The Krachi West District was one of the oldest districts in Volta Region but still lacking behind most recently created Districts in terms of development. The district,has Kete-Krachi as its administrative capital.. It is one of the major agricultural products marketing centres in the Volta Region of Ghana. The District is one of the leading producers of yam in the region and could also boost of crops like cassava, maize, Rice, sorghum, soy bean and vegetables.. It also has a vibrant market for yam and cereals as market women come from the south and northern Ghana to Krachi to load large trucks of vehicle with yams. The District could also boost of a very good lake transport which market women from towns like Accra, Tema and Akosombo take advantage of , to come to the District for Agricultural produce. The District has a vast stretch of Agricultural land, 3,500sqkm that could be put to the production of all crops. It also has five abandoned state farms that could be rehabilitated to generate employment for the youth in the area. The whole surface land area is surrounded with water which make it very easy even to put half or more of the land area to be irrigated.
Location and size of the District
The Krachi West District is located at the north western corner of the Volta Region and lies between longitude 00 25’W and 00 20’E and latitude 70 40’N and 80 25’N. It shares boundaries with Krachi East District to the East, Kpandai and East Gonja Districts (Northern Region) to the North and Sene District of the Brong Ahafo Region to the West. The Sene and Krachi West Districts are, indeed, separated by the Volta Lake. The district covers a total land area of four thousand one hundred and sixty nine square kilometres (4,169 sq km) out of which about 37% is covered by water.
The mean maximum temperature of the district is 300cusually recorded in March, while the mean minimum temperature is 25.50c, normally recorded in August, the peak of the rainy season.
The annual rainfall pattern shows inconsistencies. It ranged from 1,735.20mm in 1984, 1062.80mm in 1988, and 2434.20mm in1991 to 970.50mm in 1993. The maximum rainfall coincides with the planting season in the district. For planning, and more especially, for agricultural activities, distribution of rainfall rather than its intensity is more relevant. The rainy season spans from April to October whilst November to March constitutes the dry season (harmattan).
Soils and their suitability for agriculture
The major soils in the district include the Techiman Association (mainly sandy soils) in the north, the Kpelesawgu Association (sandy clay soils) in the mid-portions and the southern tip, the Dormanbin-Dentesso Association (salty sand) in the south and the Ejura-Amantim Association (sandy loam) in the west.
Minor soils groups include Adankpa Association and the Kintampo Association around Kete-Krachi town, and patches of Dadiekro Lima and Volta Lima Association (sandy loam) in some locations close to the Volta Lake. It was discovered that no soil management practices were undertaken. It is therefore not astounding that 70 per cent of farmers experienced loss in soil fertility in their farms. This is worsened by continuous cultivation, which exposed the soil to erosion.
Relief, Topography and Drainage
The district lies in between the northern part of the central upland of the Volta Region preponderated by highland ranging from 850m to 1000m above sea level around the southern part. However, the northern part of the district is part of the northwest savannah zone of the Volta Region which is characterized by an almost flat relief with slopes rising from 85m to 300m above sea level.
Three main rivers namely Volta in the west, Oti in the middle and Daka in the north drain the district. Several other seasonal streams are also found in the district. A preponderant portion of about 400km of the Volta Lake is in the district
Generally, the land is well drained except some few portions located close to the rivers and streams that become waterlogged and pose problems for human and vehicle movement as well as agriculture for some short periods in the rainy season River Oti, can be used for irrigation without damming as it contains large volume of water which run throughout the year.
The district lays in the transitional zone-between the savannah zone to the north and the forest zone in the south. About 80 per cent of the district is covered with savannah grassland. This becomes more open as one move northwards. However, forests and woodlands could be found along the lake, streams, rivers foothills and the southern portion of the Oti zones.
DEMORGRAHIC AND SOCIO-CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS
Population Size and Density
The 2000 Population and Housing Census (2000 PHC) put the population of the district at 92,723 (segregated from Krachi District population). With a population growth rate of 2.5%, the district’s population is projected to currently stand at 118,693. The district’s growth rate of 2.5% is lower than the regional growth rate of 2.2% but higher than the national growth rate of 2.7%. With this trend in the district’s population growth, it is likely to double in 20 years should the other demographic characteristics and growth indicators fail to change significantly. There is therefore the need to put in place strategies in place to meet the basic needs of this fast growing population while putting measures in place to check this rate of growth.
