Sissala West


The Sissala West District, in the Upper West Region, is located in the North Eastern part of Ghana. It lies approximately between Longitude 2:13W to 2.36W and Latitude 10:00N to Latitude 11:N. It has Gwollu as its capital. The district has a total land area of 41,128.9 89km. It shares boundary with Republic of Burkina Faso to the North, Sissala East to the South- East, Lambusie – Kani to the West and Wa East District to the South.

Population size and density

The total population of the district is 44,440; with a population density of 13 persons per square Kilometer, which is by far lower than the Regional population density of 31.2 per square kilometer. The average population growth rate is about 1.7%, as against 2.7% for national.


The district has two major indigenous tribes, namely the Sissalas and the Dagaaba. There are however, relatively smaller tribes dotted all over the district. There are three (3) types of religious groupings in the district namely; the Muslims, Christians and traditional worshipers. The only festival celebrated in the district is the Kukur Baghr by the pepple of Fielmuo.

Vegetation, climate and weather

The Sissala West District is located in the Guinea Savanna belt. This vegetation consists of grass with scatter drought resistant trees such as the shea, the baobab, dawadawa and neem trees. The heterogeneous collection of trees provides all domestic requirements for fuel wood and charcoal, construction of houses cattle kraals and fencing of gardens, especially for the dry season vegetable production. The principal natural resource of the District include among others a fertile land conducive for livestock rearing and crop production, as the shorter shrubs and grass provide fodder for livestock. The soils types are sandy loams and clay loams along the valleys.

The climate of the Sissala West District is not much different from the rest of the three northern regions. The district has a uni-modal rain fall of five (5) months – from May to September and a long period of dry weather – from October to April. The annual average rainfall falls between 900mm and 1200mm. The dry season is characterized with cold and hazy harmatan weather conditions –from November February. This is followed by extreme hot weather condition which starts from March and lasts till the rains comes to stay ending of May.

Relief and drainage

The land forms of the District is low lying but gently undulating at altitudes ranging between 150m above sea level. However some parts average 600m above sea level. The main river that passes through the district kulpawn and its tributaries. The relatively low lying nature of the District couple with a number of streams imply that dams can be constructed along these rivers especially the major ones to supplement the water requirement of farmers especially during the dry season.

Geology and soils

The types of rock that underlie the district include the Birimian, granite and the basement complex. These rocks hold considerable amount of water, implying that boreholes and hand dug wells can easily be sunk to make water available for domestic and other purposes.

Land use

The land use in this district is mainly used for crop production, especially the faraway lands, whilst the lands near settlements are reserved for pasture for livestock. There also patches of forest reserves in the district. However, of late infrastural development such as schools and residential accommodation has started to compete with land use in the district.

The Natural Environment

The natural environment of the district is made up of mainly the Guinea Savanna vegetation which has evolved from climatic factors and modified substantially by human activities. Human activities, notably annual routine bush burning, inappropriate farming practices and indiscriminate felling of trees for fuel wood and charcoal as well as poor animal husbandry practices have led to loss of the vegetative cover in the district. These have resulted in loss of soil fertility and its adverse effects on crop cultivation. Again, the location of the district serves as an entry point to the Fulani herdsmen. Their activities have adversely affected the vegetation.

Realizing the effects that degrading the natural environment have on crop production, the quest for protecting the natural environment is gradually gaining ground in the district. Planting of economic trees is a manifestation of this.


The district economy is mainly agrarian. This makes agriculture related activities the predominant activity employing a greater proportion of the population. The people practice subsistence farming with only a few engaged in Commercial cotton farming. The main Crops are cereals such as millet, maize, sorghum, and rice. The rest are groundnut, cowpea, yam and cotton. Please find below the production trents:

Hectares of the major crops of Sissala West District 2010

District Maize Millet Sorghum Rice Yam G’nuts Cowpea Soya
Sissala west 8,120 4850 10910 360 2540 7540 9250 160

Source: Statistics, Research and Info. Directorate (SRID), Min. of Food & Agric. Jan, 2011.

Yields of Major crops in Metric Tonnes per Ha in 2010 (Sissala West District)

District Maize Millet Sorghum Rice Yam G’nuts Cowpea Soya
Sissala west 1.70 1 0.95 2.10 15.81 1.90 1.00 1.90

Source: Statistics, Research and Info. Directorate (SRID), Min. of Food & Agric. Jan, 2011.

Table of production of major crops in Metric Tonnes in 2010 (Sissala West District)

District Maize Millet Sorghum Rice Yam G’nuts Cowpea Soya
Sissala west 13804 4850 10365 756 40157 14326 9250 304

Source: Statistics, Research and Info. Directorate (SRID), Min. of Food & Agric. Jan, 2011.

Information on livestock production

Sissala West is endowed with good vegetation and conducive environment favorable food livestock production.

There are many livestock produced here but the predominant ones are cattle, sheep, goat, pigs, guinea fowl and local fowls. Only few farmers engage in poultry farm. Nearness of the district to Burkina Faso have also helped to promote production of improve breeds of ruminants.

Availability of dams and dug-out in the districts serve as stock water for the ruminants. This provides fresh water for the livestocks. The vast arable lands which support farming also help to provide livestocks with farm residues for dry season feeding. It is with this regard that animal production Directorate (APD) introduced Livestock Development Project (LDP) into the district when it was newly created.

The Animal production directorate under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) is in charge of livestock production and husbandry practices in the country implemented. Livestock Development Project (LDP) from 2003-2010 the project was funded by African Development Bank (AFDB).

The main objectives of the project was to

  • Achieve food security
  • Improve livestock production in the project districts and country at large.
  • Improve standard of living of farmers.
  • Improve animal protein in-take in the country.

Production and Health component of the project was carried out by Animal Production Directorate (APD) and Veterinary Services Directorate respectively. AFDB provided the funds to carry out activities proposed by APD and VS.

During the project existence APD trained farmers in a form of capacity building on activities as follow

  • Training of farmers on improved housing and effect of polysheet on livestocks and the environment
  • Training of livestock farmers on disease recognition, prevention and control.
  • Training of pig farmers in feed formulation and management using locally available feedstuffs.
  • Training of farmers on record keeping, management, sanitation and feeding.
  • Practical training on hoof trimming, tagging, ecto and endo parasite control.
  • Training of farmers on conservation and utilization of crop residues for dry season feeding of livestock.
  • Training of livestock farmers on livestock farming as a business venture.

Veterinary Service Directorate with the help of their vet officers also carry out disease surveillance. During surveillance suspected cases of disease outbreak was reported to the district vet officer (DVO) for necessary action.

Quarterly, vaccination against CBPP, PPR, Swine flu, Newcastle disease (NCD) and Rabbis are carried out.

Credit Components of the Project

The LDP project assisted farmers groups that have the interest of expanding their livestock production with credit. The projects liaised with Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to provide the groups with loans.

The first batch of livestock farmers made of nine groups were supported with Ten Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty Ghana Cedis (10,840).

The second batch consisting of 13 groups also received sixteen thousand seven hundred and fifty Ghana cedis (15,750). Somewhere along the line the credit component of the project suffered some crises.

The loan recovery was poor and some farmer groups did not use the loan for what it was intended. The excuse was that the loan was not enough for livestock production.

The project then revised it credit strategy by introducing the credit- in- kind scheme. Under this 120 livestock farmers in the entire district were supported with 1,200 small ruminants with each farmer benefiting from ten sheep or goats. They are to repay in two years time where the animals would be transferred to next butch of beneficiaries.

The project also supported some farmers to establish fodder banks with cajanus cajan seeds for dry season feeding.

Credit- in-kind of small ruminant were supplied to farmers during the period.

Total of 800 Animal were supplied to each farmer taking (10)

  number Beneficiaries Total
    M F  
Sheep 720 60 12 72
Goats 80 5 3 8
Total 800 65 15 80

Information on fish production

In the district there is no planned fish farming programme except capture fisheries in open water body like dams, dugouts, streams that run across the district. In all, there are 11 dams and 3 dugouts in the district. 8 of the dams were provided by plan Ghana and stocked with 1,625,000 fingerlings.

Field demonstrations

Field demonstrations to farmers were about the importance of agronomic practices to optimize yields, and livestock feeding and housing to increase productivity of the stock. The five field staff (AEAs) undertook 40 demonstrations 24 on maize and 16 groundnuts. For the maize and groundnuts MOFA recovered 1/3 of produce from each contact farmer who did the demonstrations. When the mini demonstrations were and concept of the block farming came, the demonstrations continued and then over 3000 farmers has been take on field demonstration on their block farms to improve their yield.

Information and fertilizer subsidy program

NPK (23:10:5) 24
NPK(15:15:15) 78
S/A 76


2009 Acreage Beneficiaries   Total
    M F  





























Total 1660 843 303 1149

Information of Special Projects

2. Northern Rural Growth Programme

Under this project the district got 15 groups of 188 farmers of which 150 were male and 38 were female to produce grain maize soya and sorghum for 2009.

Northern Rural Growth Programme

    M F  

















Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS)

This is an initiative of scientists from SARI and CSIR, to promote improved storage of grain legumes (cowpea) for better incomes among farmers in Ghana and other selected African countries. It entails the use of a double-lined polythene sheets to store the cowpea to last four months or more. Over twenty communities have been selected and demonstrations have gone on for some time now in these communities on how to use the polythene materials and the results thereof. So far farmers have realized the superiority of this technology over their own practices, and are demanding for the poly-sheets for their use.

International Centre for Enterprise and Sustainable Development (ICED)

For increase income to farmers and possible integration into domestic and international markets, the ICED initiated this project. The project is a centre of excellence in animal production. The project promotes excellence in the production of guinea fowl and swine among farmers in the Northern part of Ghana through training for farmers and interested development agencies.

Information on new initiatives


This is another science-based trials in the district that will be undertaken this farming season using a number of contact farmers to carry out the performance of the cover crop called Mucuna as a soil protector, weeds smoother and a nutrient enrichment mechanism and supplementary feed for livestock during the dry season.


This is another initiative of the scientific world to respond to a donor’s assistance to improve the productivity of farmers’ soils for better productivity and production. It commences in the district this year with a number of farmers as contact points to demonstrate the use of various technologies.

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