Agriculture constitutes the main economic activity and a major source of livelihood for the majority of the rural dwellers. According to the 2010 Population and Housing Census, the agriculture sector provides employment for about 42.5% of household head in the District. This include livelihood for the people through direct farming, distribution and marketing of farm produce and other service to the agricultural sector. It forms the basis of successful operation of the thriving market in the district and other sister districts. The main agricultural activities considered here include crop farming (48.1%) livestock rearing (36.5%), and fishing and agro-forestry.
Agriculture in the district contributes to food security, provides raw materials for local industries, generates foreign exchange, and provide employment and incomes for most of the population (especially those living in the rural areas), thereby contributing to poverty reduction.
The Ada West District is noted for the cultivation of cassava, maize, legumes, fruits and varieties of vegetables. With the exception of maize and cassava, the District account for more than 50% of the regional output for these crops.
The above table shows the production level and the area cultivated for the various crops from the year 2010 to 2013. It can be noted that the total production level in the district is not constant over the years. For year 2011 and 2013, production increased by 4% and 10% respectively. This trend can be attributed to a number of factors.
During these periods, average amount and distribution of rainfall was normal. The years also witnessed introduction of high yielding and short duration crop varieties for tomatoes to farmers under the block-farm programme. Again these two periods also enjoyed availability of farm inputs, subsidised fertilizer; timely supply of private tractor services and ready market for improved varieties of vegetables.
However, the situation was not the same for 2012. In 2012, production recorded a decrease from 3% to 4% from the 2011 production level since the conditions that prevailed in 2011 and 2013 were absent. The main crops and their major production areas are indicated in the Table1.5.3 below.
Livestock rearing is another important agricultural activity in the district. The livestock identified in the district are cattle, sheep and goats, pig, poultry (fowls, turkey, duck, and guinea fowl.).
Sege, Koluedor and Caesarkope are the main cattle rearing areas in the district. The average stock is about 80 animals per kraal except for few kraals where there are over 100 animals. It can be observed that the production of fowl, pig and grass-cutter in the district is dwindling over the years. The challenges in the rearing of these animals include the difficulty in accessing funding, high cost of production and importation of frozen fee.
The feeding system is the open grazing with either hired herdsmen or children of kraal owners who are not in school. The natural vegetation provides much of the livestock forage and there is no supplementary feeding especially in the dry season when the vegetation dried up. In the dry season when the vegetation is burnt off and drinking water is scarce, herdsmen have to migrate with their livestock in search of water and feed in Shai Hills and along the Volta River. During that period, some of the animals lose weight and some die.
The major diseases that threaten the livestock industry in the district include Rinderpest, CBPP, Trypanosomiasis, Mange, PPR, Streptothricosis, and Tuberculosis, New Cattle disease and Fowl pox. While farmers are aware and gradually report these diseases, drugs for their treatment are so expensive that the farmers are helpless and are reluctant to report any such outbreak. The livestock industry in the district particularly with regards to the cattle comes along with some challenges. One of the challenges is the destruction of crops by livestock and the sharing of the same source of drinking water with the people in the communities. This has brought conflicts and sometimes unwarranted clashes between livestock owners and farmers.
The Ada West is noted for marine fishing activities. The major fishes harvested are King Fish, Anchovy, Mackerel, Tuna Spp, Shrimp, Herrings and Baracuda. Most of the fish cashes were smoked, dried and packaged to Kasseh, Denu, Agbogbloshie, Mamprobi, and Techiman markets for wholesale. The fishing gears commonly used are beach seine, set net, Nifa Nifa, Ali, Poli, and Watsa.
The fishermen have a total of 368 canoes distributed in the fishing communities which are: Wokumagbe (25), Akplabanya (165), Anyamam (110), Goi (32), Lolonya (26), Kpotsitsekorpe(4) and Kablavu (6). In each of these communities are established landing beach committees to superintend over the fishing activities and also to manage the .premix allocation.
The Fisheries Commission is charged with responsibility of managing the fisheries resources and it is done in collaboration with the Community Based Fisheries Management Committee (CBFMC) in the fishing communities.
The Fisheries Act 2002 9Act625) and the Fisheries Regulation 2010 (L.I 19680 provides the operational guidelines.
