- PHYSICAL AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
Location and Size
Bolgatanga Municipality is located in the center of the Upper East Region, and is also the regional capital. It has a total land area of 729 sq km and is bordered to the North by the Bongo District, South and East by Talensi-Nabdam District and Kassena-Nankana District to the West. It was established by LI 1797 (2004)
Topography and Drainage
The municipality generally has gentle slopes ranging from 1% to 5% with some isolated rock outcrops and some uplands which have slopes over 10%. It falls within the Birimian, Tarkwaian and Voltaian rocks of Ghana. There is ample evidence of the presence of minerals especially gold.
Geology and Soil Types
District falls within the Birrimian rocks of Ghana. Minerals Deposits includes gold and manganese are found along Kalbeo and Sherigu areas. Large deposits of clay are found throughout the Municipality around Zaare, Gambigbo, Yikine and Kalbeo
Most of the soils in the Municipality are developed over shale, which contains abundant iron concretions and iron pan in their sub-soils. These soils constitute the groundwater laterite and occupy about 50% of the interior savannah (Adu, 1969). The groundwater laterite, due to impervious iron pan or clay pan in the sub-soil, is characterized by water logging at the peak of the rains and the resultant perennial floods around August and September which are the peak of the rainy season.
The soils are quite good along the valleys. Alluvial valleys are quite extensive and suitable for rice production. There is considerable soil erosion in the district becoming severe around most of the valleys. This is due to bad farming practices and rampant burning of bush
The climate is classified as tropical and has two distinct seasons – a wet season that runs from May to October and a long dry season that stretches from October to April; with hardly any rains. Mean annual rainfall is 950mm while maximum temperature is 45°C in March and April with a minimum of 12°C in December.
The natural vegetation is that of guinea savannah woodland consisting of short deciduous trees widely spaced and a ground flora, which gets burnt by fire or scorched by the sun during the long dry season. The most common economic trees are the shea nut, dawadawa, baobab and acacia. The municipality has a forest reserve, which primarily protects most of the water bodies in the area.
Environmental and soil erosion is evident in the municipality. The causes of which human activities such as; inappropriate farming practices, bush burning and illegal small scale mining are contributive factors. Farm lands are reduced and water bodies polluted as a result of mining and degraded lands. This influences climate change which eventually results in low agricultural productivity.
Urban water system, pipe borne limited to Bolgatanga Township. Rural system is undertaken by COWAP, Rural Aid and covers mainly rural settlements. GWSC provides water through the treatment plant at Gowrie, two (2) mechanized and 331 hand pump bore holes, 16 small scale dams and dugouts also complement the inadequate water supply systems.
- 2. DEMOGRAPHICS
2.1 Age and sex Distribution of the Population
The distribution of the population in terms of age is as follows:
0-15years; 47.7% (70,467)
15-65years 50.8% (75,046)
65+ 1.5% (2,216)
Whilst the sex distribution is as;
Male; 49% (72,387)
Female; 51% (75,342)
The Municipality has a total land area of 729 square km and 70% of this (51,030 ha) is cultivated. Eight percent (8%) of the population are peasant farmers. There are 14,145 agricultural households and with an average of six persons per household and average land holdings of between 1.0 and 3.0 ha.
Even though there are few dams and dugouts, the municipality is basically dependent on rain fed agriculture. The problems militating against agricultural development in the municipality include the following:
– Short and erratic rainfall pattern marred by dry spells and peak seasonal floods
– Inadequate feed and water for the animals during the long dry season which
cause loss of weight and poor reproductive performance of females
– Prevalence of pests and diseases of both crops and livestock.
– No improved housing and inadequacy of improved breeding stock of livestock.
– Livestock rearing is not seen as a business.
– Fish farming is a new concept to farmers.
– Inadequate water bodies in the municipality. Most of the existing water bodies dry up during the long dry season.
– Declining low soil fertility levels of the existing nutrient-deficient soils.
– Bush burning and indiscriminate cutting of trees.
– The seasonal migration of the youth from the rural areas to the urban areas.
