Nzema East Municipal

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Location and Size

The Nzema East Municipality is one of the seventeen (17) Districts in the Western Region of Ghana.  It is located on the Southern end of the region between longitude 2005” and 2035” West and latitude 4040 and 5020 North.

It is bounded on the West by Ellembelle District, North by Wassa Amenfi West District, East by Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality Prestea Huni Valley and Ahanta West and on the South by the Gulf of Guinea with about 9km stretch of sandy beaches.

Climate

The District lies between the wet semi-equatorial climate zone of the West African Sub-region.  Rainfall is experienced throughout the year with the highest monthly mean occurring around May and June each year. Monthly rainfall recordings for years 2005 to 2010 are as shown in table below:

Table: Rainfall Distribution 2005 – 2010

Monthly Rainfall in mm
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Jan. 69.3 0.3 2.2 4 41 94
Feb. 90.0 2.3 55.8 48 12 62
March 193.9 47.8 43.5 90 21 129
April 272.3 92.7 134.9 129 122 270
May 518.8 232.7 125.4 357 330 428
June 290.8 238.7 929.8 376 600 463
July 23.5 95.6 498.9 140 402 54
August 15.8 17.5 73.0 17 18 58
Sep. 74.8 89.3 95.6 119 11 121
Oct. 297.3 195.5 268 97.2 41 378
Nov. 87.2 153.7 44.8 163.1 101 294
Dec. 48.0 97.8 76.9 26.8 43 179

Source: Municipal Meteor Service, Axim

Vegetation

The vegetation of the Municipality is made up of the moist semi-deciduous rain forest mainly in the northern part, followed by secondary forest southwards mainly due to human activities like tree felling and farming, and coastal savanna mainly in the South along the 30km coastal belt. The vegetation comprise of large areas of forest resources which include other non timber forest products like rattan, bamboo, game and wildlife all of which offer opportunities to generate resources for development.

Population

Table: Population distribution

District 2008 2009 2010 2011
Axim Municipal 82,717 85,364 88,096 90,915

Source: GSS

MAJOR OCCUPATION

Agriculture (including fishing) and agro-processing, Chop Bar Operators, Apketeshie Distillers, Building and Construction, school teaching.

ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS

Agriculture

It is estimated that over 65% of the economically active population are engaged in agriculture (including fishing) and agro-processing.

Land

Most parts of the land in the Municipality are undulating, therefore very unsuitable for mechanized farming (use of tractors for land preparation).  Share – cropping (Abusa) is the common land tenure system.

Soils

There are acidic and low in nutrients due to high leaching.  Leaching is the result of the high rainfall in the Municipality.

Input/Extension Services

The cutlass and hoe are the main tools of farmers.  Some farmers do not use and/or do not have access to fertilizer, insecticides and herbicides due to high cost of these inputs.  There are four (4) development officers and six (6) extension agents located within ten (10) agricultural operational areas in the Municipality.  The extension agent to farmer ratio is 1:12,000 which is quite high.  The situation is further worsened by the lack of mobility for agric extension agents.

Cropping

The average farm size is estimated at 4 hectares.  Slash and burn is the common practices of land preparation in the Municipality.  The major tree crops are coconut, oil palm, rubber and cocoa with cassava and plantain being the major food crops.  Vegetables such as garden eggs, pepper and tomatoes are also cultivated among other crops.  Food crops such as cassava, maize, rice, cocoyam and plantain are grown extensively both for subsistence and for cash.  However, due to the absence of any efficient processing and storage facilities, post harvest losses are high and farmers incomes are low.

Coconut Sector

Coconut is grown extensively in the Municipality especially in the southern part.  It is processed into coconut oil and exported mainly to Accra, Kumasi, Tarkwa and Obuasi.  In recent years, the lethal yellowing disease of coconut locally called Cape St. Paul’s Wilt Disease (CSPWD) has devastated the coconut plantations along the southern coast of the Municipality.  This has seriously affected the economic livelihood of the people in these areas, leading to low incomes and increased unemployment.  The dwindling production base of the local coconut industry has also adversely affected the internal revenue base of the Assembly.  The Coconut Sector Development Project launched in 1999 has the following component intended to bring some relief to the people.

Production of planting materials

Replanting

Intensification (improved farm management + fertilization)

Improvement in Small Scale Oil processing

Applied research

Replanting of hybrid coconut seedlings for farmers in the Municipality started in the year 2000.  So far an estimated two hundred and fifty (250) acres of farms have been replanted for seventy seven (77) farmers.  The major bottleneck is the non-accessibility of the improved planting materials to the farmers due to high cost of production.

