Physical and Natural Environment
Location and Size:
- The Upper East Region is located at Lat. 10o15’ and 10o10’N, Long. 0o and 1o4’W
- It is bounded: North by Republic of Burkina Faso, South by Northern Region and East and West by Republic of Togo and Upper West Region respectively.
- Area – 8,842km2 (3.7% of Ghana)
- Population Density – 103 persons/km2
Topography and Drainage
It is predominantly undulating, with slopes less than 1%. The region is mainly gentle slopes ranging from 1% to 5% slopes; however, about 70% of it is subject to moderate to severe sheet and gully erosion.
Erosion is a problem. Valley areas have soils ranging from sandy candy loams to salty clays with higher natural fertility but are more difficult to till and are prone to seasonal water logging and floods. Drainage is mainly by the White and Red Volta and Sissili Rivers (Regional Coordinating Unit, 2003).
Geology and Soil
The soils have predominantly light textured surface horizons in which sandy loams and loams with very poor organic matter content. Lower soil horizons have slightly heavier textures varying from coarse sandy loams to clays. Heavier textured soils occur in many valley bottoms which are suitable for rice cultivation. Many soils contain abundant coarse material either gravel and stone, or concretionary materials which affect their physical properties, particularly their water holding capacity.
The region has an average rainfall of 921mm. It ranges between 645mm and 1250mm
Rainfall distribution is unimodal which gives a single 5 to 6 months growing season between April/May and September/October and 6 to 7 long dry seasons from October to April. This period is associated with dry harmattan winds with low humidity and temperatures making the area suitable for the growing of horticultural crops like tomatoes pepper onions, watermelons, okro and other leafy vegetables.
Average Rainfall Figures for the Upper East Region 2002-2008
Temperature and Relative Humidity The region is hot and dry. Annual average temperatures recorded in the Upper East Region, specifically at Navrongo in the dry season is 15o (Dec. to Feb.) at minimum limits and highest at 45o (March to April). The relative Humidity ranges between 30% and 80% in the dry and wet seasons respectively.
The long dry season from October to April is associated with dry harmattan winds with low humidity and low night temperatures making the area suitable for the growing of horticultural crops like tomatoes pepper onions, watermelons, okro and other leafy vegetables under irrigation.
Vegetation and Agro-ecological zones
The natural vegetation is that of the savannah woodland characterized by short scattered drought-resistant trees and grass that gets burnt by bushfire or scorched by the sun during the long dry season. Human interference with ecology is significant, resulting in near semi-arid conditions.
The vegetation is within the Guinea-Savannah zone and a small area north of Bawku having Sudan-Savannah vegetation.
|Agro-ecologicalZone||Mean annualRain (mm)||Growing Period (Days)|
|Guinea Savannah Sudan Savannah||1,1001,000||150 -180120 – 160|
Source: Meteorological Services Department, Accra.
The most common economic trees are the sheanut, dawadawa, boabab and acacia.
The region’s soil is “upland soil” mainly developed from granite rocks. It is shallow and low in soil fertility, weak with low organic matter content, and predominantly coarse textured.
It is marked by declining soil fertility and high level of environmental and land degradation (bush fires, Fragmented land, deforestation for farming, urbanization, continues cropping and over grazing). The fertility of the soils is marked by properties as such;
- Soil Ph- 5.1-6.8
- % Organic Matter →1.1 ─ 2.5
- % Total Nitrogen →0.06 ─ 0.14
- Available Phosphorus →1.75 ─ 14.75(mg/kg soil)
- Available Calcium → 43.5 ─ 151.5(mg/kg soil)
Demographics with Maps
Age and Sex Distribution of the Population
Population – 993,317 (1.19 Growth Rate 2000) which is less than one twentieth (4.9%) of the national population.
The inter censual growth rate of 1.1 per cent per annum is slightly below one-half the national growth rate of 2.7 per cent and is the lowest regional growth rate recorded. The region’s population density of 104.1 persons per square kilometer is higher than the national density of 79.3 persons per square kilometer and ranks fifth in the country.
Sex and Rural-Urban Distribution of the Population
The population is primarily rural (84.3%) and scattered in dispersed settlements. With only 15.7 per cent of the population living in urban areas, the region is the least urbanized in the country.