– Unfavorable market conditions.
– Underdeveloped access roads to food producing areas.
The crops mostly cultivated by farmers during the rainy season are categorized below:
CEREALS: – Millet, sorghum, rice and maize
LEGUMES: – Groundnuts, cowpea, soybean and Bambara beans
VEGETABLE: – Tomato, pepper, okro, onion, garden eggs and leafy Vegetables
Rain fed Agriculture
The main farming system in the district is rain fed mixed cropping. Crop mixture is mostly cereal-cereal but occasionally a cereal-legume mixture.
The types of crop mixtures are:
– Early millet/Sorghum
– Early millet/late millet
– Early millet/Sorghum/local beans
Leguminous crops are normally sown sole. Land preparation is mostly done by bullocks and the hoe. However tractor is also used.
The major staple crops grown are: millet, sorghum and Frafra potatoes and the cash crops are maize, rice, groundnuts and sweet potatoes. In the below table is the production for 2004 as compared to 2003.
The Municipal Agricultural Development Unit remained the focal unit for relaying sector policies to farmers in the catchment area. This has contributed to the attainment of the following:
Increased productivity of the agricultural sector
Adoption of improved technologies and use of seeds improved varieties
Intensified extension coverage to farm and homes with relevant messages geared at ensuring food ad income security
Provision of credit in kind in the form of inputs to under privileged, vulnerable, and the youthful farmers. This has contributed to reducing the migration of the youth down south in search of non-existence jobs
Fish hunting is carried out in a few water bodies scattered throughout the municipality even though most of them still need rehabilitation. Women mostly do fish processing.
LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY PRODUCTION
Livestock and poultry rearing is the second most important feature in agricultural development after crop production. Almost all farmers are engaged in the rearing of at least one type of livestock and poultry. Apart from supplying the protein needs of the people, it is also a very good source of income for farmers especially when there is crop failure.
It must however be noted that rearing of livestock and poultry apart from swine is not normally done as a business in the villages. All the livestock and poultry being reared are normally left on free range. The intensive system of rearing is practiced on a very small-scale mostly in the Bolgatanga Township.
Achievements of the Livestock Subsector
The livestock sub sector has over the years achieved the following outputs
Built livestock farmers capacities on kraal sanitation, supplementary feeding, watering, housing, etc
Formation of Guinea Fowl Farmers Association in the Municipality
Improved animal health extension resulting in reduction of mortality and outbreaks of scheduled diseases in the mortality
Increased in the population of livestock
Livestock Development Project
The Livestock Development Project is jointly sponsored by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Government of Ghana (GoG)
Goal of the Project
The sector goal is to reduce poverty, improve food security and reduce imports of livestock and dairy products in an environmentally sustainable manner.
The specific objectives of the project are to:
Increase incomes of smallholder livestock and dairy farmers, processors and traders in the project area
Increase off take per household.
The project has five main components. These are:
Development of Animal Production
Development of Animal Health
Sector Support Project (RSSP)
Improved livelihoods of poor farmers of Northern Ghana through the development of sustainable rice sector on the natural potential of the region
To increase rice production (and productivity) and household incomes in Northern Ghana through the adoption of appropriate technologies by low- incomes and or resource poor farm households, processors, marketers, in the project target areas in the Northern Ghana and Volta Region
The project has a five year lifespan started in 2009 and ends in 2014
The Northern Rural Development Project
The goal of NRGP which is a six year programme is to achieve sustainable rural livelihoods and food security for poor rural people in northern Ghana. Its specific objective is to develop remunerative commodities and food chains to generate incomes and agricultural surplus production, which can then be directed towards markets in southern Ghana and abroad. Commodities potentially include industrial crops such as sorghum and oilseed, shea nuts, fruits, vegetables and animal products. The programme focuses particularly on rural women and vulnerable groups
The programme is been implemented in the Northern Ghana with the Municipality as one of its catchment are
Any information or communication relating to this document should be communicated to:
The Municipal Director
Ministry of Food and Agriculture
P.O Box 199
Attn.: Dr Patrick Abakey