Agriculture and related activities is the main occupation of the people of the Region. According to the 2000 Ghana Population and Housing Census data, agriculture and related work occupied 66.4 percent of the population aged 15 years and above. The proportion increased slightly to 68.7 percent in 2010. The data on agriculture and related activities cover a broader area than what is meant as agricultural activities.
For the first time in the country?s Population and Housing Census, questions were asked on members of households engaged in agricultural activity, that is, involved in crop farming, tree planting, fish farming or animal rearing in the 12 months before the time of the census.
If at least one member engaged in one agricultural activity or another, such a household qualified as an agricultural household (Ghana Statistical Service, 2012).
The census found that overall, 45.8 percent of households in the country are agricultural households. In the Region, 83.7 percent of households are engaged in agricultural activities. This is almost twice the proportion in the national population.
The objectives of this chapter are two-fold:
i. to analyse the demographic and other characteristics of the agricultural households, and
ii. to analyse the types of farming activities, types of cropping, crops grown and acreages, livestock reared, numbers and keepers? and fish farming.
Households in Agriculture
Population of Agricultural Households, household size and locality
Members of an agricultural household include the head, spouse, biological children, parents, brothers and sisters, parents/in-laws, grand, step, adopted and foster children, other relatives and non-relatives. That is, all household members counted at the time of the census and not only members who are engaged in agricultural activities.
Agricultural households constitute 83.7 percent of households in the Region. Table 11.1 shows that membership of agricultural households in the Region, range from one to over ten members. Two out of every five are members of households with 4-6 members (40.9%). Nearly the same proportions have 7 or more members (39.3 %). About one out of every five households (19.8%) has 1-3 members.
The household sizes show differences between urban and rural communities. Small household sizes (1-3) are more common in urban agricultural households (22.2%) than in rural households (19.4%). Similarly, there are more large size households (7 or more) in the rural areas (39.6%) is higher than in urban communities (37.7 percent). The proportions of households with 4-6 members are almost the same in both types of localities.
Nearly 86 percent of agricultural households are in rural areas. The high concentration of the agricultural households in the rural communities confirms the assertion that, in the Region, agriculture is essentially a rural industry.
Household members in Agriculture
This section examines the households in agriculture in relation to the number of members who are engaged in agricultural activities. Out of the total population of 392,019, in agriculture, 341,472 or 87.1 percent are in rural communities, indicating that agricultural activities are predominantly for rural folks. The agricultural population is evenly distributed between males and females in the rural communities. In the urban areas however, out of the total population of 50,547 in agriculture, 54.2 percent are males and 45.8 percent are females. There are more males than females involved in agricultural activities (54.2% males and 45.8% females).
Age and sex of Heads of Agricultural Household
Most households in the Region are headed by males, and agricultural households are no exception. Male heads are 75.0 percent and female heads make up the remaining 25.0 percent. There are no urban/rural differences in the proportions.
Age and Locality
Table 11.2 gives the distribution of the agricultural households by age of heads and type of locality of enumeration.
The table shows that the proportions for the Region are quite similar to that of the total country. Within the Region, significant differences emerge between the urban and rural areas for the older age group 60 years and over.
The broad picture from the age distribution of the heads of agricultural households is that in the country as a whole and in the Region, two out of every five heads are aged fifty years or older. Most of the heads are not only farmers, but the farmers who are mostly old persons.
Types of Farming
The households in agriculture in the Region are engaged in four types of farming activities, namely crop farming, tree growing, livestock rearing, and fish farming. Table 11.3 reports on the frequency distribution of the different agricultural activities. The data indicate that many households reported involvement in more than one farming activity. The 148,660 agricultural households reported a total of 267,743 agricultural activities, giving an average of about 2 different activities per household. The two traditional activities of crop farming and livestock rearing are prominent in both urban and rural communities. The number of households reporting tree growing and fish farming are relatively very small. Fish farming, as distinct from fishing, is relatively new in the Region. The initial investment is relatively high. The growing of trees in particular requires a considerable waiting time to harvest; this is not likely to draw much interest from the substantially subsistent farming communities.
