Agriculture is the major economic activity in terms of employment and rural income generation in the municipality. Over 58 per cent of the working population is engaged in this sector which constitutes the main source of household income. There are about 23,798 agricultural households, representing 56.5 percent of all households in the district. The distribution of agricultural households by locality is almost even, having about half (50.6%) located in urban areas emphasizing the agrarian nature of the municipal economy.
The dominance of agriculture in the economy also implies that more efforts need to be put in the provision of agro-processing and other post-harvest facilities to curtail post-harvest loses so as to sustain the interest of the youth in crop production.
Types of farming activities
Major amongst the agricultural activities is crop farming engaging 92.6 percent of the agricultural households followed by livestock rearing (35.8%). Less than one percent of agricultural households are engaged in either fish farming (0.1%) or tree planting (0.4%). A relatively higher proportion of rural agricultural households are engaged in crop farming (95.7%) compared to urban agricultural households (89.6%). Livestock rearing is also relatively more common in the rural areas (38.4%) than urban areas (33.3%).
The Municipality grows both food and cash crops but under the system of bush fallowing and shifting cultivation. Cassava and plantain are the most common cultivated crops in terms of cultivated area and production. This is as a result of the nature of the soil in the municipality which favour the production of these crops. The cultivation of maize is also significant and thus capable of increasing in cultivation under the planting for food and jobs programme. The high yield of cassava also provides a potential for supporting industrial processing under the one-district-one factory initiative of government.
Areas of production
The birimian soil in the municipality generally supports the cultivation of wide variety of crops. However, there are areas of concentration for each of the crops across the municipality. While plantain, cassava and maize thrive throughout the municipality, rice and citrus are noted to thrive at Osiem. The northern section of the municipality also favours vegetable production while the southern sector supports oil palm production. Cocoa generally does well in all parts of the municipality.
The main aim of the MOFA Extension Service in the district is to address the felt needs of the farmers and also to assist them to increase agricultural production through the transfer of improved production and post-production technologies that would support better living standards. Technological transfer were mainly done through home/farm visits, contact farmers, groups, demonstrations, field days and for a. Prominent among innovations transfer to farmers were weed control, using weedicide, control of black sikatoga on plantain using cultural practices, raw planting, use of improved varieties like obatanpa maize, rapid yam and plantain multiplication fertilizer application and pest and diseases control.
Fish farming is one area that is gradually gaining grounds in the municipality with about 57 ponds. The highest concentration of fish farming is at Anyinasin which controls about 46% of pond construction as well as fish stocking. The major fish stock in the municipality is cat fish and tilapia which are noted to adapt favourably to the weather condition of the municipality. The Fisheries Commission provides technical support to the fish farmers in the construction, stocking and management of the ponds. A major challenge to fish farming is the absence of fish feed and marketing. The Assembly shall thus collaborate with the Commission and the Fish Farmers Association to address their challenges to enhance production in commercial quantities. Table 1.15 shows the location of fish ponds and their stocks.
Support to Agricultural Activities
The support to farmers constitutes one of the greatest challenges to improved agriculture in the Municipality. Such facilities especially when advanced by government for improved agriculture in the Municipality are always regarded as gifts with only few farmers paying back. The debt accruing from such programmes runs into millions of Ghana Cedis. While cocoa farmers continue to benefit from supply of subsidized inputs including seedlings, fertilizer and pesticides, food crop and animal rearing farmers do not receive any major incentives for production.
The introduction of subsidies under the planting for food and jobs programme is therefore a welcome development which should be sustained to encourage more youth to abandon galamsey and go into agriculture. Most of the farming communities also require motorable feeder roads to facilitate transportation of their produce to the market centers to avoid the seasonal crop loss. Under the Planting for Export and Rural Development Programme, the Assembly has initiated steps to establish an oil palm nursery at Kukurantumi for distribution to prospective farmers at a subsidized price to promote production.
Agro-Processing is considered as one of the best ways of adding value to the food and cash crops produced in large quantities if the municipality is to avid the perianal bumper harvest with its attendant high post-harvest loses. All the agro-processing activities in the Municipality are mostly small scale and comprise palm oil extraction, soap making and gari-processing. While GRIC has been producing variety of finished cocoa products at a small scale at Tafo, while a fledgling company is processing cocoa waste and noni into cosmetic products and drink. The Assembly shall take keen interest in this subsector to promote local economic development. In this regard, the Assembly shall use its status to bring about the needed linkages with investment promotion institution like GIPC, Ghana Exim Bank and Ghana Export Promotion Center as well as facilitating their participation in Trade Exhibition programmes.
Table 1.14 shows the distribution of agro-processing facilities in the municipality and their crops of specialization and ownership status.
Report from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture indicates that about 1.2 million people, representing Ghana’s population, are food insecure while 2 million are yet vulnerable to become food insecure with about 8% of them coming from the Eastern Region of which Abuakwa North is part. The situation in East Akim has been as a result of destruction of farm lands for galamsey activities and the influx of the youth in the mining sector at the detriment of farming. This is also coupled with the subsistence farming practices with its attendant low yield which is sometimes adequate only for the farming household.
The poor road network especially those linking farming communities, is also a contributing factor to high post-harvest loses which discourages farmers from expanding their farms while others completely abandon farming for the cities. The Department of Agric has also been spearheading the introduction of variety of high yielding, short duration, pest and climate resistance crops such as plantains, maize, cassava and taro to farmers who in turn have adopted them to improve output. Besides crop farming, animal rearing and fish farming are gaining prominence in the municipality with a high potential to support food and income security.
Manufacturing and Processing
Major manufacturing and processing activities in the municipality are mostly small scale and comprises oil palm extraction, soap making, gari-processing, furniture making, blacksmithing, woodworks, akpeteshie distillery and pottery. The Assembly in the plan period shall collaborate with the private sector to intensify agro-processing through the provision of the sheds and modern equipment to identifiable groups who are into oil palm and gari processing under the Government’s policy on industrialization.
Timber and Non Timber Forest Resources
The municipality can boast of timber resources. Many timber species such as mahogany and Kyenkyen etc are found in the forest reserve. The forest resources in the municipality are under siege from deforestation, habitat fragmentation and overexploitation of the timber and Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs). The forest serves as storehouse for collection of commercial fuel wood harvesting and charcoal burning to satisfy the ever-growing energy requirements of both the rural settlements and the urban communities. Other NTFPs activities of the forest reserves include collection of fruits, Mushrooms, herbs, chewing stick, cane, snails, poles etc.
Threats to large Mammal Fauna
The livelihood opportunities for the forest fringe communities are based on farming, hunting and poaching. In nearly all the forest reserves, the surrounding communities depend largely on the forest and the reserves and these activities gravely pose a threat to the large mammal fauna within the forest. Peoples desire to consume bush meat leading to increased hunting evidenced by the common sight of spent cartridges and mammal traps in the forest blocks. The games and wildlife conservation department shall be resourced to monitor and control gaming in the forest.
Farm Encroachment and Illegal logging/Chain Sawing
Forest fringe communities engage in farming activities in and around the forest and evidence exist that encroachment of the forest reserve is occurring in all forest reserves in the municipality. The activity of timber firms exploiting timber logs from the forest is also taking a greater toll on the natural timber species. Logging destroys wildlife habitat and adversely affect large mammal populations. The noise made by logging machinery disturbs the wildlife species. When the timber firms have finished their logging, illegal chain saw operators continue the menace destroying further the forest resources.
Date Created : 3/22/2019 7:26:44 AM