The Ejura-Sekyedumasi District is one of the 27 districts in the Ashanti Region, which was established by the Legislative Instrument 1400 (L. I. 1400) of 29th November, 1988. It was carved out of the then Sekyere and Offinso District.
LOCATION AND SIZE
The District is located in the Northern part of Ashanti Region and is bounded on the North by Nkroanza North and Atebutu District of the Brong Ahafo Region. To the East by the Sekyere Central, to the South by Sekyere West and Mampong and to the West by the Offinso North District, Nkoranza North and Nkoranza South Districts. The District covers an area of 1,782.2 sq km which is about 7.3% of the total land area of the Ashanti Region. Ejura, the District capital is 106 km from Kumasi, the Regional capital.
RELIEF AND DRAINAGE
The southern part of the District has a smooth rolling topography with valleys as deep as 35 metres and peaks as high as 315 meters above see level.
The range of hill, which runs eastwards through Ejura and Mampong, forms part of the Kintampo-Koforidua range and represents the highest point in the District Notable hills in the district include
- Kwasi Mahu Hills (1,350ft)
- Ejurachen Scarp
- Dente Scarp
Almost the entire forest reserve occurring in this area is a scarp. The Northern part of the district is fairly flat and undulating with elevations ranging mostly between 150-300 metres.
Ejura is located on an altitude of about 228 metres. The flat and undulating topography allows for mechanized farming.
The District is drained by a number of rivers and their tributaries. The main rivers are Afram, Akobaa, Chirade, Bresua sua, Subonta, Soko, Brensua and Borahoho. The minor rivers include Aberewa, Yaya and Baba. With the exception of Afram, all the others are seasonal.
CLIMATE AND VEGETATION
Ejura –Sekyedumasi District lies in the transitional zones of the semi-deciduous has bimodal type of rainfall of the semi-deciduous Forest and Guinea Savanna zones. The District experiences both forest and savanna climatic conditions.
High temperatures with a mean monthly of 21°C – 30°C are generally experienced. January – April is the warmest months whereas July- August is the coolest. “Easter wind” which is a period of windstorm exceeding 4 Knots (MSD,1985) occur in April and cause lodging to crops and trees as well as damage to buildings.
The district has bimodal rainfall. The raining season is April- November. The major season is April – august whereas the minor season is August – November.
The dry season occurs between November-April and during this period, the North – East trade winds (Harmattan) blows dry and dusty winds across the district. The annual rainfall for the district varies between 1,200 mm – 1,500 mm. Generally, the rainfall pattern is very erratic and unreliable. Monthly average rainfall in the district is shown in the table below.
The rainy periods are associated with very high humidities . Relative humidity as high as 90% is experienced in June and as low as 55% in February. The District is the driest in the Ashanti Region.
The district has both forest and savanna vegetations. The South-Eastern part has semi-deciduous forest vegetation, while the northern part has derived or open savanna vegetation (Guinea Savanna).
The Guinea Savanna vegetation consists of tall grasses interspersed with short fire-resistant tree species. Common grass species in the district are; Andropagon, Beckeropsis, Plasmodium and Rottbela while common trees include: Butyrospermum, Damella, lophira and vitex.
The trees are generally scattered with thick corky barks which are frequently twisted and guarled showing forest region, common economic trees include odum, wawa and sapele as well as other lesser-known species. Logging has depleted most of the economic trees.
The soils in this district fall under the forest and savanna ochrosols groups. Forest ochrosols are found in the cocoyam, and plantain growing areas. Others classify the soil under Ejura-Amantin Association or Sene Soil Association. The soil is deep, light in colour well aerated and drained with moderate supply of organic matter and plant nutrients. Most soils has good water-holding capacity very easy to work and are well adapted to mechanized cultivation. The soil range from sandy loam or clay. The soils are suitable for growing maize, millet, groundnuts, cowpea, guinea corns, yams, cassava, garden-eggs, tomatoes etc.
