As observed in the country as a whole, agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the District. Agriculture production is mainly at subsistence level with an average farm size of 3.4 acres. The land tenure arrangements, which are important in agriculture, are owner occupancy (farmer’s own land) and share tenancy (land lease to farmer to cultivate and produce, sharing outcome between the land owner and the farmer).
The total land under cultivation is about 20.3 nectars. The main agricultural activity that is carried out in the District is farming (crop farming), with quite a significant proportion of the people engaged in fishing and livestock rearing.
The farming practice usually adopted by farmers in the District is mixed cropping. The main reason for this is due to the issue of land acquisition, which is a problem of almost all the farmers. This is also a major contributor to the deforestation of the District. The major and minor crops produced in the District are shown in Table 1.b.1 and Table 1.b.2.
Source: Field Survey, MOFA ,2006
Source: Field Survey, MOFA 2006
From Tables Table 1.b.1 and Table 1.b.2., it can be seen that cassava and vegetable production dominate the various types of crops grown in the District. However, the production of these crops and other ones are in their primary stages with over 78% of the farmers in the District using traditional methods such as slash and burn and utilizing simple farming tools like hoes and cutlasses. These methods lead to very low output levels.
Besides the crops identified in the tables, other legumes such as groundnuts, cowpeas, as well as tree crops such as mangos, palm tree products and cereals (especially rice) are also produced on a small scale. The major farming areas in the District as Asesewa, Sekesua, Akateng, Otrokper, Tenguanya and the mostly rural areas.
A common feature existing in the farming areas is that farm holdings are small and scattered in distant locations. Such distribution of farm holdings in different places is the result of inadequate land at one place. This inhibits the use of farm machinery for commercial agriculture.
The type of tools used on the farms is energy sapping which only the youth can do better. However, information gathered revealed that about 58% of farmers are aged above 40 years. Out of this 12% are above 60 years old. Farming is therefore undertaken by the aged in the District. Household labour is mostly used with some depending on hired labour while others combine the two. Few people use co-operative labour.
Storage facilities for farming produce are basically the traditional type as shown in Table 1.1b3.
Type of Storage Facilities Used in MKD, 2006
Type of storage facilities
Barn and Roof storage
As shown in the Table 1.1b3.., modern storage facilities do not exist for the farmers. Hence, storage is based solely on traditional methods. Maize and beans are the produce that is usually better stored. Crops like cassava and vegetables have no storage facilities, hence there is always a glut on the market when there is a bumper harvest leading to low prices and income from these produce.
Marketing Middlemen and women largely determine Marketing and Distribution of farm produce from within and outside the District. Almost all farmers sell their produce at the nearest market at prices usually determined by the buyer. Prices of farm produce are generally low due to lack of storage facilities. This lack of storage facilities forces the farmers to sell their produce soon after harvest, no matter the prices that are offered.
The main extension agency in the District is the extension service of Department of Food and Agriculture. There is a staff of ten extension staff in the District who gives technical advice to farmers on crop production, preparation, pest and disease control, soil conservation and other areas. Due to the low level of extension officers, there are inadequate extension services, with only 26.7% of the farmers in the District having access.
The principal source of funding for farming activities is the farmer’s own savings. Thus, about 68.7% of the District farmers depend solely on their own savings. Some farmers are also utilizing other sources like private moneylenders and help from relatives.
Credit facilities, in terms of soft loans from the financial institutions, are naturally non-existent (the Manya Krobo Rural Bank and the Upper Manya Kro Rural Banks). This could have helped the farmers improve or expand their activities. Data available shows that only 9.3% of the farmers in the District benefit from bank loans, which implies that micro-financing support would help.
Land Tenure System
Land is a very crucial ingredient in the production process. Its ownership and use have a very significant effect on the agriculture production. In the Manya Krobo District, land is acquired in the following ways: individual ownership or inheritance from family, rent or hire from landowners, or by mortgage. The land tenure arrangements include:
- Owner occupancy where the farmer is the owner of the land on which he or she works and provides all the necessary inputs for production.
