Ghana must promote ethno-veterinary medicine (EVM) to ensure a more productive livestock agriculture and sustainable animal husbandry especially for smallholder farmers.
Stakeholders made the call at the two-day National Stakeholders Workshop on Ethno-Veterinary Medicine held in Tamale.
The Executive Director of the Association of Church-based Development Projects (ACDEP), Mr. Malex Alebikiya, elaborating on the call in his address, said Ghana must exploit the invaluable indigenous knowledge in animal husbandry to boost agriculture to enhance productivity and economic gains for the smallholder farmers.
He said ACDEP is implementing a four-year project (2019 – 2023) in northern Ghana funded by Misereor-Germany aimed at promoting ethno-veterinary medicine as an integral part of animal health care.
The project, “Promoting Ethno-veterinary Medicine for Sustainable Animal Husbandry Practices in Northern Ghana”, which ends in May 2023, is to improve animal health, production, and productivity by rural smallholder farmers through increased recognition and use of ethno-veterinary medicine (EVM) as a complementary and integral part of veterinary services in Ghana.
This is to complement the plans and efforts of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to promote and mainstream the use of appropriate ethno-veterinary practices in Ghana as elaborated in the Ghana Livestock Development Policy and Strategy (2016).
The objectives of the project include validating potential herbal treatments commonly used by small holder farmers for animals (poultry, small ruminants and pigs); improving preparation, packaging, the use and commercialization of selected herbal medicines, and establishing a strong network of ethno-veterinary practitioners.
The project has been implemented in four districts in the Northern, North-East and Upper East regions by ACDEP in partnership with the Animal Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR–ARI), Regional Directorates of Veterinary Services Department of MoFA, Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL) at Pong-Tamale and the Animal Science Department of the University for Development Studies (UDS).
The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) provided technical support for the project.
Mr. Alebikiya credited the success of the project to the strong partnership underpinning the project implementation.
The project has so far identified and prioritized important common diseases to farmers, identified and prioritized ethno-veterinary medicines that
farmers use to treat some common animal diseases for scientific study and validation and done a comparison of ethno-veterinary practitioners and conventional veterinary case definitions of the common animal diseases,
It also reviewed literature on the medicinal and phytochemical properties of botanicals used in the preparation of EVM innovations, conducted laboratory analyses on the phyto and physico-chemical properties of EVM preparations and plant parts used for the innovations, and conducted on-farm trials of two of the EVM innovations.
Participants of the two-day workshop deliberated on the outcomes and outputs of the project and concluded that, the project was effectively implemented and that the promotion of EVM in animal husbandry should become a key national policy.
The participants came from the partner organisations, the EVM innovators in the project districts, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Animal Health and Production College (AHPC) and other organisations.
At the end of workshop proceedings, participants recommended that the Government of Ghana should among other things support the key stakeholders to embed the promotion of EVM in the livestock policy practice of Ghana; and establish a strong network of EVM practitioners at the local and national levels.
It should also strengthen the teaching, learning and practice of EVM through appropriate curricula and programs in the academic institutions including the relevant universities with veterinary medicine faculties; and further research on the preparation, preservation, storage and marketing of Ethno- Veterinary Medicines.