The population density was 37.2 persons/km2 in 1994 and 38.3 persons/km2 in 2000 as compared to the national density of 51.6 persons/km2 in 1984, 69 persons/km2 in 1994 and in 2000 it was 79 persons/km2. Although population densities in the district are low as compared to that of the national level, it varies from 13 persons/km2 in the rural areas to 53 persons/km2 in the urban areas. The uneven population concentrations could be attributed to the over concentration of socio-economic infrastructure and facilities in the few urban areas. Conscious efforts should therefore be made to distribute development projects and other pro-poor interventions evenly among settlements in the district taking cognizance of planning standards and population thresholds.
Age/Sex Distribution and Dependency
The age/sex structure of the district revealed that 51.8 per cent of the total population was male whilst 48.2 per cent were female in 2000. This structure put the female/male ratio at 1:1.07. This distribution is different from the national distribution where there were more females (50.5 per cent) in the population than males (49.5 per cent). The 0-4 age cohort constitutes 43.3 per cent of the total population while those aged 65 and above make up only 5.2 per cent. The dependent population consisted of the total of these two age cohorts, and this is approximately 48.5 per cent of the total population. The economically active population (15-64 and above cohort) constituted 51.5 per cent of the total population. Thus, the dependency ratio was 1:1.06. This means that if all the people in the labour force were economically active, 100 workers would cater for 106 dependents. However, the economic dependency ratio was found 1:1.02 meaning that 100 workers have 102 dependents compared with the national ratio of 1:0.87. This economic burden in the district, albeit lower as compared with the national level, could be minimized with a combined measure of increased job opportunities and increased productivity.
Ethnicity and Religion
The autochthonous, and indeed, the preponderant ethnic groups in the district are the Nchumuru and the Krachi, which are of the Guan origin. There are large settler population made up mostly of Konkombas, Ewe and Hausa speaking people. Other tribes can also be found in the district in trace and patches.
With regards to religion, Christianity is the dominant religion in the district followed by Traditional Religion before Islam and other religions.
Migration, as one of the demographic characteristics and component of population change, undoubtedly takes place in the district. There is an astronomical emigration of the economically active population in the district to the urban centres. This is due to the inability of the district to provide employment opportunities for the active population group. The phenomenon is more pronounced among females than their male counterpart. If nothing is done to create and open job avenues, the development of the district can be hampered.
The people of Krachi West District are predominantly farmers and therefore about 75 per cent of households engaged primarily in farming as their main source of livelihood. Even though about 37 per cent of the district is covered by water, only a small percentage of the district’s population, mostly the Ewe settlers, engaged in fishing. This may be due to the fact that the people are pre-eminently farmers and do not have the culture of fishing. Furthermore, there is lack of initial capital to purchase fishing nets, canoes and engines for motor boats. The heavy reliance on what is basically traditional and rudimentary farming has led to low agricultural productivity and hence insecurity in livelihood.
a Agriculture sector of the Krachi West District is constituted by crop farmers, fishermen and livestock keepers. Mixed farming within these three key areas of agriculture is a common phenomenon although about 60 per cent of the fishermen come from outside the district.The average crop farm size is about 2.0 Ha (5.0 acres). Bush fallowing is the prominent method of farming in the district. The farming systems include mixed cropping, crop rotation and mixed farming.
FOOD CROP PRODUCTION
Krachi West District is noted for the growing of various crops. These range from roots and tubers such as yams and cassava, as well as cereals, legumes, and vegetables. The major crops cultivated in the district with their approximate field sizes and yields as well as locations of production as at 2009 are presented in Tables 1and 2 respectively below.
MAJOR CROPS PRODUCED IN THE DISTRICT
|Type of crop
*2009 SRID Estimates
MAJOR CROP PRODUCTION LOCATIONS IN THE DISTRICT
||MAJOR LOCATIONS OF PRODUCTION
||Produced throughout the District
||Produced throughout the District but less at the South Eastern borders
||Produced throughout the District
||Produced throughout the District
||Produced along rivers Oti, Ntewusae
||Banda, Zongo-macheri, Borae
||Kete-Krachi, Ntewusae, Osramanae, Ehiamankyene
SCALE OF PRODUCTION
The majority of farmers in the District are small-holders with about 85% of them using simple hoes and cutlasses for cultivating their farms. Also about 65% of the farmers depend on family labour while about 20% undertake zero tillage practice (i.e. planting without soil tillage through the use of herbicides to kill the weeds) in land preparation or use weedicides for farm weed control However, this phenomenon of chemical weed control in farms is steadily increasing year after year.