- Share tenancy where there is the “abunnu” or the “abusa” share cropping system. Under this system, the landowner leases the land to the farmer. The farm produce are shared equally (abunnu) or are shared by a third of the produce going to the landlord, while two-thirds goes to the tenant (abusa).
A baseline sample survey conducted for 150 farmers’ households in several parts of the District revealed six ways of acquiring land. These are through the chief, family head, lease, inheritance, private-ownership and hiring. About 32.7% of the farmers interviewed acquired their land through inheritance, 22.7% acquired their land through lease, 18.7% acquired their land through family heads, 8.7% acquired their land through outright purchase (private ownership), 5.3% acquired their land from other sources such as the Volta River Authority and 2.7% acquired their land from chiefs. About 51.4% of the farmers acquired their land through inheritance or through family heads.
On the terms of land acquisition, 50.7% of the farmers interviewed acquired their land free of charge, 23.3% by sharecropping and 16.7% by fixed rent. On share cropping, the farm products are shared according to the tenancy agreements that differ from crop to crop and by the location. The main types of sharecropping are the “abusa” (two-thirds to the farmer and one-third to the landowner) and “abunu” (half to the tenant farmer and half to the landowner).
From the survey about 76.7% of the tenant farmers shared their products equally with the landowners, while 23.3% took two-thirds and gave one-third to the landowners. In both cases, the tenant farmer provides the inputs while the landowner provides the land. There is also an unfavourable land tuner system.
Livestock and Fisheries Production
Some of the farmers are engaged in animal rearing, but only a few do so, on a large scale or commercial basis (15%). The types of animals commonly reared include sheep, goats, cattle, poultry, pigs and ducks. Poultry keeping is the largest livestock activity. The main livestock rearing areas in the District are Akuse, Kpong, Okwenya, Oborpa, Asowa, Anyaboni, Akorkorma, Sisiamang, and Sekesua.
Fishing is another important agricultural activity that is carried out by some people in the District. Among the fishing areas in the District are Kpong, Akuse, Akateng, Akorkorma, Akrusu, Pompoiinya and Akotwe.
There are two fish farms in the District at Kpong and Akuse. Tilapia is the common fish in the District. Smoking, salting and freezing are the current methods of preserving the fish. The District has one cold storage facility at Abanse near Odumase. Marketing of fish is done mostly at the local market. At times, middlemen go to the riverside to buy the fish.
Key Problems and Difficulties in the Agricultural Sector
The agricultural sector, which was earlier mentioned as the backbone of both the local and the national economies, is beset by numerous problems and difficulties.
- Poor Roads / Inadequate Road Network
- High Input Cost
- Land Acquisition
- Poor Storage
- Pest and Disease
- Bad Weather
- Poor Soil
The agricultural sector is saddled with many problems and difficulties. These can be considered as the main reason for low productivity in the sector. Among these problems, the problem of poor roads and inadequate road networks is the main problem enumerated by most farmers. Its effect is very severe by limiting access to and from producing areas, resulting in low prices. Farm inputs, on the other hand, are extremely expensive.
Inadequate funds or capital, coupled with high input cost, usually pose a threat to agricultural activities in the District. These prevent farmers from having access to modern inputs, like tractors combined harvesters, improved seeds and chemicals, which would help them to engage in commercial or large-scale agriculture, resulting in an often low level of agriculture technology.
The problem of marketing is compounded by lack of storage facilities, especially for vegetables. Hence, farmers are compelled to sell at any price quoted by middlemen and women, whose activities appear to undermine the value of the farmers work. Another problem affecting the agriculture sector is an over dependence on rain fed agriculture, due to lack of irrigation and water storage facilities.
Within this sector, there are also the problems of degradation of forest, annual bush fires and land degradation due to erosion caused by the farming population utilizing whatever meager means possible to make money and clear the land. To rejuvenate the District’s economy; these problems need to be addressed.
Date Created : 11/26/2017 2:51:37 PM