INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) began decentralizing its structure and functions to the regions and districts in1997 with the formation of the Regional Agricultural Development Units (RADU0 and District Agricultural Development Units (DADUs) These decentralized units had the fundamental objective of developing agriculture at their respective levels
The document is the Upper Denkyira West District (UDWD) Strategic Medium Term Agricultural Development plan. It seeks to address the district Assembly’s vision of rural transformation through economic growth poverty reduction and wealth creation worth the recognition that agricultural sector improvement and its sustainability would be key to achieving this vision
The UDWD is one of the four newly created districts in the central Region Its economy depends largely on agriculture with about 80-90 % of the population depending directly or indirectly on Agriculture. The sector is however beset with problems ranging from cumbersome land tenure systems inadequate institutional capacity to move agriculture forward and inadequate infrastructure in the areas of rural water rural transport, road network and postharvest infrastructure.
There are no development partners in the district as of now. This leaves only th DADU to confront the numerous challenges of agriculture in the district. The district id inordinately best with problems relating to superstition chieftaincy disputes abnd illegal mining activities (galamsey) which acre really difficult to deal with. Even though the DADU has some strght in terms of trained staff and other facilities there are still relatively few field level staff that is AEAs and the available staff does not have means of transport. This has adversely affected its ability to effectively reach its clientele with its services.
Despite these constraints, a lot of potentials and opportunities exist in the Upper Denkyira West Dsitrict, Diaso. An example is the high potential for irrigation farming with vast tracts of irrigable land along the banks of rivers Offin, Dia and other major rivers. These rivers are perennial and even overflow its banks during the rainy season.
Upper Denkyira West District was curved out from the Upper Denkyira East Municipality, by a legislative instrument, LI 201 in the year, 2006. The District has a population of about31, 300. About 80% of the farming population works on cocoa as a cash crop on commercial basis, maize, cassava, cocoyam, plantain, vegetables etc to feed the household. 15% of the farming population produces food crops on subsistence basis and oil pal and citrus as supplementary cash crop. Less than 105 are commercial farm animals and poultry producers and Fish farmers and non-traditional farmers of snail, grass cutters and beekeepers form only about 2% of the farming population. The District is bordered in the North West by Bibiani- Anhwiaso- Bekwai District, North East by Amansie West and Amansie Central Districts, South West by Wassa Amenfi East and Wassa Amenfi West districts and South by Upper Denkyira East Municipal.
Upper Denkyira West District Agricultural Development Unit (DADU) was established in 2009 after the district had been curved out from the Upper Denkyira District. In 2010, a substantial District Director was posted in to the District to oversee the development of the District. At the moment, the district is divided into sixteen (16) operational areas. Of the sixteen, thirteen (13) is operational and have highly experienced field officers taking charge of those operational areas. The District capital, Diaso is approximately seventy kilometers from Dunkwa-On-Offin.
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
The District has two main cropping seasons, thus a bi – modal rainfall pattern. The Major rainy season spans from April to July with short dry spell in August follow by a Minor season from September to December. These seasons are warm but humid and facilitate two cropping seasons in a year. The period between January and March experience cold dry conditions which turn later into very hot dry condition.
TABLE 1: COMPARATIVE FIGURES OF RAINFALL DISTRIBUTION FOR MAY 2010 & 2011.
|No. OF DAYS||13||19|
Source: Meteorological Services Department, Dunkwa-on-Offin
Comparative Rainfall figures for the month of May 2010 and 2011
|RAINFALL IN MM||RAINFALL IN MM|
Source: Meteorological Services Department, Dunkwa-on-Offin
The soils of the district are the generally of the soil ochrosol. The series consists of brown to yellowish-brown slightly acidic and moderate well drained clay loams develop on alluvium. This depicts two soil types of Akroso series . They have good physical conditions and favourable for plant growth. However, they are leached and require fertilizer use. They are also rich in alluvial gold.
The land is gently slopped therefore well drained. However, several swarms available in valley bottom suitable for fish farming and valley bottom rice production.
Semi-deciduous rain forest.
Most of the indigenous are farmers. The total area under cultivation is 23,490 (HA). The main food crops cultivated are maize, cassava, plantain and cocoyam. Vegetables such as pepper, garden eggs, tomatoes, okra are produced. Tree crops such as Cocoa, Coconut, oil palm, citrus, and banana are produced exclusively in the district. Cultivation of cabbage and Sweet pepper and water melons are progressing steadily. Production of pineapples and rice has begun springing up. The District has potentials to increase in the production of these crops.
More of SMEs, Agro –businesses and Agro – processing businesses are springing up. Agro – chemical retailers are gradually springing up. Farmers are looking into most cash crops and export crops such as citrus. More farmers are forming groups and are dealing with more financial institutions such as Rural Banks. There are NGOs entering into animal rearing in the District. New NGOs could seek collaboration with the directorate to explore opportunities.
The District Agricultural Directorate is collaborating with other institutions, such as financial institutions and NGOs to establish more agro – business and agro- processing sectors. These are aimed at expanding the economy of the District, increase income, create jobs, ensure food security and enhance the standard of living. The above and more can be achieved due to the availability of high technical officers who provide exclusive extension activities.
There are more investment opportunities in the District in enterprises such as agro – processing and Agro – chemical distributions. Ventures such as poultry and pig production have high comparative advantages. The non-traditional sector such as apiculture, aquaculture, snail farming and afforestations woodlot establishment possess high comparative advantages in the District. The land tenure system is very flexible for investment business.
The crop production sector possesses tremendous areas for investment which would rack in high returns. Raw materials such as cassava, sugar cane, oil palm, citrus and Copra / Coconut are more available for processing. Farmers could be supported with irrigation facilities to facilitate all year round production of crops and vegetables for the local market and export.
There are avenues for export crops such as banana and citrus in the District.
MAJOR CROPS OF THE DISTRICT.
CROPPED AREA OF MAJOR CROPS
ESTIMATED CROP YIELD AND PRODUCTION FOR THE YEAR 2010
|CROP||AREA (HA)||YIELD (MT/HA)||PRODUCTION (MT)|
Major Crops of Competitive Advantage in the District include:
Cocoa, Oil palm, Rubber, Plantain and Maize. Also Cassava and Cocoyam.
Prominent among are sheep , goat and cattle.
There are also swine production and rabbitory.
Poultry indigenous fowls, ducks, turkey and few exotic poultry birds.
Again, snail production, Grass cutter rearing and beekeeping for honey production.
Emerging markets for poultry and poultry products, Pork and Dogs by the influx of the Chinese and ‘galamsey’ and mass employment at the Ayanfuri Mines.
Galamsey and cocoa farms competing for grazing land with the livestock
Inadequate number of staff to provide animal health services.
FISH FARMING (PRODUCTION)
Fish ponds are noted in Denkyira Obuasi, Ntom and Nkronua operational areas. Tilapia mudfish and catfish are the major types of fishes cropped/stocked.
FERTILIZER SUBSIDY PROGRAMME
The Agro-chemicals and fertilizer dealers in the district usually retails in margarine cups( kilos) and not in bags. This resulted in a nil monthly report.
Measurement of holders’ farm is completed in all the 10 enumeration areas.
The Upper Denkyira West DADU has technical staff for core areas of service delivery. To enhance their competence, they are given regular in-service training and have opportunities for further studies.