Capital: Akim Swedru
Land Area: The district covers an estimated area of 299.5 sq km, constituting 1. 6 percent of the total land area of the Eastern Region
The district shares borders with Birim North,
Birim Cental Municipal and Kwaebibirem to the north, Adansi East and Assin to the
West, Asikuma Odoben Brakwa, Agona to the south, West Akyem to the east
The district is mostly undulating and hilly and lies within the semi-deciduous forest zone. The underlying rock formation is mainly made up of the upper Birimian rocks. These rocks consist predominantly of volcanic lava, schist, hyalites and greywacke with; minor granite intrusions and normally gives rise to salty clay soil without coarse materials. The topography of Birim South District is hilly, consisting of lava flows and schist which in some cases rise to 61m above sea level. Available rainfall figures average almost 170cm. The hyalite and greywacke areas have low relief and experience relatively low rainfall.
The district is drained by the Birim River. Its major tributaries include Funso, Apetesu, Asikasu, Ahonfra, Akwassua, Nsute, Adim, Tropea and Kasawere.
The vegetation is mainly characterized by tall trees with evergreen undergrowth endowed with economic trees. The District falls within the semi-deciduous rainforest region leading to high degree of rainfall for crop cultivation and human use.
The district lies within the wet semi-equatorial climatic zone which experiences substantial amount of precipitation. This is characterized by a bi-modal rainy season with rainfall between 150cm and 200cm reaching its maximum during the two peak periods of May – June and September – October. Average temperature ranges between 25.2 minimum and 27.9ºC maximum. Relative humidity is about 56 and 70 percent usually attained during the dry and rainy season respectively.
|SOIL CLASSIFICATION||CHARACTERISTICS||SOIL CAPABILITY|
|Nsaba-Swedru Off in Compound||▪ Grayish brown loamy soils overlying red clay soils that occur at lower elevations of sloping hills.
▪ Grey alluvial sand of thin layers
|Tree and arable crops, especially cocoa.
Dry season vegetables, sweet potato, sugarcane and rice.
|Kumasi-Offin Association||▪ Coarse sandy to fine gravelly tops oil and red coarse sandy subsoil.||Dry season vegetables, sweet potato, sugarcane and rice.|
|Bekwai-Oda Association||▪ Red soils developed over lower Birimian rocks.
▪ Salty clay loamy soils which occupy fairy extensive flat lands adjacent to streams and rivers.
|Cocoa, coffee, citrus, oil palm, avocado, pear, mangoes, banana, pawpaw, vegetables, sugarcane. Mechanized irrigated rice.|
|Birim Chichi were||▪ Moderately slow internal flow to
medium surface run off.
Moderately permeable and good
Moisture retention capacity.
▪ Very deep pale brown or yellowish
brown, fine sand.
|Wide range of tree and arable crops
Nurseries and vegetable growing.
ON GOING AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES IN BIRIM SOUTH DISTRICT
(1) ROOT AND TUBER IMPROVEMENT AND MARKETING PROGRAMME (RTIMP)
Under this programme, farmers are supplied with improved cassava planting material for planting. Farmers are linked to cassava processing centres where they can sell their cassava produce. The processors are also trained on relevant technology to assist them use hygienic methods and remove haggard’s from the processing centres. This enables the farmers to have ready market for their produce and also enable processor to come our with wholesome commodity for sale to public.
(2) YOUTH IN AGRICULTURE (BLACK FARMING) PROGRAMME (YIAD)
To create employmentfor the unemployed youths and also to ensure are regular income,, youths interested in agriculture are being encouraged to obtain 10 hectares or more stretch of lands . they are then helped to cultivate the land by the provision of improved maize seeds and other inputs on credit.
MOFA technical officers supervise the youth farmers on their fields to ensure that recommended agricultural practices are carried out for better returns.
(3) INLAND VALLEY RICE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (IVRDP)
Rice farmers are given new technology for rice production. This involves preparation of valleys i.e stumping, leveling bounding etc. Using improved high yielding rice varieties for planting.
(4) MULTI-ROUND ANNUAL CROPS AND LIVESTOCK SURVEY (MRACLS)
Under this programme, field officers are assigned to enumeration areas where randomly selected farmers from registered farmers in the enumerate are assessed to know the crops and livestock they produce and also yield per unit area to serve as guide for production levels in the country.
(5) SUSTAINABLE TREE CROP PROGRAMME (STCP)
Under this project, farmers are supplied with cry bird cocoa seeds, assist farmers to maintain and expand their cocoa farms.
(6) COCOA HI-TECH PROGRAMME (CHTP)
This programme supplies subsidized Hi-Tech Cocoa Fertilizer to farmers.
(7) COCOA MASS SPRAYING PROGRAMME (CMSP)
This programme conducts Mass Spraying of Cocoa farms for farmers free of charge as government’s contribution to Agricultural development in the country.
