The Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District Assembly (BABDA) lies in the North-Eastern part of the Western region and shares boundaries in the North with the Atwima district in the Ashanti Region, and in the East with the Upper Denkyira district in the Central region and the Amansie East District in the Ashanti Region respectively. On the South and West, it is bordered respectively by Wassa-Amenfi and Sefwi Wiawso District in the Western Region.
The District has an area of 873sq km and a population of 103,256(2000) living in a total of 345 settlements which are predominantly rural. 51% of the population is female. The annual growth rate is 3.2%. The 15-59 age groups constitute 50.1% of the population, indicating a significant labour force. The major occupation in the district is farming. BABDA is located in the equatorial climate; the annual mean temperature is 26 oC. The rainfall is bimodal and averages between 1200mm and 1300mm annually.
The vegetation is of the equatorial rainforest type with moist semi-deciduous forests producing various tree species. The district’s endowment of rich forest ochrosols and forest Oxysols explain the extensive cultivation of food and cash crops.
The economy of the district is essentially agricultural. The agricultural sector is dominated by crop cultivation and employs 76% of the population with 55.3% female participation. Out of 62% (54240ha) of the total arable land area available, only 45.5% (39829ha) is currently under cultivation. Agricultural activities undertaken in the district include crop, livestock production and agro-processing.
There are eight (8) forest reserves in the district, namely Afao Hills, Anhwiaso south, Anhwiaso East, Anhwiaso North and Sumtwitwi. The rest are Upper Wassaw, Tano Suran and Tano Suran Extension. None have been depleted.
Under crop production, both staple and cash crops are produced, under the staples cultivated are cassava, plantain, rice, maize, cocoyam, vegetables etc whilst cocoa, coffee, oil-palm, rubber, citrus, black pepper etc are among the cash crops cultivated.
A variety of livestock and poultry is raised on commercial basis. Among the animals raised are sheep, goats, pig etc. Poultry is a promising potential of the district, Broilers, layers and cockerels are the birds kept. About 15,000 layers, 5,000 each of Broilers and Cockerels are raised annually.
NON-TRADITIONAL – ANIMALS
With regards to grasscutter production, ten (10) farmers have been identified in the district to be keeping the local breed. No improved breed keeper is known yet.
On snail keeping, few farmers keep few for home consumption. No commercial farmers have been identified yet.
NON-TRADITIONAL – CROPS
On black pepper production in the district, twelve (12) farmers have been identified; each farmer’s annual harvest is estimated to be half a ton.
On all the non-traditional farming, aquaculture is the most dominant sector followed by bee-keeping. There are about sixty (60) fish ponds in the district stocked mostly with tilapia and annual catch of about five (5) tons. With bee, we have about 80 bee hives in the district.
Maize, Rice and Palm fruits are the most agro-products processed. Maize is processed into corn-dough; Rice is milled for consumption and palm fruits into palm oil. The maize mills are dotted all over the district whilst the rice and palm fruits mills are few and centred in the commercial towns.
There are two important marketing outlets in the district, namely, Bibiani and Bekwai. Fridays and Wednesdays are the marketing days for Bibiani and Bekwai respectively. Crops in the rural areas are convened to these markets on the market days for sale. Traders from all over Ghana patronize these markets. These markets create avenues for sale of agricultural produce and hence encouraged farmers to cultivate more food since there are market places to sell. Despite these ready market places for sale of agriculture produce, much of the produce go waste due to lack of access roads and ready markets for the various food items, especially those perishable ones.
Non-Governmental Organizations operating in the district have been identified; these are Cocoa Abrabopa, CIRAPS, and Techno-serve. Activities they undertake ranges from technical services to giving farmers credit facilities.
TRAINING OF FARMERS
With MoFA special training, occasionally fish farmers from the district are sponsored to one week training on fish farming in Kumasi. One hundred and twenty (120) Farmers Based Organizational farmers underwent training for three weeks on capacity building. Commodity specific trainings are also given to farmers in the district by agricultural extension agents, district development officers and the district director.