Sex of head of Agricultural households whose members engage in specific farming activities
The head of household is generally the person responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the household. The majority of households in the country are headed by males (65.3%) with female headed households constituting 34.7 percent
In the Region, 77.8 percent of all households are headed by males compared to 74.9 percent for agricultural households.
Table 11.4 relates the sex of the head of an agricultural household to the agricultural activity of the household members. It addresses the question of the proportion of a specific farming activity household that are headed by males or females. Table 11.4 shows that in the Region when all farming activities are taken into account, 74.9 percent of the households are headed by males, and 25.1 percent by females. When crop farming is considered, 75.1 percent of households who mentioned that activity are headed by males.
In the relatively new activity of fish farming the share of male headed households increased from about 75.0 percent to about 85.0 percent. However, for tree growing, which requires high initial investment and considerable waiting time to harvest, the proportion of female headed households rather increased to about one out of every three agricultural households. This increase, however, pertains more to urban communities
Crop Farming and Types of Cropping
Types of Crops
Four factors influence the types of crops cultivated; climate, vegetation, soil and drainage. Some lands are classified as suitable for farming certain crops and others are not. Acreage depends on the amounts of land and other resources available to the farmer.
Table 11.5 describes the ranking of the types of crops cultivated in the Region on the basis of the “total farms” of the crop. The table shows that the first five crops millet, groundnut, rice, maize and beans account for 82.3 percent of total farms in the Region. Additional five crops – soya beans, sorghum, okro, pepper and onion make up another 10.3 percent. In all the ten selected crops are grown on 92.6 percent of “total farms” in the Region.
Types of Cropping
Type of cropping refers to the arrangement of crops including trees on a farm or a piece of land. It is mono cropping where only one crop or tree is planted on a farm. Where two crops or trees are planted together on a farm in alternate rows, it is intercropping, and where two or more crops are planted together on a farm in a haphazard manner, it is mixed cropping.
Table 11.6 shows the type of cropping methods practised in the Region. Generally, in about one-half of the farms (52.5%) crops and trees are mono cropped. About thirty percent use inters cropping and the remaining 17.8 percent practice mixed cropping.
The table also shows that the cropping methods used vary according to the types of crop. Rice and onion are essentially mono cropped while beans, soya beans and sorghum are intercropped in most farms.
Livestock Types, Numbers and Holdings (Keepers)
Livestock rearing is the second most important agricultural activity after crop farming in the Region. Table 11.7 shows the types of livestock reared, the numbers and the average number of animals per keeper. Among the traditional livestock (sheep, goats, cattle and pig), the average number of animals ranges narrowly from 8.5 goats per keeper to 9.0 cattle. The averages are almost the same in urban and rural areas. In the birds category, (chicken, turkey, guinea fowl, dove, duck and ostrich), the average number per holder ranges from 8.5 turkeys to 20.2 ostriches. The traditional local birds, chicken and guinea fowl, because of their availability in almost every household, do not yield significantly large average numbers. The non-traditional livestock (rabbit, grasscutter) are not reared by many households.
Table 11.8 shows the proportions of livestock and keepers in the rural and urban areas. The table shows that livestock keepers are concentrated in the rural areas. The proportions range from 62.5 percent for the emerging snail rearing to 91.9 percent for yet another emerging venture (grass-cutter rearing).
The keepers of traditional livestock and birds are very highly concentrated in the rural areas. In terms of numbers of animal and birds, the distribution is skewed to the rural areas within a narrow range. It can therefore be concluded that livestock rearing is essentially rural based.
Fish farming is not a common activity in the agricultural households in the Region. Only 7,351 persons or 4.9 percent are engaged in fish farming. This category is made up of 1.1 percent engaged in modern fish farming, 3.8 percent in inland fishing. Generally, as with livestock, Table 11.9 shows that over 80.0 percent of the holdings are in the rural areas. The actual number of fish (basket or fingerlings) is also far higher in the rural areas except for the modern category of fish farming (51.7% urban).
Date Created : 11/30/2017 5:42:30 AM
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