Kwahu North

Capital : Donkorkrom
Location: Located between Latitudes 6o 40I N and 70 10’1 N; longitudes 0O 40I E and 0o 10I E
Land Area: It covers land area of 5,040 sq km and it is the largest District in the Eastern Region in terms of landmass
Boundaries: Kwahu South District to the south, Volta River to the east, Sekyere-East and Asante-Akim Districts to the west and Sene and Atebubu Districts to the north.

There are two main entrances into the Afram Plains District. The first is a road linking Nkawkaw-Mpraeso-Bepong-Kwahu and  Tafo which terminates at Adawso from where the three kilometer wide Afram River is crossed to Ekye-Amanfrom by a ferry operated by the Volta Lake Transport Company (VLTC). The second entrance is through Kpandu-Torkor in the Volta Region from where the Volta Lake is again crossed by one-and-a-half-hour portion journey to dock at Agordeke from where one can travel by road through Amankwaa and Adiembra to the District capital, Donkorkrom.
There is another minor entrance into the district from Atebubu in the Brong Ahafo Region into Ntonaboma, which was ceded out of the Atebubu District and put administratively, under the Afram Plains District. It is necessary to mention here that the Ntonaboma Traditional Councils and other chieftaincy affairs in the area are handled by the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs. Internally, there is another smaller portion that links Ntonaboma to the rest of the Afram Plains through New Kyeiase.

Geology
The District has geology described as principally Upper Voltaian sandstones consisting of coarse and fine-grained massive sandstones that are thin bedded, flaggy, impure, ferruginous or feldspathic and locally inter-bedded with shales and mudstone. The sandstones are found along the boundary margins whiles shales and mudstones outcrop within the central part of the District from below the sandstone bed.

Relief
The District has generally low lying lands that rise from 60 metres to 120 metres above sea level. The only high ground is the Donkorkrom plateau.

Drainage:
The District is drained by the Afram River in the west, Volta River in the east and the Obosom River in the north which flow continually throughout the year and can be used for both domestic and agricultural purposes.

Vegetation
The District falls within the savannah vegetation zone comprising of the savannah transitional zone and savannah woodland. This is characterised by short deciduous fire resistant trees often widely spaced and a ground flora composed of grass of varying heights. Revering forests occur along the major rivers and streams of the Savannah Zone and the largest stretches are cultivated by villagers who settle near the rivers and streams.

Soils
15 soil types have been identified. Types classified as Haplic luvisols by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) constitute over 40% of the land area and belong to the Ejura Series. They have been developed over Voltaian clay shales, and occur under both forest and savannah vegetation types. In the absence of bush fires, they accumulate considerable reserves of organic matter in their top layers.

With minor exceptions, the soils of the Afram Plains are fertile and suited to a wide variety of crops. The quality of soils is unlikely to be a constraint to the agricultural development of the District. Indeed, one of the main attractions of the Afram Plains is the abundance of readily-available land of good quality.

CLIMATE
Rainfall

There are two rainy seasons in a year in the Afram Plains. The first is the main wet season, starting in April and usually ending in the second week of July. Within this period, over three-quarters of the total annual rainfall is recorded. The minor rainy season occurs in September and October, and is followed by a long dry season from November to the end of April or early March. During the dry sea season there is drought which is accentuated by the harmattan weather so that most plants shed at least some of their leaves and many tributaries of Afram and Obosom Rivers dry up as well as some boreholes.

Temperature
Generally, the hottest months are February and March (36.80C and 36.60C on the average respectively) while the coldest ones are December and January (19.90C and 20.10C on the average respectively).

Relative Humidity
Relative humidity values in the Afram Plains District are generally highest in the mornings (06.00 hrs) and lowest around early afternoon (15.00 hrs). Relative humidity figure for both 06.00 and 15.00hrs are highest between April and October and lowest between November and May, which coincide with the rainy and dry periods respectively for the Afram Plains District. During the highest relative humidity periods and rainy season months of April to November, mean monthly relative humidity ranges between 81.6% and 71.6%. This gives an overall mean approximately 79.5%. During the harmattan months when relative humidities are low, mean monthly relative humidity figures of only 68.2% to 71.6% are recorded.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Sources of water supply to communities in Afram Plains include lakes, rivers, boreholes, dug-outs, dams and rain harvest. The major source of potable water supply in the District therefore is boreholes.

