Amansie Central District is one of the 27 Administrative Districts in the Ashanti Region. It was
carved from the then Amansie East District in 2004. It has about 220 communities or settlements with estimated population of about 110,026 people. Jacobu is the district capital.
The district is situated in the forest belt of Ashanti Region. It is bounded by Obuasi Municipality, Bekwai Municipality, Amansie West, Adansi North, Adansi South and Upper Denkyira districts. The district can be found within Latitudes 6°00 N and 6°30 N and Longitudes 1°00W and 2°00W. The total area is 710 square kilometres.
The district experiences bi – modal rainfall distribution with the major season falling between March and July, whilst the minor season is between September and November. This is separated by short cool dry season in August and a relatively long dry season from November to March. The annual amount of rainfall ranges between 1500mm and 1800mm with mean relative humidity of about 70 percent. Temperature ranges between 20°C and 32°C with mean at 28°C.
The vegetation in the district is semi-equatorial forest. Some of the tree species found in the area include Odum, Wawa, Edinam, Mahogany and Sapele. There are two main forest reserves in the district and these are Oda and Subin.
Relief and Drainage
The district is located within the forest plateau region with an average height of about 150m above sea level. Topographically, the area is relatively flat with occasional undulating upland of 240m to 300m above sea level around areas such as Numereso, Apitisu, Tweapease and Abuakwaa.
There are two main rivers in the District. These are Oda and Offin which are perennial. There are other minor rivers, some of which flow throughout the year.
SOIL AND AGRICULTURAL LAND USE
The district has 5 main soil types. These are:
Bekwai – Oda,
Birim-Awaham/Chichiwere compound associations.
The Bekwai-Oda Compound Association
These soils are developed over lower Birimian rocks which are moderately drained and are good for the cultivation of food crops such as maize, cassava, cocoyam, plantain and banana. Low-land and valley bottom soils are also recommended for vegetables. These soils are found around Tweapease, Manfo, Odahu, Mile 14 and 9, Jacobu and Patase.
Mim-Oda Compound Association
These soils are developed over lower Birimian rocks, which are well drained and suitable for tree crops such as cocoa, coffee, oil palm, avocado pear and citrus. These soils are found in the southern part of the district around Subima, Mile 14, Apitisu and Fenaso.
Asikuma-Atewa-Ansum/Oda Compound Association
These soils are developed over upper Birimian rocks. They are well drained and suitable for tree crops such as cocoa, coffee, oil palm, avocado pear, citrus and forestry. These soils are found around Suhyenso, Wrowroso and Aboo.
Kumasi-Asuansi/Nsuta-Offin Compound Association
These are developed over Cape Coast granite rocks, which are well drained. They are suitable for the cultivation of tree crops such as cocoa, coffee, oil palm, avocado pear and citrus, as well as food crops such as maize, cassava, cocoyam, and plantain. The lowland and valley bottom soils are suitable for rice, sugar cane and vegetables. These soils are found around Akrofrom, Begroase and Amponya.
Birim-Awaham/Chichiwere Compound Association
These soils are developed over alluvial deposits, which are very deep, loose and excessively drained. They are suitable for the cultivation of rice, sugar cane and vegetables. They are found around Kobro, Wromanso and Nkyensendaho.
Lands are owned by chiefs and family heads who hold in trust on behalf of subjects and family members respectively. Land ownership has rendered land fragmented and has made commercial farming very difficult. This has contributed immensely to smaller farm sizes per farmer in the district.
The district has large deposits of gold. This has led to proliferation of large and small scale mining activities. Anglo Gold Ashanti is the leading mining company in the district. Illegal mining activities such as “galamsey” operations are highly patronized by the youth.
Population Sizes and Growth Rates
The current population of the district is estimated at 110,026 people based on the 3% growth rate with 81871 as base population in the year 2000 (Table 1).
Table 1: Population sizes and growth rates
|Amansie Central District||81,871||110,026||3.0|
Sources: 2000 National Population and Housing Census
The land area is 710 sq km. With the current estimated population of 110,026 people the population density may be estimated at 155 persons/sq km. This figure is relatively high. Being an agrarian economy, the high population density has many constraints, especially on land resource utilization. This affects agriculture in terms of reduced average farm size per head in the district.
The average household size is estimated at 5.5 persons which is higher than the national average of 5.2 persons. This implies each household has a larger number of people to feed, clothe and house.
According to the 2000 Population and Housing Census, the district has an economically active population of 47.6% as against 52.4% of inactive population. Out of the economically active population (47.6%) about 32.3% are employed, implying that the employed have many dependants to feed, clothe and house.
Agriculture employs 80% of the population followed by Service with 11 %.( Table 2).
Table 2: Occupational Distribution
For a sustained development of the district, there is the need to reduce dependency on primary production and encourage value addition to the numerous agricultural raw materials. This calls for promotion of small and medium scale processing facilities.