NGO’S TRAINING TO FARMERS
NGOs in the district, especially Cocoa Abrobopa trained farmers in the production of cocoa, harvesting techniques, fermentation of cocoa beans to drying. Topics treated in the production part included improved cocoa seeds, raising of nurseries, through transplanting and care. Four thousand (4000) cocoa farmers benefited from these trainings.
The Centre for Improved Rural Animal Production Systems (CIRAPS)
The district in collaboration with Centre for Improve Rural Animal Production Systems (CIRAPS), an NGO dealing in livestock production raises cockerels for distribution and sale to farmers to improve their local fowls.
CIRAPS is a nongovernmental learning opportunity centre for people in rural and peri-urban areas to improve their income levels through sustainable farming in pigs, poultry, beekeeping, fish farming and rabbits, integrated into vegetable and food crop farming. It seeks to promote particularly pig production in rural communities via regular supply of improved breeding stock and training to beneficiaries, especially, in areas where mining concessions have made land very limited for crop farming. The project seeks to address the constraints of smallholder pig farming, namely, access to good quality breeding stock, low productivity of existing stock and access to practical technical knowledge on profitable pig keeping and processing of pork into sausages and bacon. The production and sale of breeding gilts and young boars and fattener pigs are considered to be the primary products from CIRAPS. Breeds supplied are produced under near similar conditions at which beneficiaries will use, leaving little room for adaptation to their new environment. Housing construction is simple and undertaken by beneficiaries themselves. Services provided include training in profitable pig production and processing, facilitation of pig framer’s access to credit and supply of inputs (feeds, medication and equipments).
The practical training is designed to provide beneficiaries with skills they need to produce pigs efficiently in rural environment. Training is offered in the communities and communicates in the languages understood by all. Little paper work is involved which makes it ideal for the majority of rural dwellers with little formal education.
A United Kingdom NGO in collaboration with the district agricultural development unit and crop research institute, Kumasi is supporting rice farmers in the district. The project has installed a rice mill with distoner for use by farmers.
Timber is exploited from the forest reserves in the district for value addition in Sefwi-Wiawso and Kumasi for both the foreign and the domestic markets. The forest reserves from which timber is exploited include the Tano-Suraw Extension, Anhwiaso South, Anhwiaso West and Anhwiaso East. The tree species available include mahogany, avodire, asanfina, wawa, ceiba, etc. These are mainly used in the production of furniture, mouldings, floorings, etc.
Of the total road length of 309.3km in the District, 237.3km are feeder roads. The remaining 71.8km are trunk roads, with the 40km stretch from Bibiani to Awaso tarred. The Awaso-Sefwi-Bekwai; Nzema Nkwanta-Bibiani; Sefwi Bekwai-Humjibre and the Sefwi Bkewai-Surano trunk roads are all tarred. The Ankobra is one of the major drivers of Ghana. It takes it source from the district before meandering its way southwards to the sea. It is a major source of water supply for agricultural, industrial and domestic use.
WATER AND SANITATION
Bibiani has pipe-borne water. Sefwi Bekwai, Anhwiaso and Awaso are to benefit from pipe-borne water in due course. A good number of the remaining communities also have hand-dug wells and borehole water facilities. Rivers and streams in the district are perennials. The clean environment is an added attraction.
By the 2000 population and Housing Census, there were 12,874 houses available in the District for a total of 22,411 households giving an average of 4.6 households per house. The Habitat for Humanity Project, having been implemented at Subri and Awaso, is also being embraced by many communities.
There are very good and decent hotels and rest houses in the district. Some of the hotels that offer excellent services include the Cane Basket Hotel at Awaso, the Ranch House at Bibiani, Prudent, Assurance Hotel and Hotel de Joko located in the centre of Bibiani.
The District’s natural forests, water bodies (especially the River Ankobra), the unique landscape (especially the AttaNyamekrom peak at 660m above sea level) combined with the mining sites, offer an alternative for tourists already accustomed to the beaches and the colonial legacies (Forts and Castles which unfortunately remind us of the unfortunate trans-Atlantic slave trade) at the coast. The forests and water bodies can then be saved from devastation since they can now generate income while remaining intact.
The district has one of the best veterinary clinic in the region, if not the country.