IMPLICATION OF THE PHYSICAL FEATURES FOR DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT RELIEF, CLIMATE AND VEGETATION
The climate is very suitable for cereal production, cashew, teak, vegetable, yam, cassava, livestock and poultry production, grasscutter and bee-keeping the potential of livestock production is very high because of the savanna vegetation, which is very ideal for livestock production. With respect to poultry, the production cost (input) is lesser in the District than in other districts because of the production of maize in the district.
The topography of the soil makes mechanization of farming very easy. This therefore calls for large scale farming in the district.
Ejura Sekyedumasi District has a population of 81,115.51.77% are males whereas 48.23% are females. The population is 2.2% of the population of Ashanti Region. About 48.8% of the people live in the urban centers namely Ejura and Sekyedumasi whilst 51.2% live in rural areas. According to the 2000 population census, Ejura has a population of 29,478 excluding Ashakoko whiles Sekyedumasi has 10,085. Apart from these two settlements all other settlements have population below 5000.
The district is heterogeneous society with Akan ethnic group forming the majority. Other ethnic groups include Dagombas, Dagartis, Kotokolis, Grumas etc.
About 65% of the population are Muslims, whiles 30% are Christians. The remaining 5% are traditionalist.
About 60% of the labour force is engaged in Agriculture. This is followed by those engaged in trading and other institutional workers, manufacturing and professionals (largely teachers).
Tourism attraction in the district are Tigare shrine festival at Babaso, Yam festival at Ejura, naturally made bridge over River Subonta, naturally made Oware all at Anyinasu. There is also the warrior prayer camp at Sekyedumasi. These can be properly developed to provide tourism.
Hotel and restaurant services are also available mostly in Ejura.
The District has two hospitals, one health centre, four clinics, eight PHC and twenty-five TBAs. There are three doctors in the district. Provision of orthodox health services is complemented by traditional medical practice. There are several herbalists who provide medical services based on herbal medicine
Electricity is enjoyed in ten (10) communities of the district. These communities include Ejura, Sekyedumasi, Anyinasu, Kasei, Nkwanta, Hiawoanwu, Bonyon-Dromankuma, Ebuom and Miminaso No 1.
Housing delivery in the district may be considered satisfactory in terms of quantity. Housing conditions in the district are generally poor, which is a reflection of the low incomes of the inhabitants. The commonest materials used are landcrete blocks, mud, wattle and daub, iron sheets and thatch.
Most of the roads in the district are feeder roads, which are in very poor conditions physical accessibility to services is poor. Only 20 km length of road is asphalt. Public transport is inadequate. The main modes of transport are tractors, motorcycles, bicycles and some few taxis.
There are four (4) rural Banks, one (1) Agricultural Development Bank and one (1) Ghana Commercial Bank in the district.
The Rural Banks are Otuasekan, Sekyedumasi, Kasei/Amantin Community Bank and Ejuraman Rural Bank.
CONDITION OF THE ENVIRONMENT
The most prevalent farming practice in the district is the slash and burn method. This practice exposes the land to erosional activities leading to excessive leaching and erosion making the soil highly infested. It also destroys the vegetation and consequently charges the ecology of the district. Bushfire also threatens the vegetative cover of the district. Due to the activities of game hunters and some farmers. Felling of trees for firewood and charcoal production have also contributed to the depletion of the vegetation and calls for intensive afforestation to address the problem of land degradation.
There are large deposits of sand and gravel in Ejura, Anyinasu, Frante, Nkwanta, Babaso and Beme. Clay deposits are also found at Nkwanta, Frante, Aframso, Dukukrom and Nkwaseakan. Stone deposits are also found in Anyinasu and Sekyedumasi. In all case, the minerals are not properly explored.
Access to good drinking water supply is very essential not only for human well-being but also for agricultural and industrial development. The District is however, characterized by water shortage in many towns and villages, especially in the dry seasons because most of the rivers and streams dry up in the dry season.
The main sources of water supply in this district are;
- Rivers and streams
- Hand-dug wells
- Boreholes with pumps
- Pipe-borne water from mechanized boreholes
Six (6) communities namely Ejura, Sekyedumasi, Kasei, Hiawoanwu, Nkwanta and Babaso enjoy pipe – borne water, there are also 178 bore-holes in 68 communities of the district.