Agro processing activities in the district is largely limited to gari and cassava dough production, cassava flour processing (kokonte),soybean processing and utilization, and fish processing/smoking. These activities are undertaken by about 60% of the women folk. Equipment used in these processing activities is, in the main, rudimentary.
Livestock farming is another prominent venture in the district. Cattle, small ruminants (sheep and goats) and poultry – both local and exotic – can be found throughout the district. Exotic and local pigs can also be located within some specific communities in the district, largely kept on free-range bases.
||MAJOR LOCATIONS OF PRODUCTION
||All over the district
||All over the district
||All over the district
||Local breeds all over the district
|Poultry (Exotic breeds)
|Pigs (Local breeds)
||, All over the district
Source: Estimates based on Year2009 MRCLS
Improved animal husbandry practices in the district are very low. Most small ruminants and local poultry are kept on free-range. The average herd of small ruminants per household is eight (6) and that of cattle is thirty (40) per Kraal or a compound. Dairy milk collection is very limited whilst meat sold by butchers is unprocessed.
Fishing is an important agricultural activity in the district. The district is blessed with the Oti River and its tributaries and people living in settlements around it do a lot of intensive fishing in it. Various types of fresh-water fishes are harvested in the river. Some of the species include:
The fishes are sold in the local markets in both fresh and smoked forms and also transported to urban markets such as Accra, Koforidua, Tema, and Somanya.
The fishing industry in the district is limited in the main to harvests from the wild i.e. from the existing natural water bodies. Though there is a huge potential for fish farming (aquaculture) this, advantage is yet to be utilized.
The district is an important producer of food crops, livestocks and fish in the region and as a result a number of market settlements have developed where vigorous trading takes place. These markets offer producers locations to meet buyers and also give them opportunity to buy agricultural inputs. Below is a table of some prominent markets.
Table 4: MAJOR LOCAL MARKETS
||Yams, fish, maize, sheep/goats, other foodstuffs
||Every Monday & Thuraday
||Fish, yams, okro, pepper.
||Fish, pepper, yam, maize
||Maize, yams, fish – mainly for Accra& other markets
||Maize, plantain /yam cassva
||Maize, yams, fish – for Accra& other markets
||Yam, maize, cassava, Fish, rice
||Yam, maize, cassava, Fish, rice
Agricultural produce are cart by vehicles, push trucks, bicycles or by head loads to these markets. Most of the leading produce like yam, fish, groundnut, maize, gari, cassava chips (kokonte), and cowpea attract middlemen from outside the district, mostly Accra and Koforidua. They buy from the markets and the farm gates and the items transported in big (mostly 10 tons) cargo trucks to urban areas outside the district.
SPECIAL PROJECTS IN KRACHI WEST DISTRICT
FOOD CROPS DEVELOPMENT PROJECT (FCDP)
Krachi West District was a beneficiary of the Food Crops Development Project (FCDP)that was implemented by Crops Services Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The FCDP was headquartered at Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, and at the district level (Krachi West and Krachi East), the project was managed from Kete-Krachi .The project concentrated on assisting farmers with inputs in the production of the following crops: maize, cowpea, groundnut, soybean and sorghum – the process also served to impart improved production technologies to the farmers.Food Crop Development Project targeted three thousand (3000) beneficiaries. The project ran from the year 2002 to 2007 though it was initially expected to terminate in June, 2006.
OBJECTIVES OF FCDP
1. To improve household food security.
2. Increase farmers’ incomes and help alleviate poverty of small holder farmers in the
3. To increase production and processing.
SPECIFICALLY FCDP PLANNED TO:
a. Encourage farmers to form groups for production, storage, processing and
marketing target crops.
b. Introduce farmer groups to credit for production and post production activities.
c. Promote inventory credit system as a means for farmers to keep surplus produce so
as to obtain better returns in the lean seasons.