(8) COMMUNITY FORESTRY PROGRAMME (CFP)
This programme is yet to start in the district.
(9) MOFA FARMERS REGISTRATION (MFR)
This programme is on going nation wide.
MAJOR CROPS GROWN AND LIVESTOCK REARED IN DESCENDING ORDER IN THE BIRIM SOUTH DISTRICT
10. GUINEA FOWLS
STRUCTURE OF THE DISTRICT ECONOMY
Agriculture is the mainstay of the District economy employing about 70% of the active labour force. Other economic activities that supports the Agric sector are; trade and commerce, industry and services (hotels, banking etc).
Achiase and Swedru are the main commercial centers in the District with Achiase being the busiest town. Residents in Swedru, the District Capital mostly carryout their commercial activities in Oda the capital of Birim Central Municipality because of the short distance compared to Achiase. Agriculture is bowever a rural based sector of the District economy.
Farms in the district are, on the average, small in sizes and farm holdings are scattered. The average farm size per farmer is about 1 hectare. Agricultural production is near subsistence with very few of the farmers engaged in plantation farming. Majority of the farmers are involved in crop farming and the main crops cultivated are:
• Starchy staples like cassava, cocoyam, and plantain,
• Legumes like beans; vegetables like tomatoes, okro, garden eggs, pepper, cabbage.
• Tree crops like oil palm, cocoa, citrus, bamboo;
• Cereals like maize and rice.
The predominant farm practice is mixed cropping. The crops grow in mixed stands are normally inter-cropped with vegetable, and cultivated for both home consumption and for sale.
Land Tenure System
(i) Individual ownership or inheritance from family;
(ii) Rent or hiring from landowners;
The land tenure arrangements include:
a. Owner occupancy, where the farmer is the owner of the land on which he/she works and provides all the necessary inputs for production.
b. Shared tenancy – This is the “Abunu” or the “Abusa” share cropping system, where the owners lease the land to the farmer, and the farm produce shared equally (Abunu) or a third goes to the landlord, while two-thirds goes to the tenant (Abusa).
PLOTS AND FARM SIZES
A feature identified in the District during the baseline survey was the multiplicity of plots of land per farmer. These plots of land, all small in size, were scattered over the area, often at considerable distance from one another. A greater percentage of the farmers have 2 or more farm plots with farm sizes ranging between 1 – 5 hectares.
Such distribution of farm holdings in different places means farmers do not practice block farming.
TYPES OF CROPS CULTIVATED
Crop production is mainly traditional and generally near subsistence level as majority of the farmers do not have access to machinery for farming. The major crops cultivated are cassava, maize, citrus fruits, cocoyam, plantain, vegetables, oil palm, cocoa, etc. Maize is planted twice during the year, that is, during the major and minor seasons.
A greater percentage of the maize cultivated are harvested when dry, stored in cribs and barns and disposed off in the lean season. The greater part of the maize cultivated is consumed, with a little going for the preparation of animal feed.
The farm implements used are cutlasses, hoes, axes/mattocks, and equipment like spraying machines and prunes. Based on the survey, almost all the farmers use both cutlasses and hoes.
The use of modern agricultural technologies is very limited. Traditional practices such as bush fallowing, slash and burn etc. are still widespread. This and many others have limited the farmer’s ability to increase the size of their operations and discouraged them from adopting new and modern agricultural technology.
Another crucial farming input is labour. Considering the simple farm tools in use, there is the need for a high degree of manpower. A factor in labour is the age of the farmer. The average (modal) age of the farmers range between 40 and 72 years.
Farming in the area is, therefore, undertaken by the old people who do not have the necessary energy to work and manage the farms. They depend heavily on household and hired labour. Hired labour is, however, scarce and expensive. Farmers use a combination of household, hired and co-operative labour. The use of hired labour is evident during the peak labour period, especially during land clearing and weeding.
Labour cost is high for most farmers, above their limited resources. As a result of limited financial resources, the farms are not properly maintained and these, in the long run, affect output.
APPLICATION OF SEEDS AND AGRO-CHEMICALS
The farmers use two types of seeds. These are local seeds and improved seeds. These seeds are acquired from three main sources, namely, from previous crop harvest, private traders and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The use of organic manure, chemical fertilizers and other agro-chemicals is on a limited scale though increasing steadily. In the use of fertilizers, for example, over 50% of the farmers do not apply any kind of fertilizers. The types of fertilizers, applied are compound fertilizers (15:15:15), Sulphate of Ammonia and Urea.
Few farmers apply herbicides (weed killers) pesticides and fungicides.
Modern storage facilities such as silos, warehousing with dry facilities, etc, are not in existence in the district. The main types of storage facilities in use are the traditional barn, a few improved cribs and roof storage.
Maize is the only grain with an elaborate storage system. Facilities for the storage of other farm products are not available resulting in high post harvest losses. Processing as a means of conserving output is at a very low level and the traditional methods used are not efficient. These compel the farmers to sell their farm produce at low prices during the harvest.
