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Script 87.1

Notes to broadcasters

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Sometimes wildlife can damage farms and destroy crops. In other cases, farming activities, including clearing forest for farming, can harm wildlife and destroy their habitat. How can farming and wildlife co-exist? People need to farm, but no-one wants to needlessly harm wildlife. What is the answer?

Some communities have found an answer by creating wildlife reserves which generate tourist income. In some cases, these areas are also protected by traditional beliefs, which prohibit people from harming the animals in the reserve. Although this script profiles one such example from Ghana, there are similar cases all over Africa, and indeed all over the world.

As a broadcaster, you can help to solve the conflicts between farming and wildlife preservation by interviewing people who represent both interests, and by broadcasting examples, like the Buabeng-Fiema monkey sanctuary highlighted in this script, in which communities have successfully balanced the interests of wildlife and the needs of farmers.

Script

HOST #1:
Greetings. Today we are going to talk about how farmers and wildlife reserves can get along together.

HOST #2:
That’s true. We’ve all heard about conflicts between efforts to conserve wildlife and farmers’ need to grow food for their families and for sale. In many parts of Africa, matters relating to game, wildlife and forest reserves have strongly affected farming and farmers.

HOST #1:
Farmers are affected by wildlife conservation practices that are promoted through laws that protect reserves. Enforcing these laws can cause tension and create hardships for farmers.

HOST #2:
In fact, in Ghana, it is not uncommon to see farmers who have been evicted from game and wildlife reserves. In June 2007, a number of farmers died when the boat that was transporting them from a game and wildlife reserve in the Volta region of Ghana capsized.

HOST #1:
Many laws have been passed to protect wildlife. In Ghana, a recent law makes rules concerning game and wildlife reserves which are in farming areas. The law says that anyone found in a forest or wildlife reserve without written consent from an authority can be convicted and fined for damaging any tree, damaging any body of water, or hunting and fishing in the area.

HOST #2:
This is a very serious matter! Federal law has created about 30 game and wildlife forest reserves in the west central state of Brong Ahafo in Ghana alone. And 60-70% of the people living in these areas are farmers!

HOST #1:
The protection of these reserves by governmental agencies has sometimes been met with mixed feelings. There have been conflicts between communities and forestry guards whose duty is to protect the reserves.

HOST #2:
Many countries face the same kinds of problems. So the question is: how can we stop the confrontations that hinder our farming activities, while at the same time preserving wildlife in our communities?

HOST #1:
One answer can be found in the monkey sanctuary of Buabeng-Fiema in the Nkoranza District of Ghana. After a short break, we will tell you more about it.

Musical break

HOST #2:
The Buabeng-Fiema monkey sanctuary is Ghana’s most famous example of traditional African conservation. The sanctuary is nestled between two villages, Buabeng and Fiema. It is the home of over 200 Geoffroy’s pied Colobus monkeys and 500 Campbell Mona monkeys, and it covers an area of about 450 hectares.

HOST#1:
The people of Buabeng-Fiema are mostly subsistence farmers who produce food crops like maize, beans, cassava, and plantain. For more than 150 years, the people of Buabeng-Fiema have considered the monkeys as sacred.

HOST #2:
Legends say that the monkeys are the children of the gods, and that they protect the communities. It is said that the monkeys were once human beings, and that they were turned into monkeys to save them from being hurt in war. Because both communities share the same traditional beliefs, they try to protect the monkeys in the area.

HOST #1:
The communities came together in 1975 to pass a law prohibiting people from harming the monkeys. The monkeys move freely within the communities and interact with the residents and any visitors who come to the towns. The two communities are forbidden to farm in the sanctuary, so the monkeys and the members of the communities live in harmony.

HOST #2:
We know that similar traditional legends abound in Africa and have helped to preserve natural environments in many places. In Buabeng-Fiema, the communities understand that preserving the sanctuary is worth the effort. Tourists who pay to visit the sanctuary help raise funds to conserve the area, preserve the monkeys, and keep the environment healthy. About 30% of the income from tourists is given to the community for development projects. Many projects have also been attracted to the communities because of the reserve. Farmers benefit because of laws in the area that ban bush fires, thus protecting their farms from fires. These laws were put in place to protect the monkeys. And, unlike other communities, the presence of the monkeys has spurred rigourous enforcement of the law against bush fires. The community has planted teak fire breaks. There are also volunteer firefighters who make firebreaks during the dry season.

HOST #1:
Let us hope that this example from the Buabeng-Fiema monkey sanctuary can act as a model which will help reduce conflicts between wildlife and rural communities in other areas. Thank you for listening to our show today.

HOST #2:
Thank you and good-bye.

Acknowledgements

Contributed by: Kwabena Agyei, Classic FM, Techiman, Ghana, a Farm Radio International broadcasting partner.

Reviewed by: Joy Sammy BSc, MA, PhD Candidate, Rural Studies, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph, Canada.