Location and Size
Mpohor Wassa East District is located at the South-Eastern end of the Western Region. It is bound to the North East and South East by the Twifo Hemang Lower Denkyira and Komenda Edina Eguafo Abrem Districts, all in the Central Region respectively. The district is again bounded on the West and North West by the Tarkwa Nsueam Municipality and Prestea Huni-Valley District. In the south, it is bounded by Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, Shama District and Ahanta West District.
The district was carved out from Wassa Fiase Mpohor District in 1988 and occupies an area of 1880 square km (464,553 ha), of which 344 square km (85,000 ha) are used as cultivable land. The district capital is Daboase, which is 6.7 km off the Cape Coast – Takoradi main road.
The district falls within the tropical climate zone. The mean annual rainfall is1500mm and ranges from 1300 to 2000mm, with an average annual temperature of 30⁰С. The wet period in the district is between March and July while November to February are relatively dry months. The rainfall pattern has been favourably supportive of agricultural activities but makes it difficult to physically have access to areas with un-tarred roads in the district, especially during the rainy seasons.
Relief and Drainage
The district lies within the low-lying areas of the country with most parts below 150 metres above sea level. The landscape is generally undulating with an average height of about 70 metres. The highest elevation ranges between 150 and 200 metres above sea level. The drainage pattern is largely dendritic and there are medium and small rivers and streams distributed through-out the district. . Most of them originate from the Akwapim Ranges and flow southwards towards the coast.
The main rivers are the Pra, Subri, Butre, Brempong, Suhyen, Abetumaso, Hwini and Tipae. While most of them overflow their banks in the rainy season, majority virtually dry out in the dry season leaving behind series of dry valleys and rapids thus, reducing access to running water, which is the source of domestic water for most households.
The vegetation is mainly tropical rainforest interspersed with shrubs. There are two large forest reserves namely: Subri River Forest Reserve which occupies 375 square kilometers and the Pra Suhyen Forest Reserve with 204 square kilometers. There are two small ones namely the Ben West Block Forest Reserve and Ben East Forest Reserve. These forests are the semblance of virgin forest in the district. This has led to intensive lumbering activities.
According to the 2000 population census population of the district in 1970 was 27,573 and 55,801 in 1984. The total population in 2000 was 122,595 and estimated to be 163,512 in 2009 with an inter-censal growth rate of 3.2 percent, which is the same as the regional growth rate.
Males form 52.5 percent of the total population (85,844) as against 47.5 percent (77,668) for females due to the mining and agricultural activities in the district.
Subsistence and large-scale agriculture employs 71.5% of the workforce according to the 2000 population and housing census. The major staple food crops produced in the district include cassava, plantain, maize, cocoyam and vegetables. The output per yield is substantially low in the district due to traditional methods of farming with an average farm size of one acre per farmer.
About 98 percent of the farmers rely on traditional methods of farming using slash and burn, simple farm tools such as hoe, cutlass and relying on natural climate conditions for cropping. The use of tractors and other heavy machinery is limited to the oil palm plantation companies.
The predominant cash crops are cocoa, oil palm and coffee in some cases. Cocoa is usually cultivated in small to medium sized plantations, mostly by settler farmers while oil palm is cultivated on a large-scale by Benso Oil Palm Plantations (BOPP), NORPALM and Ayiem Oil Mills. The Ghana Rubber Estates Ltd (GREL) is promoting and encouraging the cultivation of rubber in the district and a number of out-grower farmers have cultivated rubber on medium and small scale plantations in various parts of the district. The West-West Agro-processing Company which is located in Ayiem, is involved in vegetable processing.
Non-traditional crops like black pepper and pineapple which are cultivated in the district have high potential of becoming export crops. Other non-traditional crops with potential for high production are citrus, cashew and banana.
Staple Food Crops
The main staple food crops widely cultivated in the district are maize, rice, cowpea, cassava, cocoyam, sweet potatoes, yam and plantain. Local vegetables such as pepper, garden -eggs, okro and tomatoes and other exotic types like cabbage are grown on a comparatively smaller scale
Livestock production forms an important agricultural activity in the district though not on a large scale as compared to crop production. It involves predominantly sheep and goat, pigs (mainly improved breeds) fowls (local and improved breeds) and few cattle.
Some non-traditional stock such as grass-cutter, rabbits and bees are reared/kept on a comparatively small scale by farmers and training is organized by some NGOs who also provide breeding stock and cages to farmers after the training
Important market centres in the district are located in Daboase, Mpohor, Sekyere Krobo, Senchem, Ateiku, Krofof rom, Adum Banso, Edwinase, New Subri, Atobasie, Ebukrom and Apeasuman. Very few of these market centres have well- developed structures.
