ASUANSI AGRICULTURAL STATION
The Station is located at Nyamedom, a village near Asuansi in the Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese District in the Central Region of Ghana. It is about 30 km North of Cape Coast. The road to the Station branches off the main Cape Coast-Kumasi to the West at about 100 meters after Asebu Township. The Station is close to the Asuansi Farm Institute and Asuansi Technical Institute. They are all located to the West of Nyamedom along the Nyamedom-Asomdwee road. Asuansi village itself is about 5km East of Nyamedom. Abakrampa is an important village on the way to the Station. Pillars are set to define the boundaries of the Station. This has been reinforced with barbed wires to prevent encroachment .It covers an area of about 256 ha (640 acres).
The Asuansi Agricultural Station lies in the southern fringes of the semi deciduous rainforest. It experiences a mean rainfall of about 980 mm. The rainfall pattern follows the traditional double maxima (bimodal) distribution experienced in most parts of southern Ghana. However the minor dry season in August is ill-defined and may be assumed to be a continuous raining season with two peaks. The rain starts in March and ends in early December. January and February are the clear dry months. Temperatures are generally warm and uniform throughout the year. Mean monthly temperature is about 26.90C.
The topography of the area consists of low hills and small knolls. Gradients are almost steep becoming on the knolls. The Kakum River and the Chichiwere stream are the main drainage ways of the station’s land. However, a few isolated upland depressions (dry valleys), are scattered over the site. Cape Coast granites that are known to be very rich in micas underlie the area. It gives rise to highly porous gravelly sandy loams over gritty sandy clay soils that are often rich in minerals especially potassium if they are not over-cropped or severely leached.
SUMMARY OF MAJOR ACTIVITIES
The major activities carried out at the Station are raising of tree crop seedlings, production and multiplication of root and tuber crops, production of coconut, oil palm and citrus fruits and conducting field adaptive trials.
Agricultural activities at the Station as of now are limited to only crops. Livestock (both small and large ruminants and mono-gastric such as pigs) and poultry are not being raised due to inadequacy of funds. These animals require constant feeding but taking into consideration the Station’s resources both human and monetary, the management decided to pursue ventures in crops alone which are mostly dependent on the weather with little human touch.
Under listed are the main agricultural activities being carried out at the station:
i) Maintenance of existing old plantations
The Station has 3 old plantations consisting of 2 acre cocoa, 4 acre coconut and 1acre oil palm. The cocoa and coconut plantations were established in the 1970’s for the purposes of research into fertilizer requirements while the oil palm field was established during the early 1990. These 3 fields which were hitherto abandoned or given on contracts that did not benefit the Station were rejuvenated in 2007 by the new management to serve as sources of Internally Generated Fund (IGF), this time round for the Station. Since then IGF though not so high have been realized and paid into Bank Accounts of the Regional Director of Agriculture, Central Region, every year the cocoa field was weeded clean, unuseful coupons and old dead parts were removed whiles trees which cast shade were also felled. Routine spraying regime was then adopted and followed. Dead and diseased pods, especially those affected with black pod, were removed from the trees.
All the old dying fronds on the oil palm which had been neglected were pruned to give the trees fresh start. Trees which had been left to over grow to the extent that some turned into timber were chopped down by means of chain saw to allow for maximum air circulation and reduce or eradicate all other forms of competition.
Suffice it to say that, after all these maintenance measures, the Station was able to raise GHC 1,000.00 as IGF during the 2007 and 2008 cropping seasons.
With meager resource reflected in few field hands and casual (hired) labour being expensive and difficult to come by, the Station in 2009 decided to focus on the tree seedling production which is more or less considered to be of high value in monetary terms as compared to fruits of oil palm and coconut. Thus the much attention was not given to the existing plantations this time round.
The above given reason coupled with the erratic nature of the rains, yields in all the three crops were adversely affected and therefore it is envisaged that though the Station’s IGF will be high as compared to previous years the contribution of the old rehabilitated plantations will be nothing to write home about.
ii) Raising of citrus, oil palm and mango seedlings for sale.
Based on the tenets of recommendations of the AgSSIP sponsored study on the future use of the National Agricultural Stations undertaken under the auspices of the National Directorate of the Crop Services in 2005, the Station took upon itself to raise seedlings of oil palm, citrus and mango to sell to farmers in order to raise revenue (IGF) for the Ministry and to help farmers alleviate problems associated with diseases, varietal types and yields that they (farmers) were experiencing after phasing out of nurseries by the CSD of MOFA in the early 1990s.
In this regard 2,000 potted and 3,000 bare rooted citrus seedlings and 1,200 mango seedlings were nursed with the intention to bud them with improved varieties again 2,500 oil palm seed nuts were purchased from Oil Palm Research Institute (OPRI) at Okumani to be raised into healthy seedlings in July 2008.
The Station is capable of budding more seedlings but the management team decided to start on a smaller note and observe the market since this is first time this venture is being started after a long break.
Presently (year 2011), the management of the Station has procured 3,100 germinated seed nuts and nursery bags from Oil Palm Research Institute at Okumaning and has nursed them to be sold to interested farmers during the minor farming season. Seven hundred (700) citrus seedlings have been budded and ready to be sold this major farming season (2011).
iii) Improved Cassava and Sweet Potato Planting Material Multiplication.
Under the Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP), during the 2009 planting season, the Station established 25 acres cassava and 5 acres sweet potato improved planting material multiplication fields. Sweet potato planting materials capable of planting 30.5 acres were supplied to 3 Metro/Municipal/ Districts in the Central Region and one Municipality in the Volta Region for secondary and tertiary farmers’ multiplication, demonstrations and Farmers Field Fora (FFF) activities.
In October 2009, 1,350 bundles of cassava planting materials capable of planting 20 acres Afisiafi and 23.75 acres of Bankyehemaa were given to Assin North District of the Central Region under the USAID Female Fund Project ”Unleashing the power of cassava in Africa (UPoCA) in response to price crisis in Ghana.
During the 2010 planting season, the station established 7ha of various varieties of cassava planting material multiplication fields and 2 ha of various varieties of improved sweet potato vines multiplication sites.