POST AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
The district is served by one post office located in Ejura and two postal agencies located at Sekyedumasi and Anyinasu. Telephone facilities are inadequate. Ejura, Sekyedumasi, Bonyon and Kasei enjoy telephone facilities. Public telephone booths have been installed in Ejura, Sekyedumasi, Anyinasu, Frante, Drobon and Nkrampo. There are also private communication centres.
This is a major activity in the district. It employs about 35% of the labour force in the district after agriculture. Commodities which are brought and sold include industrial and agricultural goods.
Farm implements, footwear, used-clothing and textiles are the main industrial goods traded in the district. These are brought from Accra, Kumasi, and Mampong. The major agricultural goods are yams, rice, maize, groundnuts, cowpea, cassava and plantain.
The major marketing centres in the district are Ejura, Anyinasu and Sekyedumasi. Mondays are market days for Ejura, Tuesdays and Thursdays are Anyinasu and Sekyedumasi respectively.
There is no large scale manufacturing industry in the district. There are only micro and small scale industries like blacksmithing, metalworks, woodworks, gari processing, soap making, groundnut oil extraction and pito brewing. Services like sewing, barbering and hairdressing are also rendered.
The establishments of manufacturing and processing industries are being facilitated by its numerous resource base including agriculture produce and forest resource base including agriculture produce and forest resources which serve as inputs.
The Business Advisory Centre (BAC) has been established under the Rural Enterprise Project (REP) to serve as a focal point for the promotion and development of micro and small scale industries in the district.
There are investments potentials in the district. The areas include;
- There are large trades of land and ideal soil types for the commercial production of maize, rice cowpea, groundnuts, yams, cassava, mangoes and vegetables.
- Production of non- traditional export crops like cashew
- Fish farming – the Aframso Valley Bottom irrigation project site where infrastructure is already in place is available for improvement and expansion.
- Tree crop plantation – Teak, mango and cashew
- Cassava processing plants to process cassava into industrial starch for pharmaceutical and textile industries
- Canning of tomatoes, garden eggs, pepper and mangoes for local consumption and export
- Abundant forage for livestock (cattle, sheep, coat etc) rearing
- Maize, Groundnut and cowpea and produced on commercial scale in the district which could be processed to weaninix as an important substitute for baby food, as well as cereal food products.
- Marketing of agric produce, particularly maize
10. Cultivation and processing of soyabeans
11. There is an existing Dairy plant at Sekyedumasi which requires improvement and expansion.
COMMUNITY NEEDS AND ASPIRATIONS
The following community needs and aspirations have been realized after an interface with community members and opinion leaders;
- Extension of electricity supply
- Provision of portable water facilities
- Provision of toilet facilities
- Improvement in road infrastructure
- Additional health care facilities
- Construction and rehabilitation of school infrastructure
- Extension of credit to farmers and small scale entrepreneur
- Additional postal facilities
- Irrigation facilities
10. Provision of employment opportunities
About 80% of the land in the district support crop production. The location of the district within the forest/ savanna transition zone allows the cultivation of both forest and savanna adapted crops; thus maize, yams, cassava, cowpea groundnuts, plantain, guinea corn and rice are produced in the district.
Mangoes, avocados, cashew, guava and sheer nuts are the tree crops cultivated in this district. Vegetables such as garden eggs, okro, tomatoes and pepper are also produced. The district remains the leading producer of maize and yams in Ashanti Region. It is estimated that the district produces 28,861 tons of maize, 33,034 tons of yams, 2,716 tons of cowpea, 5,318 tons of plantain, 17,046 tons of cassava, 934 tons of rice and 751 tons of groundnut.
The area, yield and production estimates for the district in 2007 are given below.