ROOT AND TUBER IMPROVEMENT AND MARKETINGPROGRAMME (RTIMP)
The RTIMP national coordinating office is in Kumasi. The Krachi East District is in the zone 3 which is coordinated from Koforidua in the Eastern Region of Ghana.The project seeks to multiply and distribute improved high yielding cassava planting materials to farmers. However, the emphasis is to link up all actors in the value chain in other to establish an effective marketing system that would be beneficial to all the players. The RTIMP began in the Krachi West District in 2008.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS IN AGRICULTURE
Non-Governmental Organizations such as World Vision International are yet to put into action their agricultural programmes. The World Vision International (Krachi East ADP)has among its plans, the following agricultural objectives which are scheduledto take effect from the year 2011:
||Summary of Objectives
||Improve household food security and microenterprise development
||Thriving agribusiness and commerce
||Increased youth in Agri-business
||ADP will identify youth and provide funds to MOFA to train youth in small animal rearing
||ADP Purchase and distribute small animals (rabbits, chicken, goats, sheep, guinea fowl) to HHs with OVC
||Provide funds to MOFA to support training of youth in vegetable cultivation
||ADP Purchase and distribute seeds, seedlings, and soyabean to youth groups
||ADP Provide storage facilities and drip irrigation kits
||MOFA provide agric extension services to youth in agriculture
Extension service in the district has suffered setback as transfer of staff without replacemereduced the number of Agricultural Extension Agents (AEA) tremendously . The current AEA number is 10. Currently, the AEA/Farmer ratio remains very low (about 1:3,500).
For administrative and technical purposes and for the ease of supervision, monitoring and evaluation, the district has been divided into ten (10) Operational Areas (OA) with each manned by an AEA:
6. Borae No 1
7. Borae No11
AVAILABLEFARM LANDS/IRRIGATION POTENTIALS
The total land area of the district is 4169sq km. It is estimated that a two-third of this land area is suitable and available for diverse agricultural productions. Also, almost the whole District is surrounded with the Volta Lake which is available all year round. This makes the district very suitable for small to large scale irrigation schemes.
||DESCRIPTION OF PROPERTY
||STATUS OF LAND
||EXTENT OF ENCHROAHMENT
||100 acres irrigation plot
||Acquired in 1962 compensation paid
||About 30 acres
||Farming and grazing
||The project should be rehabilitated and land rented to interested farmers.
||Food distribution ware house and Agric. Offices
||Acquired/No compensation paid
||About ½ an acre
|More kiosks are being erected on the land.
||2,000 acres V.R.A. Agric. Plot
||Acquired in 1964/No compensation paid
||About 40 acres
||Farming and Grazing of livestock
||1,200 acres Brigade Farm Plot Site I
||Borae NO. 2
||Acquired in 1962/No compensation paid
||About 500 acres
||Earmarked by Catholic Diocese for a Technical School
||1,200 acres Brigade Farm Plot II
||Borae NO. 2
||Acquired in 1962/ No compensation paid
||About 100 acres
||Farming and grazing of livestock
||2,400 acres State Farm Plot
||Acquired No compensation paid
||About 70 acres
The greater portion of the land in the district is stool owned. Hence an investor only needs to approach the chiefs and their elders for the necessary customary rites for the release of land for any agricultural venture.
FOOD CROPS PRODUCTION
The first choice crop of importance to the indigenes is yam and cassava. However, the potential for the cultivation of cereals such as maize, rice, and sorghum is vast owing to the vast stretches of land under very suitable climatic conditions. Currently also, there is enormous potential for large scale production of the pulses e.g. soya beans, groundnut, cowpeas as well as various vegetables such as pepper, garden eggs, okra, tomato, and cabbage. In general, the district abounds in suitable vast tracts of land and water bodies for both irrigated and rain-fed productions of the various crops.
TREE CROPS PRODUCTION
The location of the district in the transitional belt gives it the climatic advantage for the production of various tree crops. However, tree crops production is at a very insignificant stage. Potential crops for commercial production include mango, cashew, sheanut and jatropha – for bio-fuels production.
With the abundance of water and grasslands, the potential for the production of livestock such as cattle, goat, sheep and poultry is enormous.
Beekeeping and grass-cutter production are also potential targets if farmers are given the necessary support by MOFA, NGO’s and other investors. The required supports are basically the provision of technical know-how and suitable production and processing equipment.
Fish culture in the district is virtually non-existent. The fishery sector in the district is solely dependent on capture from the existing natural water bodies. Investment in cultured fisheries, especially, the cage and dugout production systems hold the potentials for very profitable business.
Krachi East District has enormous potential for agro-processing industries, both in the animal and crops sectors, but currently this activity is limited to the subsistence level with very little improved technology utilization.
CASSAVA PROCESSING FACTORY
The District produces about 174,000 metric tons of cassava annually. It has the potential to increase the yield to over 800,000 metric tons within one year. Therefore, investment in the establishment of a Cassava Processing Factory or facility to process raw cassava into the following products should be a very profitable business:
i. Starch for industrial use
iii. Tapioca and biscuits
iv. Animal feed – for livestock and poultry.