Markets
There are four (4) major markets in Afram Plains District and these are located at Maame Krobo, Ekye Amanfrom, Donkorkrom and Tease. Although there are other smaller markets in other communities, the four are the major ones which attract people from all over the country and even beyond the borders of Ghana. The Maame Krobo market in particular attracts traders, especially food crop traders from all the major towns in Ghana, particularly, Kumasi, Accra and Koforidua.

Investment and business potential
The Afram Plains District combines the presence of abundant natural and human resources with well developed basic social infrastructure provided through the collaborative efforts of the central government non-governmental organizations and the private individuals.
The migrant nature of the district provides fertile and feasible grounds for investment in the provision of hotel or hospitality services. Also investment into Agriculture especially crops, animals and Agro-Forestry development is another area that would be worth investing into and which will definitely yield results. The majority of the soils in the district are fine sandy –loams, clay- loams and semi-clay loams.
The District has a potential for the cultivation of non traditional export crops such as ginger, black and hot pepper, cassava (for processing into gari), maize, yam, cashew, sunflower and citronella. With the abundant water from the Volta, Afram and Obosom Rivers, the District has the potential for the promotion of irrigation farming for cultivation of vegetables such as tomatoes, garden eggs, okro, onion, chili, cabbages and pepper.
Animal Husbandry involving the rearing of cattle, breeding of sheep and goats and keeping of poultry is very successfully practiced in the District whose predominant savannah vegetation is suitable for livestock production.
Agriculture provides more than half of the employment in the district, accounting for over 80% of the labour force. The service sector follows with 17%, while industry employs 3%. Agricultural production and sheer productivity reflect high performance.
Large scale production of yam, maize, cassava, beans, cocoyam and plantain, as well as legumes, such as cowpea and groundnuts and vegetables is undertaken. Tree crops like cashew, citrus and oil palm are also cultivated.
Thus, there is still plenty of opportunity for investors to take advantage of the availability of abundant agricultural raw materials to turn primary products into secondary products and so adding value. For instance, cassava can be processed into cassava chips for export, while oil can be extracted from groundnuts and sunflower.
Moreover, favorable conditions for cattle rearing translate into great potential for the development of the dairy industry. Indeed, cattle abound all over the district, especially on Dwarf island.
The ceramics industry, concentrated primarily at Bebuso and Adiembra, also holds strong potential due to the presence of large clay deposits in the district. Women at Bebuso, for instance, are engaged in pottery and other aspects of the clay-based industry. With three rivers, the Volta, Afram and Obosom, providing for lake transport and for inland  fishing, the district’s potential for tourism is enormous. There are several major rivers and lakes crossing points and privately owned boats.
A new ferry, when provided to ply the Volta Lake between Agordeke in the Afram Plains and Kpando – Torkor in the Volta Region, will have a potential for tourist attraction affording a scenic view of the Volta Lake. Indeed, Agordeke is set to develop into an all-new town and the District Assembly has planned its layout carefully. Investors interested in building hotels and other aspects of the service industry can contact the District Assembly for assistance.
Interventional programmes
Afram Plains District Agricultural Development Project
This is a rural development project with agriculture as the lead sector. The sector goal is poverty reduction while the specific objectives are to increase agricultural output and improve household incomes of beneficiaries. The project has four components; production, capacity building infrastructure and management
Millennium Challenge Accounts
This is an International Treaty between Ghana and the USA. The compact was signe  on 1st  August 2006 and received formal ratification on  7th February 2007. It entered into force on 16th February 2007 and will end on February 2012.
The total compact is for 23 districts; of which Kwahu North alone receives close to 40% due to her deprived state and high incidence of poverty. The three main components are
Agriculture Commercialization Project ($241 million) and is to
•    Increased Farmer & Enterprise Training in Commercial Agriculture
•    Increased Irrigation Development
•    Land Tenure Facilitation
•    Improved Post-Harvest Handling and Value Chain Services
•    Improved Access to Credit On Farm and Value Chain Services.
•    Improved Linkages to Farmlands and Markets  – Rehabilitation of Feeder Roads
Transportation Project ($143 million) which seeks to
•    Enhanced access to International Air and Sea Ports
•    Improved Trunk Road Network In Afram Basin
•    Improved Volta Lake Ferry Services,
Rural Development Project ($101 million) which will
•    Support for Community Services
–    Energy for Domestic and Commercial Uses
–    Water & Sanitation Facilities
–    Educational and Vocational Facilities
–    Strengthen Rural Financial Institutions
Strengthen Public Sector Procurement Capacity
The long term expected results are that
•    The overall economic rate of return of the Compact is estimated at 20 percent.
•    The program is anticipated to help directly alleviate the poverty of over 230,000 Ghanaians and;
•    To enhance the livelihood and welfare of one million Ghanaians in total.