Migration is a major feature of the population in the district. Since the economy is mainly agrarian most of the youth who do not want to engage in agriculture move out of the district to search for more lucrative jobs in either Obuasi or Kumasi.
Traditional Set Up
Traditionally communities are ruled by local chiefs supported by their elders including family heads. Queen mothers also play a major role in decision making in the communities. Indeed they are the king makers.
All chiefs owe allegiance to the Paramount Chief of Bekwai. The highest traditional authority in the district is the Bekwai Traditional Council headed by the Omanhene of Bekwai/Ashanti.
The natives who are Ashantis form the major ethnic group with the influx of other minor ethnic groups due to farming, ‘galamsey’ activities and other secular jobs.
Attitude and Practices
The people are generally friendly and sociable. They are sensitive to issues and policies of the government and fully participate in public fora, funerals, festivals and other social activities.
Culture and Development
Generally, the cultural practices create conducive atmosphere for development and private sector participation. The fact that there is only one dominant ethnic group indicates oneness, understanding and peace among the people giving no room for ethnic conflict. The friendly and sociable attitudes of the people are positive attributes that give warm welcome to strangers. Taboo days give time for the people to undertake communal work.
MAJOR AREAS OF OPERATION
The operations of the Directorate cover three (3) major areas, and these are crops, livestock and fisheries.
Crop-farmers in the District cultivate tree crops, food crops and vegetables.
Among the tree crops, the major ones are cocoa, citrus and oil palm. Cocoa alone covers about 50-60% of the total arable land area in the district. Oil palm plantations are also wide-spread in the District, giving rise to the establishment of many small scale processing mills. Citrus is also gradually gaining grounds in the district.
Major food crops grown in the district are cassava, plantain, maize, rice and yam. Among the food crops cassava and maize are grown extensively. Large scale production of food crops is non existent probably due mainly to fragmented nature of land as a result of ownership. Average food crop farmland per farmer is 1 acre. The consequence of this situation is low production and hence low income per farmer.
Vegetable production is mostly patronised by the youth. The most popular ones are pepper, garden eggs, and tomatoes. Average farm size per farmer is 1.5 acres. These are grown intensively in the minor season. However, farmers whose lands are along the banks of rivers Oda and Offin cultivate in the dry season as well, using pumping machines to draw water from these rivers to irrigate the crops.
Small ruminants (sheep and goats) are the most important among livestock reared in the district. These are reared on free range. Small ruminant population ranges from 18,000 to 20,000. Cattle and pigs are reared in areas such as Adinkra, Aketekyieso, Mile 9 and Fiankoma. Cattle are reared semi-intensive whilst pigs are reared both intensive and extensive. There are two medium scale piggeries at Adinkra camp and Aboo with a total population of 485 pigs.
Local birds are reared by each household. Average number per household is 5. Major mortality factor is Newcastle disease. There are three (3) commercial poultry farms in the district. These are Alhaji Iddi farms, Dina farms and Jerusalem Agricultural Investment Limited at Asikasu, Afoako and Homase respectively.
Fish farming is concentrated in areas around Tweapease and Kankanfrase. At Adubirem, a mine-pit has been converted into fish pond. The surface area is about one hectare. Smaller ponds can also be found at Homase and Asikasu. The major fish type is tilapia.
Other projects and programmes
Activities of the District Agricultural Development Unit (DADU) also covers projects and programmes such as Cocoa Diseases and Pests Control (CODAPEC), Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP), Unleashing the Power of Cassava in Africa (UPoCA) and Sustainable Tree Crop Project (STCP).
Under this project an average of 446 youth are employed yearly from August to December. It is therefore a major source of employment for the youth. Between 60,000 – 80,000 hectares of cocoa farms are sprayed yearly.
The project is aimed at encouraging farmers to cultivate improved cassava to enhance high yields, high income and food security. Improved cassava seed farms established in various locations in the district are sources of improved cassava planting materials that are supplied to farmers.
The objective of this programme is to train farmers in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach in cocoa production in order to improve yields and livelihood of cocoa farmers. Training methodology is the Farmer Field School (FFS) concept. Improved planting materials are supplied to farmers to rehabilitate their old farms or establish new ones..
Cocoa Hi-tech Trials
Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), in collaboration with the Directorate, is conducting fertilizer and insecticide trials on cocoa in the district. The programme is ongoing. The fertilizer under trial is Cocoa Master whilst insecticides are Aceta Star and Rimon-Star.
The established secondary multiplication fields are periodically coppiced and distributed to farmers in the district.
National Cockerel Project
The project was started in the latter part of 2010. The district has since taken delivery of 600 (8 weeks old) birds from Regional Agricultural Development Unit (RADU) and supplied to 30 farmers at relatively lower price. It is one of the most patronised projects by farmers in the district
Fertilizer Subsidy Programme
The programme is Government’s intervention aimed at reducing cost of fertilizers and making them more affordable and accessible to farmers. Since its inception about 3000 bags of fertilizers have been made available to farmers in the district and the patronage is high. Hitherto, very few farmers applied fertilizers on their crops.