Wassa Amenfi West District located in the middle part of the Western Region of the country. It is bounded to the west by Sefwi Wiaso and Aowin Suaman districts, to the south by Jomoro and Ellembele, to the south east by Prestea- Huni Valley and to the north by Bibiani-Anwiasi-Bekwai and to north-east by Wassa Amenfi East. It lies between latitude 5o 30’ and 6o 15’N and longitude 1o 45 W and 2o 11’W. It has a total land area of 3,464.61 Square kilometers and made up of over 250 communities.
Topography and Drainage:
The topography is generally undulating with summit averaging 153 meter s (500ft). There is a good network of rivers and streams and notable among them are Tano and Anokobra rivers. The former serves as the boundary between Amenfi West and Awowin Suaman district, while the latter also serves as the boundary between Amenfi West and Amenfi East.The rivers serve as sources of water for irrigation purposes especially for vegetable farmers in the dry season. These rivers recede considerably during the dry season. Thus, many enclaves in the district suffer acute water shortage during the dry season.
The district falls within the wettest parts of the country. Average annual rainfall tapers off from 173mm at the south to 140mm at the north. There are two main rainfall regimes: March to July and September to early December. To dry spells separate them: December to February and in terms of range and intensity.
Temperatures are generally high ranging from 24-29o (75 F -83 F). Maximum temperatures occur in March and coolest month is August.
District Agricultural Zones and Operational Areas:
The Wassa Amenfi West District is divided into four (4) agricultural zones. These are Samreboi, Manso Amenfi, Agona Amenfi and Asankrangwa. These zones are regrouped into 25 operational areas which are manned by Agricultural Extension Agents.
Types of Economic Crops Grown in the District:
The main economic crops grown in the district are Cocoa, Rubber, Oil Palm, Citrus and Kola. Cocoa alone constitutes about 80% of farmer income and scattered allover the district. Rubber constitutes about 12%α and is concentrates in Manso Amenfi zone and few communities around the Asankrangwa and Samreboi zones.
Oil Palm is the next main economic crop grown in the district and is found in Samreboi and Manso Amenfi zones. Citrus and Kola constitute about 1.5% and .5% repectively.
The interplay of heavy rainfall and soil and soil types find expression in the vegetation cover. The semi deciduous forest is found in the northern part while the tropical rainforest is to south where rainfall is heaviest. Between the two is the transitional zone. The district has forest reserves covering a total area of 64, 242.81 hectares. The table below shows the various forest reserves and their coverage area.
Forest reserves in Wassa Amenfi West District
|Name||Area (Ha)||Stool/Divisional Area|
|Mamire forest reserve||4,532.53||Achichire|
|Fure head water||16,943.89||Amuni|
|Fure river||15,823.00||Amuni/Msease nsuta|
|Totua forest reserve||6,354.60||Agona/breman|
Source: Forest Service Division, Asankrangwa.
Some trees and plants in the forest have high medicinal value. The forest also protects water bodies such as rivers Ankobra and Tano which also drain the district.
These six forest reserves cover a total of 64,242.81 hectares. The various forest in the district also provide the necessary natural habitat and congenial atmosphere for different species of animals such as antelopes, deer, elephants, birds squirrels, snail and a host of other forest animal species which provide the source of bush meat to not only inhabitants of the district but also those outside. The different species of animals also add to the beauty of the environment and as tourist attractions
The forests contain many timber species like sapele, odum, mahogany, wawa etc. Most are exploited to feed the two large expartriate wood processing firms’ samartex and SMS in Samreaboi and Manso Amenfi respectively. Some are exported mostly to European countries. A very small proportion feed the new indigenous wood processing concerns springing up lately. However, there are few illegal chain saw operations in the forest reserve which negatively affect the environment.
The Wassa Amenfi West District lies geologically within the Ghanaian shield area which consists of the lower Procterozoic volcanic and the flyschoid metasediments of the Birimain System. The District is associated with part of gold belt, namely Asankrangwa- Manso- Nkwanta which is associated with the Birimain rocks. The type also provides mineralization for Bauxite, Mangeanese, and lron-ore. The District has gold reserves which require extensive exploration to prove the mineral characteristics for economic exploitation. There are over ten (10) licensed exploration companies working in the district, they are various stages of gold exploration.
The main large rivers in the district namely the Tano and the Ankrobra, were main targets of gold dredging in the colonial era, depicted from their drainage system within the belt. Currently however, such a gold mining activity has since been outlawed from our national law pertaining to mineral and mining.
Illegal gold mining is intensive within all tributaries of River Tano and River Ankrobra in the communities. Significant among these communities are Agyakaa Manso, Sraha, Ayiem, Juabo Amoamang, Nkakaa, Hiawa, Breman, Oda Kotoamso and Gyedua.
Majority of land used in Wassa Amenfi West district is basically for agricultural purposes. It is projected that about 55% of the total land area is under agricultural cultivation. This involves crop, livestock and fisheries activates.
Major Agricultural Activities:
The DADU, Wassa Amenfi West carries out different agricultural activities in the area of crops, livestock fisheries, and agro-processing.
(1) Crop sub-Sector:
The crop sub-sector involves both cash and food crops. These are cocoa, oil palm, rubber, citrus, and Kola as cash crops. Plantain, cassava, yam cocoyam, maize and rice vegetables and cowpea are the main food crops.