Major Economic Activities

The Agriculture Sector

Agriculture stands to be the main stay of the Afram Plains District economy by virtue of its percentage employment, which is 80% of the total employed labour force.  It should be noted that about 87.2% of these labour force are engaged in subsistence farming whilst 12.8% are engage in agro industry.

Agriculture is however divided into two major types— crop farming and animal husbandry.  The combination of these two activities gives rise to the third option—mixed farming.  It was realized that majority of the farmers (94.1%) are into crop farming with the remaining 5.9% being mixed farming.  This implies that none of the farmers were into only animal husbandry.

Crop Farming
Crop farming is the dominant agricultural activity in the District.  About 94.1% of the farmers are into crop production.  The favourable climatic conditions and the geo-physical characteristics of the area support intensive crop farming.  These and other factors such as the availability of arable lands account for the high crop production.  Most of the food crops are grown mainly to be sold for income and the rest to be consumed by the family. Tree crops such as cocoa and oil palm are also grown mainly for commercial purposes. The major crops cultivated can be put into two categories:
•    Food crops: maize, plantain, cassava, cocoyam and vegetables
•    Tree crops: cashew, orange and oil palm

Farming Practices and Systems
The major farming practices in the District is mixed farming (90.1% of the farmers). This implies that, whiles the farmers cultivate the food and tree crops, livestock and poultry are also kept in the backyard as a supplementary source of food and income.  The remaining 9.9% of the farmers practice mono-cropping.

Ownership of Land
Land ownership in the District is basically vested in stools occupied by the Chiefs who are the custodians. It is observed that farm lands in the district are obtainable through outright purchase, lease, inherited/shared family property, sharecropping and as a gift. The table below explain the proportions of ownership.

Land ownership in the district

Source Percentage (%)
Outright Purchase (bought) 17.4
Lease 32.4
Inherited 21.7
Shared Family Property 12.4
Doma Yen Kye (Sharecropping) 1.8
Gift 14.3
Total 100.0

Farm Size
The size of a farm can be said to be a determinant of the total farm output.  The availability of large stretch of land and its suitability for various crops farm sizes range between 2 and 200 acres.  The current study on agricultural development in Afram plains reveals that the area is suitable for mechanized and large scale commercial farming.

Animal Husbandry

The types of animal reared include sheep, goat and cattle.  The systems employed in rearing of animals are mainly the intensive system where animals are kept in a confined area and fully fed and semi-intensive where animals are allowed to go out during the day and brought indoors in the evening 60% of the farmers who practice mixed farming employ the semi-intensive system, with the remaining 40% getting into the intensive system of rearing the animals.  This implies that many livestock farmers use the semi-intensive method while majority of the poultry farmers adopt the intensive system especially the commercial farmers.

