Karaga District was carved out of the then Gushegu/Karaga District and officially inaugurated in August, 2004.


The District is located in the North-Eastern Northern Region, roughly between; latitudes 9o30’ South and 10o30’ North and longitudes 0East and 45’West.  It has a total area of 2,958 Kilometres square.It shares boundaries with four districts in the Northern Region, West and East Mamprusi to the North, Savelugu/Nanton to the West and Gushegu (the mother district) to the South and east. Karaga the district capital is 24km from Gushegu and 94km from Tamale, the Regional Capital.


The topography of the district is generally undulating with numerous small streams draining it.  The district has a number of smaller valleys with larger valleys found towards the periphery where smaller streams merge into larger ones.  Such valleys are found in the Sakulo and Nambungu areas.  The only major river identified is the Nasia which flows between Namburugu and Bagli.  The Nasia River and its tributaries divide the district into two (north and south) making the northern half inaccessible especially during the rainy season.  Areas to the north are thus appropriately tagged “overseas”.  Tributaries of the Nabogu River also flow between Dibolo and Namburugu.

All the streams can be described as intermittent.  The Nasia reduces in volume during the long dry season whereas all other streams dry up completely.  In the rainy season however, all the rivers bounce back to “life”. It increase in volume and flood the immediate land thereby cutting off most communities during the period.  Most roads are also rendered unmottorable and extension of development projects seizes. Development projects can only be implemented during dry season.


The climate reflects a typical tropical continental climate experienced in northern Ghana.  There is a rainy season that lasts from May – October, peaking in August and September.  The rest of the year is virtually dry.  Rainfall amount is between 900 and 1000mm per annum.  Temperatures are high throughout the year with the highest of 36ºC or above in March and April.  Low temperatures are experienced between November and February (the harmattan period).


The vegetation is a typical guinea savannah type, characterized by tall grasses interspersed with drought resistant trees such as the Shea and dawadawa.These trees are major economic trees which generate income for the people in the district. The tall grasses are also used in roofing and other art works.


The district lies entirely within the voltaian sand stone basin dominated by sandstones, shales, siltstones and minor lime stones.  The northern tip of the district is underlain by lower voltain, which consist of rocks, dominated by shales and sandstones.  The soils are mainly savannah ochrosols, ground water laterites formed over granite and voltain shales.  Small areas of savannah ochrosols with some lithosoles and brunosols are very low.

The laterites are similar in acidity and nutrient level to the ochrosols, but are poorer in physical properties, with substantial amounts of concretionary gravel layers near the top horizons and more suited for road and other constructional works than supporting plant roots systems.  Despite gentle slopes, the soils are highly vulnerable to sheet erosion and in some areas, gully erosion also occurs.  This condition occurs primarily because of the annual burning of the natural vegetation, leaving the soils exposed to the normally high intensity rains (up to 200mm per hour) at the beginning of the rainy season.  The continuous erosion over many years has removed most of the top soils and depleted or destroyed its organic matter content.  This situation does not allow the soil fauna to thrive and keep the top soil layers open and enable healthy plant roots to develop.  It results in serious compaction, with considerable reduction in rainfall infiltration rate.

When the soil is affected by erosion and fertility reduced, it still has some potential for agriculture if their available nutrients are managed sensibly, including appropriate supplementation measures to restore a better soil water infiltration rate.  It also depend on the extent to which the recurring annual bush fires is managed and the extend of rainfall surface retention to facilitate increase in the amount that gets to the plant rooting zones, to the level of the soil water holding capacity.


The current population of the district as envisage in the I-WASH data collection report support by UNICEF (2009) stands at 89,870 as against the Population and Housing Census (PHC) 2000 figure of 62,719.this shows that within the period of ten (10) years the district population shows a significant increase of 43.3%.The sex composition of the district population shows that females constitute 51.7% of the population while males form 48.3%.

Table 1: Population distribution by Area Council.

KARAGA 19,158 21
PISHIGU 27,397 30
KUDULI 4,288 5
BAGLI/ZANDUA 19,582 22
TOTAL 89,870 100%

Source: DESSAP data collection report-2009

There are 182 communities in the district.  The largest household size (11) in the Northern Region (Population and Housing Census 2000) is in Karaga.  Considering that household sizes are larger in rural than in urban areas, the average household size for the district will be 8 persons.

Over 70% of the settlements in the district have population of less than 800.  Karaga the district capital is the only settlement with a population of over 10,000.  The population of Karaga constitutes about 20.4% of the district population.  Only eleven communities have populations of more than 1000 people.  All these settlements are found to the Western section of the district along the Karaga-Sung Pigu and Sung-Tanchigu roads.  These are the more accessible areas of the district.

Table 2: Sex and Rural-Urban Distribution of the Population


Locality Area council Population
Total Males Females
Karaga Karaga 15,600 7,535 8,065
Pishigu Pishigu 4,609 2,227 2,382
Bagurugu Pishigu 3,857 1,863 1,994
Tamaligu Pishigu 3,946 1,906 2,040
Nyong Nayili Pishigu 3,681 1,778 1,903
Tong Karaga 1,154 558 596
Nyong Guma Pishigu 1,316 636 680
Sung Pishigu 1,987 960 1,027
Langogu Karaga 1,650 797 853
Kpataribogu Pishigu 1,548 748 800

Source: DESSAP data collection report-2009

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