INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND.
Agona East District was curved out of the Agona Municipality, in the year, 2006. The District has a population of about 85,339; from the 2000 national population census, of which 49% are male and 51% are female. The District is among seventeen districts in the Central Region of Ghana. This forms about 5-6% of that of the Central Region. The District is in the Central Region. It is located within Latitude 50 30′, 50 50′ N and Longitude 00 35′ and 00 55′ W. The District has a total land size of 667 Square Kilometers. The District has the following neighbours; Birim Central Municipal to the North and North West, West Akim Municipal to the North East; Agona West Municipal to the West; Awutu – Senya District to the East; Gomoa East District, to the South East. The Agona East District Agricultural Development Unit (DADU) was established in 2009 after the district had been curved out from the Agona Municipal Agriculture development Unit (MADU). In 2010, a substantial District Director was posted in to the District to oversee the development of the District. At the moment, the district is divided into eleven operational areas. Of the eleven, ten (10) are operational and have highly experienced field officers taking charge of those operational areas. The District capital, Agona Nsaba is approximately thirty – five kilometers north of Winneba.
RELIEF, DRAINAGE AND TOPOGRAPHY
The nature of the land surface (Topography) ranges from undulating to high grounds. The district has low grounds with altitudes of 75meters and high grounds with altitude of 350 meters above sea levels. The district has isolated hillocks which are made of granite rocks. There are also mushy and wet lands which are usually the low lands. The district has two main rivers; i.e. Akora and Ayensu. This two main rivers have small rivers such as; Krufa, Samsum, Dutch, Nkumkum and Oboyambo forming tributaries. There are other seasonal water bodies such as Afona, Duakwateaa, Zongomu and Ameang. These water bodies are very useful for the construction of small scale dams for irrigation which could facilitate all year round crop productions
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
The District has two main cropping seasons, i.e. A bi – modal rainfall pattern. The peak periods of rains ranges from the late May to early July and August to October annually. Annually rainfall figures ranges between 1000mm – 1400mm per annum. During this period, there is usually high humidity and cloudy skies with sunny days, such conditions are usually characteristics of the major rainy season. The dry season commences from mid December to early April annually. Such periods are usually characterized with high day temperatures and low day humidity. Maximum day temperatures could reach as high as 33.80 and night temperatures could be as low as 20.90 , in the minor season and in the major seasons, the maximum day temperatures could reach as high as 29.40 , during such periods, however, night temperatures could reach and average of 23.80. Most arable lands are cropped in the major seasons. The minor seasons are very good periods for vegetable cultivations.
SOIL AND VEGETATION
The district is found in between the moist tropical and semi – deciduous forest zone. The District is vest in tree and cash crops. The vegetation covers of the district ranges from shrubs and grass to trees, stretching from the Southern to the Northern ends of the District, and from the East to the West. The major soil types in the District are the forest Ochrosols, Oxysol integrates, Tropical black earth, and forest lithosols. The soils are high rich in nutrients and soil mineral components. These soil types are slightly acidic to alkaline with a ph ranges of 6 – 9, across the District. Due to the vegetation cover, there is minimal water erosion in the District.
Most of the indigenes are farmers. The total area under cultivation is 166,750 (HA). It has a land bank of about 207,350 Ha out of 50,200 Ha is forest reserve. The main food crops cultivated are maize, cassava, plantain and cocoyam. Vegetables such as cabbage, cucumber, pepper, garden eggs, tomatoes, okra are produced. Tree crops such as Cocoa, Coconut, Oil palm, Citrus, are produced exclusively in the district. Cultivation of Sweet pepper and water melons are progressing steadily. Production of pineapples and rice has begun springing up. The District has potentials to increase in the production of these crops.
More of SMEs, Agro –businesses and Agro – processing businesses are springing up. Agro – chemical retailers are gradually springing up. Farmers are looking into most cash crops and export crops such as pineapples. More farmers are forming groups and are dealing with more financial institutions such as Pro –credit. There are NGOs entering into animal rearing in the District. New NGOs could seek collaboration with the District Directorate of Agriculture to explore opportunities.
The District Directorate of Agricultural is collaborating with other institutions, such as financial institutions and NGOs to establish more agro – business and agro- processing sectors. These are aimed at expanding the economy of the District, increase income, create jobs, ensure food security and enhance the standard of living. The above and more can be achieved due to the availability of high technical officers who provide exclusive extension activities.