Cocoa

Cocoa is grown mostly in the northern part of the Municipality, which is a forest area.  This has over the past years attracted influx of cocoa farmers into these parts of the Municipality especially the Gwira area.  Crop yield per acre for cocoa in these areas are comparatively lower.  It is estimated that there are over 25,000 acres of land under cocoa plantation in the Municipality.

Capsid infestation and the Black pod disease are major problems of this crop.  Productivity has also been affected by lack of information on soil suitability.  Efforts and new measures have been put in place, especially the spraying of the farms, and planting of improved varieties and use of government subsidized fertilizer to help improve the yield of cocoa.

Livestock Production

Ruminants (Cattle, Sheep and Goats)

Cattle rearing are only found in a few communities.  The rearing of goats is prohibited in many communities in the Municipality because of cultural reasons.  Sheep population is estimated around 8,150.  Goat population is around 7,365 based on the livestock census in 2008.  The small ruminants (sheep and goats) suffer from high worm infestation, mange or scabies and seasonal outbreaks of diarrhea and pneumonia complications e.g. pests des petites ruminants (PPR).  Vaccinations are carried out seasonally for small ruminants to reduce the incidence of PPR which causes a high mortality among sheep and goats.

Non-Ruminants (Poultry and Pigs)

Local poultry, especially chicken is reared throughout the Municipal in almost every home.  However the local chicken population remains low because of annual outbreaks of Newcastle Disease that results in high mortality among these birds.  Commercial poultry keeping is only undertaken by a handful of entrepreneurs whose major problem is marketing of their produce.  The estimated population of local poultry is 18,220 based on the 2008 livestock census.  Pig production is the most popular livestock activity in the Municipality, apart from sheep and goat, especially among the youth and women.  The estimated pig population based on the 2008 livestock census is 6,524.  The non availability of by-product from coconut oil processing as a major cheap source of feed ingredient for pigs is the reason for their decreasing population in the Municipality.  In spite of the immense potential,. Pig farmers still use traditional methods of husbandry and therefore cannot improve production to earn more income.  Pig production would be vigorously promoted to create alternative employment opportunities through introduction of improved husbandry, processing and marketing to improve farmers’ earning.

Fishing and Fish Farming

Marine Fishing

The Municipality is a major player as far as marine fishing in the country is concerned.  Of the 90 landing beaches in the region 16 are found in the Municipality Statistics of the sea fishing industry is presented in the table below:

Table:Fisheries statistics

TYPES OF STATISTICS NO.
Fishing Villages

Landing Beaches

Total Canoes (registered as at 2005)

No. of outboard motors

Fish – Crew

Catches (M/T)

12

16

517

354

WATSA = 22, DGN = 15, SET NET = 4, OMC = 1

23,573, (As at 2009)

Source: Fisheries Department – Axim

The major fishing season is between July & September with minor season occurring in November – January.  The common types of fish landed being sardinella and the tunas.  From the data it would be realized that the Municipality is one of major fish producing areas in the region.  Despite this potential, fishing activities are still based on traditional techniques.  There is therefore the need to introduce scientific innovations, besides the use of the outboard motor, to improve catch.  Marine fishing is seasonal.  During the major fishing season, economic activities in the Municipality, especially in Axim becomes very brisk with a lot of in migration into the capital.  However, during the off season period there is recession in economic activities and unemployment levels rise.  This also adversely affects the revenue base of the Municipal Assembly.

The seasonality in fishing and farming creates seasonal unemployment.  This would be addressed by creating opportunities for non-farming employment through promotion of Small/Medium Scale, Labour Intensive, Rural Enterprises.

There is one (1) Community Based Fisheries Management Committee (CBRMC) with these objectives among others:

Production of fish stocks

Enforcing fisheries bye-laws

This committee has to a very large extent helped to eliminate the use of inappropriate fishing methods in the Municipality.  Efforts would be made to encourage this industry to help improve and increase fish stock and catches as well as income levels.

Fish Farming

Inland fishing (fish ponds) is not well developed in the Municipality.  Most ponds are small in size usually 12m x 10.  It is estimated that there are 12 fish farmers with a total of 25 fishponds in the Municipality.  Efforts would be made to encourage this industry to help improve and increase fish stock and catches as well as income levels.

Non-Traditional Agriculture)

A few farmers in the Municipality are into some non-traditional agricultural production such as black pepper, ginger, miracle berry production and snail farming.  Timber species have been planted within the Gwira Area by CARE International and their local partners, Friends of the Nation.  These activities need to be encouraged and expanded to improve incomes of farmers.  Species such as bird’s eye chilies (mesiwa) have been found suitable for the area.  This needs to be developed as non-traditional agricultural product for export in collaboration with the Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC).