Table: Area, yield and production estimates for 2007.
|Total No of Holders Cultivating||3,952||7,068||1,905||1,184||2,060||13,222||4,287|
|Average Cropped Area per Holder (Ha)||0.42||0.61||0.33||0.84||0.5||1.02||0.43|
|Estimated Cropped Area (Ha)||1,659.84||4,311.48||628.65||994.56||1,030||13,486.44||1,893.41|
|Average Yield/ Crop (Mt/Ha)||10.27||0.63||8.46||0.94||0.73||2.14||17.92|
|Estimated Crop Production (Mt)||17,046.55||2,716.23||5,318.37||934.88||751.90||28,860.98||33,033.90|
Source: DADU SRID report (2007)
Table: ESTIMATED CROP PRODUCTION (MT FOR 2003 – 2008)
Source: DADU SRID report
Table: ESTIMATED CROPPED AREA (HA) FOR 2008
Source: DADU SRID Report
Farming in this district is dominated by small-scale subsistence farmers who cultivate plots of less than 2 hectares. The average area per farm unit for a household is about 1.6 hectares. Crop production is basically rainfed. Some mechanized farming is practiced by farmers engaged in maize, and rice production. The traditional shifting cultivation system as described as the “slash and burn” or the bush fallow system is the prevailing system of cultivation.
The selected farmland is cultivated until, such time that crop yields begin to decline due to loss in soil fertility. This occurs after three or more years depending on the fertility of the soil and the types of crops cultivated. Maize may be produced on the same land for five or more years by the use of chemical fertilize since irrigation systems are not widespread, most farmers depend on the rains, thus shortening the cropping season and limiting it to the rainy months of May through November
Technology application in the agricultural sector is low. Thus most of the operations are manual. Simple farm implements like the hoe, cutlass and axe are the common tools used by farmers. However, on the mechanized farms, ploughs, tractors, fertilizers, irrigation and other inputs for modern farming prevail. Most farm operations are done by the farm family.
This involves the production of cattle, goats, sheep and poultry. It is growing in significance in Ejura, Aframso, Sekyedumasi, Kasei and other communities in the district due in part to the livestock development project (LDP) which has been of immense help to livestock farmers in the district in terms of training, credit etc. Also many farmers now see livestock rearing as more profitable than crop production.
There is a sheep breeding station of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the district which produce improved breeds for the livestock farmers in the district. Many farmers keep their animals except cattle on free range. Livestock production is mainly a part-time and a predominantly female dominated.
The primary constraints in this enterprise is seasonal forage deficit. During the raining season, there is an abundance of neatly available forage whose nutritive value is adequate until the other problems are high cost of veterinary drugs and poor management dry season, which the nutrient level of the grasses drops.
Common animal disease that affect livestock include Pestes Petits Ruminants (PPR) which affect mainly sheep and goats pneumonia and diarrhoea which affect sheep, goats and cattle.
This is an insignificant economic activity in the district due partly to absence of large rives. However, it is becoming an important activity at Aframso where the Afram Valley provides a high potential.
MARKETS AND MARKETING
Market is very important for the development of local economy. Exchange of goods and services between people inside and outside the district lead to economic growth due to the multiplier effect. Ejura and Sekyedumasi owe their growth and importance to being marketing centres for maize, yams, cowpea, groundnuts and vegetables.
Three major weekly markets prevail in the district. The Ejura market on Mondays is the principal trade centre in the district. The second largest market is the Sekyedumasi market which is held on Thursdays whilst the Anyinasu market on Tuesdays is the third largest. There is a daily market in most communities of the district. People from Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Northern Regions visit these markets to buy and sell.
Crop storage is generally a major problem for perishable crops especially plantain, cassava, tomatoes and garden eggs which needs market within a week after harvesting due to their short half- life. Yams and cocoyam are difficult to store but can be kept under ground for some time before harvesting when market is available. Maize is mostly stored as cobs in barns in farmers homes. However, shelled maize are properly dried and treated with the recommended insecticide and stored for some months before consumption. Postharvest losses of major crops in the district are shown in table.
Table 5: Post Harvest losses of major crops
|Crop||Post harvest loses||Major causes|
|Poor storage structure|
Currently, there are five (5) projects in the district. There are;
- Livestock Development Project (LDP)
- Root and Tubers Improvement Project and Marketing Programme (RTIMP)
- Inland Valleys Rice Development Project (IVRDP)
- Millennium Development authority (MiDA)
The District is home to Ejura farms of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture where there is large tract of land for the cultivation of crops, especially maize and rearing of livestock, especially cattle. There are silos for the storage of maize in this farm.