Major Agricultural Enterprises
Large and medium scale Agricultural enterprises operating in the district include Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP) in Adum Banso, Norpalm Ghana Limited in Mpohor, Golden Star Wassa Oil Palm Plantation in Ateiku, Ayiem Oil Mills in Ayiem and West- West Agro-processing factory in Ayiem. Out-grower farmer’s schemes have been established by the large scale agricultural enterprises for farmers in various areas. Through these schemes farmers are assisted with special packages including inputs, credit and capacity building. The Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL) has also established a similar scheme for out-grower farmers involved in rubber cultivation.
A number of micro- enterprises for agro-processing that are located in various parts of the districts include processing facilities for oil palm in Adum Banso, Mpeasem, Ateiku, Aboaboso, Atobiase and Ayiem and facilities for cassava processing in Kwabaa, Awiadaso, Akotosu, Adiembra and Abroadzewurum.
Agricultural Extension Services
Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) provides extension services to farmers all over the district through its field staff, made up of the Agric Extension Agents and Zonal Officers/District Agric. Officers. Technical staff of the District Agric Development Unit (DADU) includes seventeen (17) Agric Extension Agents (AEA’s), five (5) Zonal Officers, one (1) MIS Officer and two (2) Veterinary Technical Officers.
In addition to Extension Services provided by MOFA, some Non-Governmental Organisations also provide extension services to farmers, these include BOPP,NORPALM, GREL, World Vision Int.(WVI), Wienco Limited and Cadbury Ghana Limited (Cadbury Cocoa Partnership).
Cocoa Mass Spraying Exercise – Cocoa Diseases and Pests Control Project (CODAPEC)
MOFA in collaboration with the District Assembly has over-sight responsibility for implementation of the Cocoa Diseases and Pests Control Project in the district. The District has fifty-nine (59) spraying gangs made up of 59 Supervisors and 354 sprayers, who carry-out the spraying exercise. The Ghana COCOBOD provides these spraying gangs with spraying machines, chemicals (insecticides and fungicides), premix fuel and protective clothing for the spraying exercise and the gang supervisors and chief farmers are trained every year before the start of the spraying exercise. COCOBOD also organizes training every year for Store keepers and Accounts officers attached to the Project. Allowances of the sprayers, gang supervisors and other personnel involved in the Project are all paid by the COCOBOD.
Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme
Participation of the District Agricultural Development Unit in the Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme began in 2011. Eight (8) farmers were supplied with improved cassava planting material for Secondary Multiplication, and further fifty (50) Tertiary farmers provided with improved planting material for cultivation. Multiplication of the improved planting material by farmers is to ensure that adequate quantities of cassava of the right quality are readily available for processing into gari, cassava dough, flour etc.
Inland Valleys Rice Development Project (IVRDP)
The Inland Valleys Rice Development Project in the district is located at Dompim No.1 a farming community. Most farmers involved in the Project however came from the surrounding communities and from Shama district. Rice cultivation under the Project was carried-out in three (3) valleys namely Daboase Kwando, Sukusuku and Whin Valleys. DADU works in collaboration with the Project Coordinating Unit and the rice farmers by training farmers, providing technical advice, carrying-out demonstrations and facilitating in the provision of inputs/credit to farmers and in marketing. Farmers were assisted to purchase two (2) power tillers from MOFA to facilitate in land preparation and carting of farm produce. The Inland Valleys Development Project began in 2004 with two (2) Production groups and one (1) Marketing group. The Production group made up of eleven (11) farmers (8 males and 3 females), cultivated ten (10) hectares of rice and harvested thirteen (13) tons in the first year. In 2010 five (5) production groups with a total of twenty-six (26) farmers (18 males and 8 females), cultivated twenty-two (22) hectares and harvested forty-three (43) tons of rice. There is only one (1) functioning rice-mill available to the farmers, but this is sited outside the district. Besides, most of the rice harvested is sold as paddy. Although the Project ended officially in 2011 the land development continues and is expected to be completed by end of this year (2012).
Youth in Agric. Programme / Block Farms Programme
Under the Block Farme Programme in 2010 seven (7) farmers (all male) cultivated ten (10) hectares of rice in the Pundeam Valley which is located in Krofofrom, a farming community close to Dompim No.1. MOFA provided inputs (rice seed, Weedicide, NPK – 16-16-16 and Sulphate of Ammonia) on credit to farmers. Planting started from late July while harvesting was from December to February. Approximately eighteen (18) tons of rice was harvested and inputs fully recovered. For the 2011 Block Farms Programme, MOFA once more provided participating farmer with various inputs on credit. Ten (10) hectares of land was cropped with rice in the same Valley this season..