Location and size
The Bawku West District lies within the Upper East Region of Ghana. It was carved out of old Bawku District under the new local government system in 1988. It lies roughly between latitudes 100 30’N and 110 10’N, and between longitudes 00 20’E and 00 35’E.
The District shares boundaries with Burkina Faso in the North, Bawku Municipality to the East, Talensi/Nabdam District to the West and East Mamprusi District to the South.
Two important tributaries of the Volta River namely the White and Red Volta ran contiguous to the Districts’ Eastern and Western boundaries respectively. The District covers an area of approximately 1,070 square kilometers, which constitutes about 12% of the total land area of the Upper East Region. It is the fifth biggest district in the Upper East Region in terms of land area.
Topography and Drainage
The relief of the district is generally flat to gently undulating with slopes ranging from 1-5%. These plains are broken in some places by hills or ranges formed from either outcrops of Birimian rocks (greenstones) or granite intrusions. These ranges lie along the border with Burkina-Faso, north of Zebilla, and turn south-west from the Red Volta north of Nangodi in the Talensi/Nabdam district. The granite areas are generally low to gently rolling (120-255m a.s.1).
The District is drained by both the White and Red Volta and their tributaries. The rivers over flow their banks during the rainy season (April-October). During the dry season there is always an inflow of water from the Bagre dam which makes it possible for farmers to pump for irrigation from the White Volta.
Geology and Soil
The soils and water supply conditions of the district are directly related to the underlying rocks. The major rocks fall within the Birimian and Granitic geological formations (Adu, 1969). Most of the soils are consequently of low inherent fertility. The two most frequently deficient nutrients are nitrogen and phosphorus. The build-up of any amount of organic matter is constrained by regular burning of crop residues and/or competitive use of these residues for fuel, animal feed or building purpose. The low vegetative cover during the dry season also renders most of the soils susceptible to erosion during the rainy season. This, in turn, exacerbates the low fertility problem. The sustainability of good crop yields is therefore closely linked with careful management of the soils with the objective of preventing and controlling erosion, increasing their organic matter content (compost, crop residues, farmyard manure, etc) and replacing and increasing plant nutrients lost through erosion, leaching and crop uptake.
The general climate of the district can be summarized by the long-term records at Manga-Bawku Agricultural station, which are very representative of the Bawku West District. The area experiences a unimodal rainfall regime lasting 4 to 6 months and a long dry period of 6 to 8 months in a year.
The Vegetation is Sudan savanna consisting of short drought and fire resistant deciduous trees interspersed with open savanna grassland. Grass is vary sparse and in most areas the land is bare and severely. Common grasses include Andropogan gayanus (Northern Gamber Grass) in the less eroded areas and Hyparhenia spp, Aristida spp, and Heteropogon spp. (Spear gtass) in the severely eroded areas. Common trees include Anogeissus spp, Acacia spp (Thorn tree) and Triplochiton spp. Economic trees include Parkia filicoidea (Dawadawa), Butyrospermum parkii (Sheanut), Andansonia digitata (Baobab) and Ceiba pentandra (Kapok). The district has a sparsely inhabited Oncho-freed woodland and forest belt and the uninhabited forest reserve along the eastern and southern portions of the Red and White Volta, stretching from Widnaba- Tilli area through Binaba-Kusanaba and Zongoyiri to East Mamprusi.
The natural environment is highly degraded by land clearing for farming, fuel wood harvesting, overgrazing, bush fire and harvesting of poles for construction. The gold deposits found in the rocks north of Zebilla and south of Sapelliga has increased the desire for mining by the youth. This is very clear in the Widna –Teshie zone illegal surface mining and stone quarrying are prevalent resulting in serious land degradation and the pollution surface water bodies.
The water supply conditions in the district are directly related to the underlying rocks. In the areas occupied by Birimian rocks have a high surface so that surface flow of streams generally persist throughout the dry season as observed at some places such as Komaka, Kasongo and Kubongo. The rocks weather into clay and this combines with the relatively impermeable bedrock to give conditions favorable for surface water storage.
At Komaka, famers reported year round flow of water from springs at the foot slopes of the greenstone hills separating Ghana from Burkina Faso the rich aquifer could be assessed for the development of water supplies and bottling of spring water for income generation.
