Ashaiman attained a Municipal Assembly status in 2008 from Tema.
It is one of the suburbs of Greater Accra Region with a land mass area of about 5km2
It is bounded by :
Zenu on the North,
Tema at the South
Ashaiman Timber market/Bethlehem on the East and
Adjei-Kojo/Santeo on the West
The Ashaiman Municipal Directorate of Food and Agriculture has divided the municipality into four operational zones namely Mantseman Zonal Council, Maamomo Zonal Council, Gbemi Zonal Council and Tsinai Agber Zonal Council. Each zone covers at least three operational areas. In effect there are over twelve operational areas in the municipality.
The total land area of the Municipality is estimated at five (5) square kilometres.
The estimated population of the Municipality is 217,717 with female population of approximately 51% and males 49%.
The Municipal Assembly lies in the Coastal Savannah Zone with a bi-modal rainfall pattern. The first season begins in May and ends in mid-July while the second begins in mid-August and ends in October. The average annual rainfall is about 730mm. Rainfall is usually characterized by quick and short intensive storms. With poorly drained soils, flooding has always been a problem that affects crop production.
Annual temperature figures are relatively stable with insignificant variations.
August, the coolest month, usually comes with a mean temperature of 24.7°c while the hottest periods of February and March come with a mean of 28°c. Relative humidity in the area is also generally high varying from 65% from mid-afternoon to 95% at night.
Soil types found in the area are categorized into four main groups namely: drift materials resulting from deposits by wind erosion; alluvial and marine motted clays of comparatively recent origin derived from underlying shales; residual clays and gravels derived from weathered quartzites, gneiss and schist rocks, and lateritic sandy clay soils derived from weathered Accraian sandstone bedrock formations.
The major commodities in the municipality are crops (maize, rice, onion, pepper, exotic vegetables like cabbage, lettuce, sweet pepper, spring onions, etc.) and livestock (sheep, goats, cattle and pigs). Poultry, and non-traditional agriculture like grass cutter, rabbit and mushroom as alternative sources of livelihood and agro-processing of palm kernel into oil are very endemic in the Municipality
Food Crop Production
Crop production in the municipality is limited to few areas due to urbanization and the average land size per farmer is one (1) acre. Available farmlands are located at the Irrigation Development Authority Project site (which has a total acreage of 150 hectares of which 56 hectares is under active cultivation), Roman Down, along the Motorway and Afariwaa area where most of the farmers are into vegetable and staple crops like maize and rice cultivation.
It has been observed from an on-going Animal survey from May, 2009 that, one out of every three households own either sheep or goats totalling about 2,442(under review) in the municipality. The farmers of this enterprise practice a complete zero grazing system which is worth commending.
Poultry production serves as a major source of the food supply chain in the municipality. Farmers are into both local and exotic bird production. About nine (9) poultry farmers have been identified to have between 500 and 10,000 birds which are considered medium-scale poultry production while the rest have between 50 and 500 birds. Most farmers however encounter challenges such as inaccessibility to credit and unfair market prices as well as high cost of inputs such as maize, wheat bran, fish meal, concentrates and poultry drugs which deters them from rapid expansion.
Piggery is a venture that has taken deep roots in the municipality. There currently are a number of small scale individuals who own between 4 and 200 animals. There is the need to assist them with financial resources to help expand their production to meet the increasing demand for pork in the municipality and beyond.
The municipality faces a daunting challenge in sanitation as most of these farmers house their animals in tattered wooden structures. They however manage to put out their best under the exigencies of the time.
Cattle owners in the municipality have as their main challenge unavailability of grazing lands, water for the animals and disease management. The cattle population can be estimated at around seven hundred (700). The management of cattle is equally another challenge in the municipality as the owners leave the animals to roam and compete for space on roads with cars and pedestrians.
Alternative sources of livelihood (Non-traditional farming)
The production of grass cutter and rabbit is being promoted for the not too large land sizes required for their production as a result of the increasing spate of urbanization in the municipality.
As part of programmes planned by ASHMA-MADU, a system to breed and fatten livestock is to be adopted with the support of the Municipal Assembly to enhance rabbit and grass cutter production. To achieve this objective a certain number of animals (male and female) are to be given to selected farmers (mainly the Youth) who will be expected to establish themselves elsewhere after two years of operation and acquiring enough technical-know-how in animal production. This will give way to new people to equally gain the knowledge in livestock production.
Animal health is an important component of livestock production and for that matter should be treated as such. This responsibility lies with the Veterinary Division of the Department of Agriculture. Among their routine activities is an annual campaign on vaccination of animals (pets, sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, poultry birds) against infectious diseases and epidemics such as Peste de Petite Ruminate (PPR) of sheep and goats, and the treatment of diseases on farms and at the veterinary clinic.
Vaccination is carried out to:
- Improve the health of animals.
- To reduce the risk of transmitting zoonotic diseases from animal to man.
Rabies is the most common zoonotic disease known to be transferable from animal (usually dogs and cats) to man through bites, scratches or contact of a cut on the human skin with the saliva of an infected animal. An infected person suffers various levels of mental break down and physical weakness until he or she dies two weeks after the incident. The disease is highly infectious and has no cure. The most effective way of controlling it is by mass vaccination of pets (dogs, cats, monkeys).
Limitations of the Veterinary Department
- It does not have the required resources to carry out routine vaccinations.
- It lacks a clinic to admit animals and treat cases.
- Office space is virtually unavailable
Other major animal diseases that require vaccination are brucellosis, Contagious Bovine Pluro Pneumonia (CBPP), anthrax, Newcastle and Rinderpest.
It is therefore prudent for the Municipal Assembly to make budgetary allocation to support the above needs.
It is recommended vaccination is treated as a public health issue and given the uttermost attention.
There are about four regular market centres in the municipality e.g. Ashaiman Main and Mandela Park markets etc. Food commodities such as tomato, pepper, cassava, plantain, rice, cassava dough, exotic vegetables (carrot, lettuce, cabbage) etc. are sold in these markets. Most of the traders buy their foodstuffs from other regions aside buying from farmers in the municipality, to ensure continuous supply of those commodities to consumers. The responsibilities of the market enumerator (an agent of the department who collects market information (weight and prices) from market women and also organize training sessions for them) include:
- Data collection on food prices
- Analysis of market situations with regard to demand and supply, and factors that affect demand, supply, and food prices.
- Organising training programmes for the market women.
The fisheries department has an established unit for the production of fingerlings (tilapia, cat fish and claries) for farmers at the Ashaiman Irrigation dam site. They produce fingerlings to supply customers all over the country.
They however have challenges ranging from water pollution due to encroachment at the peripheries of the dam that supplies water to the centre thus affecting the life of fingerlings to unavailability of standard breeding facilities that forces the staff to use improvised materials.
Individuals that have invested in the establishment of fish ponds have contributed to the development of aquaculture in the municipality.
Farmers Day Celebration
This is an occasion on which hard working farmers are awarded for their immense contribution to economic growth and food security. It is normally held on every first Friday in December.