Urban-based middlemen within and outside the district undertake marketing of farm produce. Most of the farmers sell their produce at the nearest local market to these middlemen who in turn send them to other marketing centers especially the Oda market for sale. The pricing of agricultural produce, which is determined by supply and demand but negotiated by the middlemen, is unfavorable to the farmers. Prices of farm produce are therefore, very low especially when during harvest time when there is a glut and serve as disincentive to the farmers. The poor roads to farming areas have also created for the farmers limited access to the bigger markets, which can offer better price for their crops.
Most of the farmers engaged in crop farming also keep livestock. The types of animals reared are sheep, goats, pigs, cattle and poultry. These are reared as supplementary activities to meet part of the protein requirements and to earn additional income. The largest animal production activity is poultry. The animals reared are kept in stys, pens and hen coops. The goats, sheep and pigs are fed through the free grazing method – that is grazing on the open vegetation, while the others, especially poultry are fed in enclosed areas. . Veterinary Services is offered by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the District.
Commerce in the district is centered mainly on trading. This involves wholesalers and retailers in primary commodities. The commercial activities are undertaken at the markets and serve as income generating avenues for the District Assembly. These markets are trading outlets for agricultural produce and inputs.
The district has 7 daily markets and 3 periodic markets that are geographically distributed in the district. Greater volume of trade takes place at the Akim Swedru, Achiase and Aperade markets.
The biggest of these markets is the Akim Swedru market.which covers an area of 1 Acre.
The area of influence of the market includes the Eastern, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, and Greater Accra Regions. The main items of trade are agricultural and industrial produce.
Agricultural Extension Services
The main aim of the MOFA Extension Service is to assist farmers to increase agricultural production through the transfer of improved production and post production technologies that would support better living standards. This is normally done through seminars and demonstrations.
FARMER-BASED ORGANISATIONS IN BIRIM SOUTH DISTRICT (F.B.Os)
|F B O||LOCATION||REMARKS|
|1. Adom Farms||Aperade||Crop Production|
|2. Hashford Farms||Achiase||Crop Production|
|3. Blackie Farms||Akim Swedru||Fish / Poultry Production|
|4. Matthew Brew Farms||Achiase||Crop Production|
|5. Presby Church Frams||Achiase||Fish Production|
|6. John Quayson Farms||Achiase||Crop Production|
|7. Methodist Church Farms||Aduasah||Crop Production|
|8. Kristo Asafo Group||Atuntumerem||Vegetable / Maize Production|
|9. Amponsah Farms||Akenkensu||Crop / Pig Production|
|10. Paul Gorman||Prakrom||Crop / livestock Production|
|11. Birim South Unity Poultry Farmers Assoc.||Achiase||Poultry Production|
|12. Robert K. Amoah Farms||Achiase||Poultry Production|
|13. Isaac Nyarko Farms||Achiase||Poultry Production|
|14. Bomdwen||Nyankomase||Crop Production|
|15. Anidaso Rice Growers||Akim Swedru||Crop Production|
|16. Fapimpa||Akim Swedru||Crop Production|
|17. Dinpa Rice Growers||Akim Swedru||Crop Production|
|18. Boafoo||Akim Swedru||Crop Production|
|19. Kuapa Rice Growers||Akim Swedru||Crop Production|
|20. Nyame Bekyere Oil Processing||Anamase||Oil Processing Enterprise|
|21. Akim Awisa Youth Co-op. Food Farming & Marketing Society Ltd.||Akim Awisa||Crop Production|
|22. Adwumapa Youth Farms||Akim Awisa||Crop / livestock Production|
|23. Peace Farmers Assoc.||Nyankomase||Crop Prod. & Corn Mill|
|24. Bo Woho Mmoden Womens’s Group||Aperade||Gari Processing|
|25. Progressive||Osorase||Crop Production|
|26. Asomdwoe Processing Group||Osorase||Palm Oil Processing|
|27. Adoe Kuo||Osorase||Palm Oil Processing|
|28. Palm Oil Producers Assoc.||Osorase||Palm Oil Processing|
|29. God is Great||Osorase||Crop Production|
|30. Welfare Dev’t Oil Processing Grp.||Osorase||Palm Oil Processing|
|31. Odoo Kuo||Achiase||Palm Oil Processing|
|32. Nyame Bekyere||Achiase Crossing||Palm Oil Processing|
|33. Oli Palm Growers Assoc.||Akenkensu||Crop Production|
|34. Ideal Woman’s Group||Achiase||Palm Oil Processing|
|35. Cassava and Oil Palm Processing Group||Anamase||Gari and Palm Oil Processing|
|36. Kodadwin Cassava Processing Group||Aperade||Cassava Processing|
|37. Aqua Cassava Processing Group||Akenkensu||Cassava Processing|
|38. Akim Swedru Rice Farmers Assoc.||Akim Swedru||Rice Production|