There are more investment opportunities in the District in enterprises such as agro – processing and Agro – chemical distributions. Ventures such as poultry and pig production have high comparative advantages. The nontraditional sector such as apiculture, aquaculture, snail farming and afforestation woodlot establishment possess high comparative advantages in the District. The land tenure system is very flexible for investment.
DETAILED INFORMATION ON MAJOR CROPS PRODUCTION
The crop production sector possesses tremendous areas for investment which would rack in high returns. Raw materials such as maize, cassava, sugar cane, oil palm, citrus and Copra / Coconut are more available for processing. Farmers could be supported with irrigation facilities to facilitate all year round production of crops and vegetables for the local market and export.
There are avenues for export crops such as banana, pineapple, chili pepper and ginger in the District.
PRODUCTION FIGURES OF MAJOR CROPS
|NO||MAJOR CROP||AREA UNDER CULTIVATION (Ha)||ACTUAL YIELD (MT/Ha)||
DETAILED INFORMATION ON MAJOR LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION
Animal rearing is very much progressive in the District.
|NO||MAJOR LIVESTOCK||NUMBER OF ANIMALS||NUMBER OF FARMS / HOUSEHOLDS|
NON TRADITIONAL COMMODITIES
|NO||COMMODITY||NUMBER||NUMBER OF FARMS / HOUSEHOLDS|
|5||SWEET PEPPER||63 ha||5|
|6||VOACANGA AFRICANA||3 ha||2|
SUMMARY OF FIELD DEMONSTRATIONS
Agricultural is the mainstay of the people. About 80-90% of the district total population involved directly or indirectly on agriculture of which female are the majority. Arable farming is predominantly agricultural activity while animal husbandry or livestock farming is practiced marginally.
The female farmers in Agona East District make up to 50% of the farmer and agro- processing work force in the district. These hard working female groups and individuals are into crop and livestock production. Crops such as maize, cassava, plantain, citrus and vegetables like cabbage, pepper, okro, tomatoes and others are mostly cultivated in the district.
INFORMATION ON ALL SPECIAL PROJECTS IN THE DISTRICT.
1. WEST AFICA AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY PROGRAMME (WAAPP)
The Agona East District Agriculture Development Unit was selected in the central region to benefit from the pilot programme of the West Africa Agriculture productivity programme (WAAPP). The project is aimed at multiplying cassava planting materials and demonstrating high yielding to farmers. The programme started on the 1st October, 2010. A one (1) acre plot was cultivated with planting materials from Mampong. The varieties planted on the plots are Tek Bankye and Bankye hemaa at Deborase, in the Agona East District. Field days on planting, fertilizer application, fire belt construction, disease and pest control have been organized so far on the plot.
2. THE ROOT AND TUBER IMPROVEMENT AND MARKETING PROGRAMME (RTIMP)
The root and tuber improvement and marketing programme is still ongoing in the district. Five secondary multiplication sites have been established. The cassava variety is “Bankyi Hemaa”. The project is aimed at multiplying cassava planting materials to be distributed to farmers. All the farms are in their seventh month.
3. THE EXPORT MARKETIMG AND QUALITY ASSESSMENT PROJECT (EMQAP)
The project is aimed at producing quality horticultural crops such as Pineapple, Chili Peppers, Cassava, Vegetables and other fruit crops, for domestic and international markets. More pineapple, pepper and cassava farms are being established. DADU is looking forward to encourage more farmers to establishing banana and other tree crops.
4. THE BLOCK FARM PROGRAMME
The 2011 major season block farm programme is one of the major agricultural programmes of the district. This programme is aimed at enhancing food security, income generation and job creation as in line with the FASDEP II objectives.
5. THE COCKEREL PROJECT
The cockerel project was started in December 2010 is progressing in the district. The good breeds of cockerels are expected to improve the local fowl breed. The project is aimed at job creation and food security and income generation of farmers which is in line with the Food and Agricultural Sector Development Programme (FASDEP II).
6. THE PIGGERY PROJECT
This project is one of government’s interventions of job creation, income generation and food security by beneficiary farmers. The project is progressing steadily and beneficiary farmers are taking good care of the pigs even though there are challenges with
Feeding and husbandry practices in some farms.
At the moment there are no major market centres in the district, however, the district can boast of small markets in some communities like Duakwa, Nsaba, Kwanyako and Mankrong Junction. However, these markets have potentials for expansion.