The District has the right to pass a Bye-law and have it gazetted for the CBFMCs in the District. The Bye-law was passed in 2005 but not gazetted. There is therefore the need to review the Bye-law to be gazetted. The major issue confronting the fisheries industry is the use of illegal fishing methods and gears which go a long way to affect the fish stock and fish catch in the district.
The processed fishes are sent to major marketing areas. The main outlets include Kasseh, Akatsi, Techiman, Accra, Koforidua and Kumasi. The industry is bedevilled with the use unapproved fishing inputs, high cost inputs and non-availability of infrastructure like cold store to support the industry.
The main challenge of the fishing industry in district is the lack of fishing inputs and inadequate capacities in terms of the needed modern technology to boost the harvesting of fish.
Agricultural development depends on a host of complementary activities. In Ada West, the erratic rainfall pattern experience makes the development of irrigation facilities very critical for agricultural promotion.
The District has great potential for irrigation development. There are a vast flat stretch of arable lands but the over dependence on the rain-fed agriculture accounts for the frustration faced by farmers. In the face of unreliability of rain, most farmers depend on alternative water source for agriculture production. Some farmers depend on dugout wells and small dams scattered across the district but left to break down without realising the maximum benefits. In the district, three methods of irrigation are extensively adopted. These include: Dams, Tube Well/Sprinkler, Pump Flood System and Pump Canal System.
The practice of agricultural mechanization is limited in the District because of the high cost of operation. There are a few trained tractor operators and repairers who facilitate the farming activities. There are also outboard motor repairers who support the operation of fishermen in the fishing industry.
Storage facilities for vegetables, fish and meat as well as technologies for their processing are lacking and these facilities and services are needed to improve production and improved livelihoods.
A cold storage tank for smallholders’ for milk collection is located at Sege from which the extracted milk from the cattle is transferred to bulk buyers such as Fan Milk Company and other processors in Accra. Under a FAO Technical Cooperation Project, milk producers have been linked to train processors especially yoghurt producers and as a sources of market for fresh milk and for improved nutrition and livelihood.
The vision of developing an agro-based industrial economy will not materialized if appropriate production and distribution systems are not properly developed. Marketing provides the basic channels through which production can be strongly sustained.
Ada West as a newly created district lacks a well-developed market to promote a vibrant economic activity. There is however a mini-market at Sege that seems to be busy daily
throughout the week. Traders from surrounding districts trade in this market with food stuffs like plantain, yam, cassava and fruits.
The basic function of this market is mainly retailing of agricultural produce mainly fish, tomato, pepper, cassava and maize. As a result of inadequate market infrastructure, and absence of well-organized market in the district, most of the products are sold at low prices at farm gate to the detriment of the farmers.
A commodity flow study conducted by the DADU in 2010 shows that the District is a net importer of agricultural produces. However, the analysis concluded that, the volume of endogenous commodities, mostly foodstuffs, which flows out of the district, is greater than the exogenous commodities. The district relies on these neighbouring districts for the purposes of industrial goods which it does not have the capacity to produce. To a large extent, the volume of foodstuffs emanating from other districts onto the market at Sege is extremely negligible.
The Agro-forestry sub-sector of the Agriculture sector is quite negligible since majority of the farmers do not have the necessary dexterity to engage in the sector. The District is quite noted for the cultivation of food crops especially vegetables and to a large extent enjoys a comparative advantage in its production.
Potentials for Agriculture Development
The Gulf of Guinea and the vast wetlands is very large resource base for marine fishing and eco-tourism. The large savannah plains are suitable for irrigation, livestock rearing and large scale farming among others. These resources are opportunities for investment in areas such as processing of water melon, tomatoes, and pepper, mango and dairy products (there is an existing Milk collection point at Sege). The presence of NGOs and financial institutions provides opportunities for collaboration.
Some of the major constraints hindering a swift growth of the agriculture sector include low crop yield and output due to low soil fertility and over-dependency on rainfall; unsustainable agriculture practices; limited number of extension services; low agriculture mechanization; low exploitation of groundwater for irrigation purposes due to lack of irrigational inputs; incidence of limited value addition and high post-harvest losses as well as limited access to marketing centres due to poor road network.
Date Created : 11/17/2017 5:14:22 AM