The rural population in 1984 was 87.1% and 84.3% in 2000, thus, a 2.8% reduction in the years between 1984 and 2000.
The slight increase in the urban share of the population has been due mainly to increase in population of existing urban centres. Only 2 towns, Garu and Pusiga have grown from rural to urban localities since 1984. Garu increased from 3,104 in 1984 to 5,057 in 2000, while Pusiga grew from 1,125 to 6,823 over the same period. The largest growth in urban proportion occurred in Bawku (34,074 to 51,379) and Bolgatanga (32,495 to 49,162). Some urban centres however decreased in population (e.g., Navrongo, Paga).
The age structure for the sexes shows that in the region, there are more females than males. This, however, varies by age. The proportion of males aged 0-19 years (56.3%) is higher than that for females (49.0%). Between ages 20 and 64 years, there is a higher proportion of females (45.1%) than males (36.8%), while those 65 years and older are 6.8 per cent males compared to 5.9 per cent females. In the female reproductive age group of 15-49 years, there is an overall excess of females (44.3%) over males (39.2%) of about 13.0 percent.
The region has a large and youthful labour force, which, if properly managed, can become a great economic asset. About 56 per cent (55.7 percent) of the labour force is below 35 years.
In the region, the labour force aged 15-34 years shrank slightly from 56.4 per cent of the total labour force in 1984 to 55.7 per cent in 2000, while those aged 35-64 increased marginally.
These changes in the age structure of the labour force need to be taken into account in formulating short/medium and long-term policies and planned programmes.
Agriculture is predominantly on a smallholder basis in Ghana. About 90% of farm holdings are less than 2 hectares in size, and to a greater extent, in rice and maize. Main system of farming is traditional. The hoe and cutlass are the main farming tools. There is little mechanized farming, but bullock farming is practiced in some parts of the region. Agricultural production varies with the amount and distribution of rainfall and nature of soil. Most food crop farms are intercropped. Mono cropping is mostly associated with larger-scale commercial farms as it is currently being done under the block farms.
Agriculture remains the dominant economic activity employing 80% of the population. Due to this dependency on agriculture, the region was the poorest of Ghana’s ten regions but has moved up to the 9th position, largely due to improvement in the performance of agriculture. Agriculture, hunting, mining and forestry are the main economic activities in the region.
Major Crop Commodities
The main produce are millet, guinea-corn, maize, groundnut, beans, sorghum and dry season tomatoes and onions.
Naturally the region is blessed to have soils and general environment suitable for crops such as:
Cereals: Sorghum, Millet, Maize and Rice
Legumes: Groundnuts, Cowpea, Soybean and Bambarra beans
Fibers: Kenaf, Cotton and Kapok
Roots & Tubers: Sweet Potato and Frafra Potato
Vegetables: Okro, Pepper and Leafy Vegetables
Non Traditional Export Crops: Sesame, Paprika, Cashew, Mangoes, Sheanuts.
Irrigated Crops: Tomato, Onion, Water/Sweet Melon, Rice, Okro, Pepper and Maize
A Cropping Calendar for the Region Using 51yrs Rainfall pattern from Navrongo
Cropped Area during the Period 2000-2010
|Area Crop In Hectares(Ha)|
Yield figures during the Period 2000-2010
|YEARCROPS||Yield in Tons Per Hectare(T/Ha)|
Production figures from 2000 – 2010
Potential Areas of Production:
Rainfed Rice Production: Valley bottoms at (Sumbrungu, Kalbeo, Nyariga) in Bolga Municipality, (Pwalugu, Winkogo, Pusu-Namoogo) in TalensiNabdam, (Wiesi, Gbedembilisi, Fumbisi) in the Builsa District, Kologo -Naga, Tono) in the KassenaNankana Districts, (Nafkolga, Sakpari, Tamde) in Bawku Municipality (Tamne in GaruTempane and (Tillie, Widnaba&Lamboya) in the Bawku West District.
Investment into grain production, soya oil extraction and cake production for human and livestock export substitution.
The international market for Sesame is inexhaustible but marketing outlet and investment to promote the production.