At present the main sources of domestic water supply in the district are from rivers, springs, wells, boreholes, ponds and dams. There exist two Small Town Water Systems for supply of portable water to Zebilla andBinaba and their environs. The District Assembly in collaboration with World Vision International Bawku West Area Development Programme of recent has provided boreholes to increase the number of the existing watering points.
The demographic characteristics of the Bawku West District are similar to the prevailing
These characteristics include large household sizes, high illiteracy rates, that is, about 80 percent in the southern part of the district, high birth and fertility rates.
Age and Sex Distribution of Population
The district has a total usual resident population of 38,034 in 2000 according to the 2000 Population and Housing Census and this represents 24 percent increase over the 1984 Census figure of 66,973. The population of the district is 9.0 per cent of the total population of the Upper East Region and this is about 0.3 per cent increase over the 1984 Census figure.
The Bawku West District has a total labour force of 133,889 who are engaged in agricultural and non-agricultural activities. Out of this population, 80% are actively involved in agricultural production with the remaining engaged in other activities. The District has an active farming population of 107, 111 farmers made up of 48,930 males and 58,181 females engaged in agricultural production. The demand for labour is at its peak in the rainy season for most of the farming activities. The youth is the major source of the causal labour that can be tapped for both agriculture and non agriculture jobs.
The District Agricultural Development Unit is mandated to ensure food security and household incomes all year round in collaboration with other development partners. Agriculture plays an important role in the socio economic development of the Bawku West District. It provides incomes and employment for over 80% of the population. The total cultivable area is 58,406 Ha and uncultivable area of 33,687.
- Principal Agricultural Produce
Tree Crops: Mangoes, Cashew.
Industrial Crops: Sheanut trees, Tomatoes, Soyabean,Dawadawa,Rice.
Roots & Tubers: Sweet potatoes, Frafra potatoes.
Cereals : Millet, Sorghum,Maize,Rice.
Fruits & Vegetables: Onions,Tomatoes,Pepper,Okra,Leafy vegetables,Watermelon.
Legumes : Cowpea, Soyabean,Bambara nuts, Groundnuts.
The fishers in the district have been educated on the dangers of the use of unapproved fishing gear and agrochemicals in fishing activities.
Apart from crop production, livestock and poultry rearing is the second most important agricultural activity undertaken by farmers in the District. The production is largely at subsistence level. The livestock reared include, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs anddonkeys,while the poultry are guinea fowls, fowls, ducks and turkeys.
The livestock numbers over the years have been on the increase due to effective provision of animal health services and the willingness of farmers to adopt routine vaccinations, clinical, deworming etc
Under the Northern Rural Growth Programme the District facilitated ten Producer Organizations in collaboration with ACDEP and linked to the Toende Rural Bank. The total beneficiaries are hundred cultivating one hundred acres of maize.
Achieve sustainable agricultural and rural livelihoods and food security for the rural for the rural poor in Northern Ghana.
Develop remunerative and inclusive agricultural commodity chains.
Poverty reduction by addressing the three main divides.
- North – south (three northern regions combined have the highest poverty incidence)
- Rural-urban (rural poor account for 62% of poor)
- Gender (about 53% of women household heads in rural areas fall among the poorest 20% of the population)
- The three regions of Northern Ghana (UWR, UER, NR)
- Five district in Brong-Ahafo Region (Kintampo North & South, Tain, Sene & Pru)
- Strong market and productivity oriented
- Private sector led (farmers, traders, processors, exporters, service providers, financial institutions)
- Provide an incentive framework for private operators to do agricultural businesses in the north of Ghana
- Supply chain linkages approach
- Multi-stakeholder dialogue
- Public – private partnerships
- Building sustainable and lasting private institutions
- Innovation and learning
- Flexibility and phased approach
The programme have four components
- Commodity Chain Development
- Strengthening producer organization
- Establishing interprofessional bodies
- Preparing and implementing results-based commodity business plans
- Establishment and operation of commodity development fund
- Rural Infrastructure
- Small scale irrigation development
- Transport infrastructure
- Market infrastructure
- Access to Rural Finance
- Capacity building of financial institutions to better provide financial services
- Matching grants
- Micro leasing
- Programme Management and Coordination
- Programme coordination & management
- Support to M&E