Under the crop sub-sector the activities such as land preparation, planting, spraying of pesticides, lining and pegging, weeding, application of fertilizer, water management, pruning, shade management, group formation, harvesting storage, nursery management.
Coconut:-The district has a very high potential for coconut production. Yields are much higher than in the coastal belt but not cultivated on commercial basis.
(2) Livestock Sub-Sector :
Activities such as provision of housing, feed management, vaccination, castration, deworming and other prophylactic treatments are THE main agriculture activities under the livestock sub-sector.
Local poultry – Average is about 10 birds per household
For the improved poultry there are few people into commercial cockerel production especially found in Adjarkaa Manso and Asakrangwa. A lot of cockerels roam about on free range under cocoa farm s. Turkey, Guniea fowls and dusks can be found dotted in some households.
- Sheep : All over the district
The district has the potential for sheep production but on the average there are about 5 sheep per household.
- On the other hand average per household for goat in unrestricted areas is 2. Communities around the river Tano are restricted from rearing goats.
- Pigs: The average pigs per household is 2 and scattered all over the district but predominantly found in the following areas:-Manso Amenfi,Samrebi, Asankrangwa, Hiawa and Ankasie. The district has the potential for pig production because there is availability of local feeding materials.
Cattle: There are few kraals located at Manso Amenfi, Agona Amenfi Samreboi and Asankrangwa with a total population of about 210.
Pineapple is produced on commercial scale in Nkwanta, Nyanedikan, Baseke, Mumuni and Gravel yard. This is an area worth investing in processing to encourage the farmer to expand their farms.
Beekeeping is gaining popularity in the district because of relatively cheap materials for hive construction and ready market. It is currently one of the fastest sources of income for farmers. Beekeeping is concentrated in Samreboi, Asankrangwa, Manso Nkwanta, Oda Kotoamso and Breman
Grasscutter rearing is one of the sources of income for farmers around the forest reserves. Few farmers outside the reserves are also into its production.
(4) Black Pepper:
The district has the potential of black pepper production because it lies in the forest zone.
Benefits of processing facilities:
The continuous flow of rice mills with destonners serve the farming communities around Obing and Bonuama. These facilities provide the quality rice grains for customers. The rice bran is used to feed animals and also sold to other farmers outside the communities. The chaff is used as a medium for mushrooms production.
The oil palm mills produce refine oil which is supplied to schools involved in the School Feeding Production.
The refined palm oil is also supplied to consumers in the outside the district. The processed palm oil is also to manufacture local soaps eg. ‘Allata Soap’ in traditional homes.
Cassava is processed into Gari which is supplied to institutions and the general public. The peels are used to feed the ruminants.
The district has five (5) major and six (6) minor marketing centers. The main agricultural produce are cereals, legumes, roots and tuber, plantain and vegetables. The major marketing centers are Asankragwa, Manso Amenfi, Samreboi and Agona Amenfi and Mumuni Camp whilst the minor ones are Wassa Dunkwa,, Agyakaa Manso, Sompre, Cudjoekrom, Anakun and Benda Nkwanta.
Generally there are fluctuations in marketing of agriculture commodities. Cereals are normally available in large quantities from August –December because that main harvesting period. On the other hand cereals are scares in the market between April-June which is the planting growing period.
Plantain marketing in the district is very high during the last quarter of the year and very low from March-May because of dry season in January –March as the Easter rainstorms destroy the crop. Root and tubers: apart from cassava which is available all year round, other roots and tubers like yam, cocoyam and taro are available during the latter part of the year.
Vegetables are essential crops which enjoy good package and therefore its production and marketing occurs all year round; however the peak season is during third and last quarter of the year. They are however very scares during the second quarter (April-June).
Special Agricultural Projects:
There are two on going in the district.
These are Inland Valley Rice Development Project (IVRDP) and Small Scale irrigation. The district has the potential of expanding the valley bottom rice technology because of the stretch of valleys in the districts.
Currently, one site (valley) has been developed at Obing with a total of 1.3 ha. The small scale irrigation project at Moseaso has a total acreage of 46.8 ha.
The NGOs activities are increasing considerably in the district. Currently there are 6 NGOs such as IUCN, GLORY, GTZ, Codesult and MARS Incorporated.
Generally, they are playing particular role in agriculture by assisting farmers in various ways including their access to agricultural technologies. NGOs activities regarding to Wassa Amenfi West District are mostly concentrated on areas of HIV/AIDs, farmer Field Schools, Child labour and non-traditional activities such as Beekeeping, grasscutter production and cockerel’s production.
Farmer Based Organization (FBO)
The district has sought to use farmer based organization as a strategy to reach more farmers with extension messages and best farming practices. Currently the total number of functioning FBOs is eight
The district abounds in natural resources and produces cocoa and rubber and oil palm and a wide range of foods.
Wassa Amenfi West is a one of the high cocoa producing districts. This implies that a lot of cocoa pod husk is generated and being wasted. This sector is worth investing in to produce livestock feed and potash for soap making.
Trade in agro-chemicals and spraying equipment is lucrative to boost the cocoa industry. The district has valley which can be developed to produce rice on large scale.
Pineapples are produced in large quantities which can also be processed into fruit juice for local consumption.
The two notable rivers that is Tano and Ankobra have the potential to be used as source of drinking water, irrigation for vegetable production. The rivers have the potential for capture fishing and cage fish rearing.
The district has the potential in aquaculture since already established ponds are producing creditably.