Irrigated Crop Production
Maize: Three cropping per year using pumps between February and July.
Irrigated Rice: Rice production at Tono and Vea dam-sites and pump irrigation.
There are two main irrigation projects, the Vea Project in Bolgatanga covering 850 hectares and the Tono Project in Navrongo covering 2,490 hectares. Altogether they provide employment to about 6,000 small-scale farmers. Other water-retaining structures (dams and dugouts) provide water for both domestic and agricultural purposes.
Vegetables: Fresh/ Dried Onion, Chilly Pepper, Water and Sweet Melons for Local/ Export markets potential
Achievements in the Irrigation Subsector in the Region
Table 5: Yearly Production Figures and Beneficiary by Crop of Dry Season 2nd Cropping Irrigation Scheme
Prospects and Potentials of Agricultural Facilities in the Region
|Districts||Large Scale Dams||Small Scale Dams||Total No of Dams||Area (Hectares)|
|District Assembles &NGOS||LAC 1||LAC II|
Number of Irrigated Pumps by Districts in the Upper East Region as at 2008.
|Districts||Pumps Delivered By MOFA||Pumps own By Individual Farmers||NGOs/Other Organization|
|TIPCEE||Techno serve||FBOs||District Assembly||Total|
Increased Used of Water Pumps from 2004 – 2008.
|DISTRICTS / YEARS||2004||2005||2006||2007||2008|
Natural Water bodies, rehabilitated dams and fish ponds at Tono/ Vea can be used for technologies on integrated aquaculture such as cage culture.
Ruminants:Cattle, Sheep, Goats
The region has registered 240 farmers to benefit 2,400 small ruminants as part of the credit in kind programme under the Livestock Development Project (LDP) being implemented in the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA). The first batch of 600 animals have been distributed
Poultry:guinea fowl, fowls, ducks, turkeys
Local Chicken/Guinea Fowl Production: Production of indigenous chicken especially guinea fowl can be enhanced with provision of small scale incubators to replace natural brooding and cold chain system can boost processing and transport to southern markets
Swine: The region is culturally favoured for the rearing of swine. Most of the indigenous households keep swine. The region currently supplies the local and southern markets for slaughter.
Others (dogs, donkeys): These are traditional animals reared and used for social and domestic purposes. The development of this sub-sector will go a long way to improve on rural incomes, intermediate rural transport and traction for land preparation.
AGRICULTURAL SECTOR PROJECTS IN THE REGION
Towards attaining the above listed objectives of the Ministry, a number of projects have been put in place (regional and national) in realizing these objectives. They include;
Livestock Development Project
Rice Sector Support Project
AGRICULTURAL SECTOR PROGRAMMES & INITIATIVES IN THE REGION
Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP)
National Fertilizer Subsidy Programme
FAO Dry Season Support Programme/Initiative
Northern Rural Growth Programme
Village Mango Programme
Youth in Agriculture Block farms Programme
AGRICULTURAL POTENTIALS FOR INDUSTRY
Tomato: Tomato processing remains the chief bottleneck to increased tomato production in the region partly due to Northern Star Tomato Company Limited (NSTC Ltd) not operational. Currently, proposals are being prepared for possible financial consideration.
Meat Processing: Bolgatanga Meat Factory is currently under divestiture and therefore needs an investment support as has been done to the Pwalugu Tomato Factory now Northern Star Tomato Company Limited
Vegetable oil: Local industries for vegetable oil extraction such as sheabutter, groundnut, and soybean are on small scale with low capital.
Rice: Rice processing for value addition can contribute to improved storage or shelve life, marketing, incomes and nutrition in the region and the country as whole. Quality rice processing will revamp the subsector processing centres like Nasia Rice in Tamale, ICOUR in Upper East, Single Mothers Association, Trade Aid Integrated and many other centres, thus reducing the revenue spent on importation. This will consequently lead to a boost in the Block Rice Farms and create employment for the rural population
Fruit: Watermelon processing for value addition has a potential for increasing incomes of farm families and improving nutritional status in the region and the country as whole.
Tree Crop: Shea nut tree, the cocoa of the region currently is receiving a lot of attention.