Post Harvest Infrastructure

Cassava is usually sold fresh with only about 20% processed into gari or cassava dough.  Coconut is processed into oil at few centers in the Municipality however the flesh is often not dried before processing.  Palm oil extraction is also under taken in the Municipality.  However, due to the inefficient technology used the oil recovery rate is quite low.  The unsatisfactory work environment and dependence on the traditional stoves pose enormous health challenges to the predominantly women oil processors.

A number of farmers have narrow ventilated cribs for drying and storing maize.  Generally, most farmers dry and store their maize through the traditional method of hanging in their kitchen.  The processing and storage facilities are therefore inefficient and inadequate.  The farmers either sell their produce at low prices during the harvest or suffer high post harvest losses.  There is a fish cold storage facility at Apewosika.  This however, has low capacity and lack adequate working capital.  A divested cold store at Axim owned by Axim Fisheries Cooperative Society has been refurbished with assistance from the Village Infrastructure Project (VIP).  However, due to the private Entrepreneur in order to reduce post harvest losses.  The Municipality also has a Small-Scale seafood processing facility at Axim exporting live exotic seafood at Europe.  There is neither a developed landing site nor fish handling or processing facility in the Municipality.  Efforts should be made for the provision of such facilities to help improve the income and employment levels in the Municipality.

Marketing

The major marketing centres are at Dominase and Kutukrom.  These are weekly markets.  Sheds at these markets are not adequate.  The Axim fish market has also no permanent sheds.  This further compound the problems of marketing agriculture produce.  Efforts would be geared towards the provision of permanent sheds at these centers and developing new markets to help raise the revenue base of the Municipal Assembly.

Periodic Market Linkage

There are three periodic markets in the Municipality located in Edelesuazo, Dominase and Kutukrom.  As an agrarian Municipality, goods traded in core mainly as agricultural produce come from the catchments areas and sometimes beyond.  Manufactured goods are largely imported from outside the Municipality especially from Takoradi and Elubo.

Land and Water Management

The issue of land acquisition, sharecropping, tree tenure, exploitation of NTFPs and land development still pose constraints to Agricultural Development in the Municipality Insecurity of land as the main asset of agricultural production and farmers benefiting from the resources on the land had led to devastation of large acres of forestlands.  The absence of land use management guideline has also led to low agricultural productivity, in certain major crops like coca due to the unsuitability of the soils in the area.  With the highest annual rainfall in the country, with many rivers and water bodies all year round, agriculture is still rain fed.  Irrigation schemes are totally absent.  Small – Scale irrigation systems and dugouts need to be considered as alternatives.

Financing

The existing financial institutions in Municipality, the Ghana Commercial Bank, Lower Pra, Nzema Manle and Ahantaman Rural Banks are located in the Municipal Capital.  Small – Scale agro-processors, Small-Scale Businesses, and farmers have limited access to credit facilities from these institutions.  The Municipal Assembly through its Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) also gives credit to farmers and Small Business.  However, this is limited and unreliable due to repayment problems.

The main source of funding agricultural activities is therefore from self, relatives and money lenders.  Interest rates from money lenders are high ranging from 50% to 100%

Identified Problems of Agriculture

Poor infrastructure (Road Network)

Inaccessibility to market

Drudgery due to head poterage

Inadequate Agricultural input distribution points

Low rate of lending to Agriculture

Insecurity of land and farmers benefiting from the resources on the land

Agriculture Extension Linkage

Extension Officers are located at Axim, Nsein, Dadwen, Bamiankor, Kutukrom and Gwira Banso to service the Municipality.  Three Municipal Development Officers (MDO) who coordinate reports from these Extension Officers, supervise them.  The overall jurisdiction is exercised by the Municipality Director of Agriculture.

Banking Facility

Banking facilities in the Municipality are Ghana Commercial Bank, Ahantaman Rural Bank, Lower Pra Rural Bank as well as Nzema Manle Rural Bank.  The common feature with these banks is that, they are all located in the southern portions of the Municipality which further exacerbate the located inequalities and socio-economic disparities in the Municipality.

Special Projects

Project Name Objective Funding Agency
CODAPEC To increase cocoa yields through pest and disease control Ghana Cocoa Board
Block farming To increase domestic food production Government of Ghana
Local Poultry Improvement To increase meat and eggs through use of improved cocks to improve local stocks Government of Ghana
Special pig project To support flood victims in the form of credit in king Government of Ghana

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