commended the Development Consultant of MAPEWFAC for building their capacity to undertake such activity and facilitating the forum and expressed optimism that the intervention would bear many fruits
She entreated the participants not to only rely on government for support but to be very innovative and resilient in championing development activities in their respective communities.
The key findings of the needs assessments forum, which was conducted by MAPEWFAC in some communities in the two districts, were lack of Veterinary Services, lack of grinding mills, lack of potable water, inadequate credit facilities, lack of kindergartens, inadequate farm inputs (quality seeds, fertilizers), inadequate income generating activitiespoor soils and lack of electricity.