Top Ten Crops Grown in the District

Type of Crop Area under cultivation (hac)
Maize 31,086.5
Yam 22,041
Cassava 11,233.8
Pepper 2,085.6
Groundnut 6,414.8
Cowpea 6,517.6
Plantain 458.2
Cashew 3,002
Oil Palm 5,075
Citrus 281.2

Top Five Animals Reared in the District

Type of Animal Total Stock
Cattle 177,330
Sheep 62,201
Goats 93,734
Local fowls 316,502
Pigs 16,103

Numbers of People Employed in the Agricultural Sector

Category

Number
Male Female
Maize 12,551 10,452
Cassava 10,186 12,185
Cocoyam 6,214 6,851
Plantain 7,691 9,201
Citrus 1,608 1,008
Oil palm 587 347
Sheep 1,820 869
Goat 2,420 1,981
Poultry 2,281 2,913
Pig 75 25

The Service Sector
The service sector is second to the agricultural sector in terms of labour employment.  It employs 33.5% of the total labour force.  Majority (66.7%) of those who provide services are employees with the remaining 33.3% being employers.  This clearly describes the employment status of the people engaged in the service sector.  The activities classified under this sector involve either the sale of goods or the rendering of services.  However, it is generally difficult to put activities under these categories as separate or exclusive because most activities involve a combination of the two. Yet still the type of services they provide ranges from civil servants, through driving, hair dressing, dress making, sales personnel, mechanic engineer, and “susu” collection to vulcanizing.

According to the survey conducted, 37.4% of the labour force employed under the service sector is civil servants.  This is followed by drivers who constitute 24.2% of the service force.  The rest of the proportion is shared among the other types of the service provided

INDUSTRY

The industrial sector is the smallest sector of the District economy.  It employs only 3.1% of the total labour force.  This sector can be said to be an emerging sector possessing the capacity to absorb a greater percentage of the labour force if adequate measures are put in place to propel its growth.  Most industries in the District produce on a small scale.  This is because they have low production capacity in the form of machinery, labour and other inputs.  A good number of the industries (73.7%) obtain their raw materials outside the district.  The remaining 26.3% obtain theirs within the districts. This has adversely affected the cost of production of these industries. There is therefore the need to put in measures to produce adequate raw materials to feed the existing industries and also attract new ones.

Type of Industry

The type of industrial activities in the District can be categorised based on their primary input or raw material.  The wood industry is the largest (42.1%). and includes sawmilling and carpentry.  This is followed by kente weaving (36.8%).  Metal-based manufacturing industries include welding and steel bending constitutes 21.1% of the industrial workers.

Marketing

Marketing is an essential part of the production process for which the availability or otherwise of a ready market, has significant consequences on the output and incomes of the producers.  It was realized that 63.2% of the respondents market their goods within the District, while the remaining 26.8% of them commute to other parts of the country to market their goods.  Majority of these traders commute to Kumasi Central Business District to market their products.
Sources of energy for Industry

According to the survey, 83.5% of the industrialists make use of electricity as their major source of energy for the running of their industry, whereas the rest (16.5%) resort to the use of petrol/diesel.

Employment Status
Majority of the people working in the industrial sector are employers on their own.  They form 89.5% of the entire labour in the sector.  The rest (10.5%) have been employed by the owners of the various industries. This implies that majority of the entrepreneurs are employers who employs the remaining proportion.  Labour employment by most industries in the District is through apprenticeship.  Employment of paid labour is very minute.

Tourism

The natural environment of the District has immense tourism potentials. Notably, the beautiful Bobiri Forest Reserve with its butterfly sanctuary. Other tourist sites are the Ejisu Besease shrine, Yaa Asantewaa museum, Kente weaving at Bonwire, among others. There is the need to fully harness these tourist potentials for the development of the District.

NGO’s and CBO’s in the District

CBO’s/NGO’s Location Programmes Target Group
Afram Plains Development Organisation District wide To improve the standard of living of the HIV/AIDS patients socially and economically HIV/AIDS patients
Learning Helping Living Northern half of the district Rehabilitation of the juvenile delinquents and drug addicts Children and adults
To work in partnership with government agencies and NGO’s to provide care to children and HIV/AIDS patients Children and adults
Education on HIV/AIDS Youth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *