Sunyani Municipality is one of the twenty-two administrative districts in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. It lies between Latitudes 70 20’N and 70 05’N and Longitudes 20 30’W and 2010’W and shares boundaries with Sunyani West District to the north, Dormaa East District to the west, Asutifi District to the south and Tano North District to the east. The Municipality has a total land area of 829.3 Square Kilometres (320.1square miles). One third of the total land area is not inhabited or cultivated which provides arable lands for future investment.
The population of the Municipality stands at 147,301 at a growth rate of 3.8%. The population density of the municipality is 122 persons per square kilometre (MPCU Computation, 2010).
According to a survey conducted by the Municipal Planning Coordinating Unit in 2010, the densely populated areas in the municipality include Zongo, New Dormaa and Area 2 in that order. Nkwabeng, Abesim and Nkrankrom constitute the medium densely populated areas. The low density areas are Estate, South Ridge, Airport Area, Atronie and Baakoniaba. The densely populated areas are mostly in the low income group whereas the less dense areas are mostly in the high and medium income groups.
Source: 2000 PHC, GSS, MPCU computation, 2010
The municipality falls within the wet Semi-Equatorial Climatic Zone of Ghana. The monthly temperatures vary between 23ºC and 33ºC with the lowest around August and the highest being observed around March and April. Relative humidity is 75 and 80% during the rainy seasons and 70 and 80% during the dry seasons of the year which is ideal for luxurious vegetative growth.
The average rainfall for Sunyani between 2000 and 2009 is 88.987cm. Sunyani experiences double maxima rainfall pattern. The main rainy season is between March and September with the minor between October to December. This offers two farming seasons in a year which supports higher agricultural production in the Municipality. However, the rainfall pattern of the Municipality is decreasing over the years as a result of deforestation and depletion of water bodies resulting from human activities.
Sunyani Municipality falls largely within the Moist Semi-Deciduous Forest Vegetation Zone. Most of the primary vegetation can be found in patches around the north-west, east and southern parts of the municipality. These include the Yaya and the Amama Forest Reserves. This vegetation zone also contains most of the valuable timber species. As indicated by the characteristics of the vegetation cover, tree crops such as cocoa and citrus can thrive well in this zone. As a result of lumbering and farming practices, most of the forest areas have been degraded. Reforestation is therefore being undertaken in the forest reserves to reverse the trend.
The first quarter of 2009 recorded higher amounts than the first quarter of 2010 but the former recorded much more amounts than the later during the second and third quarters of the year. The distribution could be seen in the table below.
Table 1.0 the rainfall pattern of 2009/2010
• Topography and Drainage
The Sunyani Municipality lies within the middle belt of Ghana with heights from 750 feet (229 meters) to 1235 feet (376 meters) above sea level. The topography of the municipality is fairly flat thus suitable for large scale agricultural mechanization. Cost of constructing houses and roads is relatively minimal due to the nature of the topography.
The drainage is basically dendritic with several streams and rivers, notably Tano, Amama, Kankam, Benu, Yaya and Bisi. Most of the water bodies are seasonal. This often creates water shortage in the municipality during the dry season for both domestic and agricultural purposes.
Land acquisition for agricultural purpose is relatively cheaper in the municipality. Most farmers obtain land on rental basis while others obtain land either through the “abunu/abusa” basis with land owners. Agriculture in the Municipality is rain-fed with very little irrigation practice. Farmers cultivating vegetables along the banks of River Tano and other streams also practice irrigation farming.
Cocoa is the major tree crop offering about 80% of cash crop earnings in the Municipality. This is followed by oil palm and citrus.
• Geology and Soil
Geologically, the Municipality is underlain by Precambrian formation which is believed to be rich in mineral deposits. Associated with the Birimian formation are extensive masses of granite.
About 85% of soil in the Municipality generally falls into the ochrosols groups with good water retention capacity. These soils are generally fertile and support the cultivation of plantain, cocoyam, maize, cassava and cocoa. Notable settlements located within this soil group area are Atronie, Abesim, Yawhima and Nwawasua. Other soil types include the Birim Chichiwere Association. This is an alluvial soil with poor water retention but good for the production of legumes, rice and vegetables. They are mainly found in the south-eastern part of the Municipality around Asikasu and Nketiakrom.
Table 2.0 Sunyani Municipality: Forest Reserves
|FOREST RESERVE||SIZE IN KM2||LOCATION|
|Amoma Forest Reserve||68.48||Nwawasua, Kofidurokrom|
|Asukese Forest Reserve||205.49||Atronie|
• Environmental Situation
The major problem confronting the natural environment in the municipality is deforestation. Bushfires claim between 60-80% of the municipality’s agricultural lands annually. Until 2001 when the municipality was able to save about 80% of farmlands and forest reserves from burning, valuable timber resources, food crops and properties of various types were lost annually through bushfires. The major human activities negatively affecting the natural environment include land preparation for farming, actual cultivation and bush burning. The successive intensive use of land for agricultural purposes has reduced the fallow period of about 6-7 years to 2 or less. This has resulted in low soil fertility and the continuous demand for crops which originally did not require fertilizer. Presently, about 30-50 percent of the agricultural land in the Municipality is under cultivation.
• Water Supply
Most of the water bodies are seasonal. This often creates water shortage in the municipality during the dry season for both domestic and agricultural purposes.
Major Economic Activities in the Municipality
Agricultural activities (including crop farming and animal husbandry) constitute the highest intake of workers in the municipality forming 45.9%, followed by Industry (carpentry, bricks and block laying, timber related industries, construction workers etc), 14.7 percent. Service and Administration (Government workers, financial institutions, Communication workers, Hairdressers, seamstresses etc), constitute 9.6 percent, Professional and Technical (Engineers, consultants etc.), 9 percent. Commerce, 8.6 percent whereas others such as head porters, truck pushers and mining form 1.4 percent (Municipal Assembly).
MAJOR CROPS PRODUCED
Food is available in commercial quantities throughout the year. The supply of starchy staples and cereals in the market is satisfactory. Truckf loads of plantain, cassava, maize and citrus are transported from the Municipality on weekly basis to the Northern, Greater Accra and Western Regions. However, as a result of the decrease in rainfall pattern and deforestation, the forest is diminishing. Again, the introduction and widespread use of broad spectrum and or non-selective weedicides has brought about a decrease in the local production of cocoyam which is a major staple or foodstuff in the Municipality.
Vegetables such as, cabbage, garden eggs, carrots, sweet pepper, tomatoes and pepper are produced in commercial quantities all year round. They are sold in Sunyani and in, Kumasi, Accra, Takoradi and Tema among others.
Table 3.0 area under Crop Cultivation (In Hectares)
Source: MoFA, Sunyani, 2010
Table 4.0 Food Production Situation of Major Staples in the Municipality
|Major Crops||2006(Metric tons)||2007(Metric tons)||2008(Metric tons)||2009(Metric tons)||2010(Metric tons)|
Source: MoFA, Sunyani, 2010
Livestock production in the Municipality is significant. Almost every household in the Municipality keeps some animal either to serve as source of protein diet or for use on important occasions or additional sources of income. Animals reared in the Municipality include cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry (fowls, guinea fowls, duck, turkeys etc). Most of the animals are reared on small-scale basis and by the free-range method. Only few farmers keep poultry and other livestock on commercial purposes. Diseases like Newcastle for poultry, PPR for small ruminants etc are prevalent in the Municipality. Veterinary services are provided in the Municipality by the technical wing of MOFA. The table below shows the number and percentage increase in livestock in the Municipality.
Table 5.0 Livestock census of Sunyani Municipality
The production facility of the fisheries stands at 96 ponds. The average pond size stands at 500m2 and the total area of ponds within the Municipality stands at 53,437.92m2. Fish is stocked as a monoculture of tilapia (O.niloticus) or catfish or polyculture of both species. According to the 2009 report, an average of fifty-one (51) farmers is involved 45 males and 6 females.
Table 6.0 TRENDS OF FISH PRODUCTION
|Trend in fish pond number||40||65||80||96||113|
|Trend in fish harvest||800kg||1500kg||3000kg||4000kg||5100kg|
1. Development of cage culture in dams
2. Development of fish hatchery and feed production plant
3. Acquire suitable sites for pond development