1. The major crops grown in the municipality include:
a) Root and Tuber: yam, cassava and cocoyam
b) Cereals and legumes: maize, groundnut, cowpea, soya bean, bambara and sorghum
c) Vegetable: okro, pepper, garden eggs, tomato, water melon
d) Cash crop: cashew, mango, cocoa, citrus and oil palm
e) Others: plantain
2. The potential crops that can be invested into are: cassava, maize, soya bean, tomatoes, cashew and mango
3. Workshops that have been organized for farmers and their impacts include:
a) Use of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) to prepare bread, meat pie etc. Twenty five (25) participants benefited in the training and some of the comments they made are:
i. It cuts down on cost of production
ii. The product quality is maintained
iii. Shell life is maintained with the 20% HQCF and 80% wheat flour in bread
The participants therefore requested the Municipal Director of Agriculture to order some of the HQCF for them.
b) Multiplication of yam (white yam) to produce yam setts to avoid shortage of planting materials. Forty-one (41) farmers (33 males and 8 females) had benefitted with support from RTIMP and the results are very impressive. Eleven (11) farmers have been registered as commercial seed yam multipliers in the municipality to supply progressive farmers with yam setts by next planting season.
c) Collaboration among MOFA, IFDC and MIRPLUS demonstrated new hybrid maize varieties (30Y87, P2948W and PAN53) at Nchiraa, Amponsakrom, Duaponkor, Asuano and Tromeso in the municipality. These varieties have the potential to increase maize production in Ghana by 20% if farmers adopt. Nine Hundred and Twenty four (924) farmers attended field days organized at planting, fruiting and harvesting stages and already two hundred and forty seven acres of land have been put under cultivation for two of the varieties (30Y87 and PAN53) under the minor season block farm programme 2011.
4. Some government interventions in agriculture that farmers are enjoying in the municipality include:
a. Fertilizer subsidy where farmers pay only 50% of the cost of fertilizer type e.g. compound (NPK), sulphate of ammonia and urea has increased the use of fertilizers and thus shot up production of maize, tomato, garden eggs, etc.
b. Block Farm Programme also gives inputs on credit to farmers and this has increase the acreage under cultivation in maize and vegetables.
c. Subsidy on machinery e.g. tractors, irrigation pumps have relieve farmers of such burden.
5. Construction and rehabilitation of irrigation dams to support all year crop production.
6. Other opportunities in the municipality that investors can tap to bring employment for the society in the agricultural sector include:
i. Vast tracks of uncultivated agricultural land in the municipality for farming business in crops and livestock.
ii. The municipality is blessed with Agricultural related institutions such as the Farm Institute and Research Station that train people for middle income jobs and research in agricultural disciplines respectively.
iii. The Municipal Agricultural Development Unit (MADU) has experienced and high caliber technical staff to backstop in agricultural activities of any investor.
iv. The processing of cashew fruits into soft and alcoholic drink, jam, confectionery, etc and cashew nuts kernel into snacks, oil and pharmaceutical products.
v. The processing of cassava into starch, flour, fortified gari, etc
vi. The processing of mango into jam and natural drinks, etc
vii. Rice farming at the Northern part of the Municipality in Branam, Nchiraa and Botinso
7. The problem the agricultural sector is facing in implementing its plans to help farmers include:
a) Low agricultural extension agent (AEA) – farmer ratio
b) Late release of funds to implement activities
c) Poor state of feeder roads
d) Farmers’ failure to repay their credit given to them.
The major economic activities in the municipality are agriculture, animal and forestry employing about 75% of the working population. This district total compares with the regional average, which is estimated at 72%.
Land Tenure System
Land acquisition is not difficult in the municipality. About 81.3% of all farmers acquire their land through inheritance or are farming on family lands. The rest who have various forms of shared tenancy arrangements are mostly settler farmers.
Farms size and major crops
The farmers work on large size farms, especially those growing maize and yams. Farm sizes range from 1 acre to 10 acres and above. From Table 1.3.1 below, just 6.3% of the farmers work on farms below 5 acres and as much as 84.4% work on between 5 – 10 acres. The major crops grown are maize, yam and tomatoes. Root crops such as cassava and cocoyam are grown extensively. Plantain is also one of the major crops grown.
Total averages under cultivation for the major crops have increased steadily over the years. Yam covers the highest land space of 199,752 hectares as at 2006. In terms of yield estimates cassava yields are the highest, 21 metric tons/hectare. Again in 2006, cassava yielded 199,920 metric tons followed by yam with 115,584 metric tons. Cowpea was the least produced, 2,300 metric tons in year 2006
Access to Funds and Credit
From the survey conducted, 76.6% have no access to formal financial credit. They rely on family/friends for financial assistance. Financial institutions find it difficult to deal with traditional farmers because of their unreliable production patterns and levels. Access to funds and credit is therefore limited to few farmers. Farmers are resource poor and lack the requisite capital to expand their farms.
The government-funded projects in the area of food crop production and cashew farm development have been limited to twenty percent (20%) of farmers in the district since 2001 (Ref. food crop development project, cashew development project). Support to farmers also takes the form of input supply with direct cash support at times to on-farm labour. Repayment of such government loans have however been discouraging with recovery rate being 87% in 2003, 50% - 2004, 2005 is ongoing, cashew loan recovery – 51% for 2004; 31.6% for 2005. There is the need to link farmers (viable groups) to Micro Finance Institutions and project credit lines. e.g. CBRDP and Other donor support funds.
Access to Farming Inputs
Access to farming inputs can be said to be difficult, with all supply points located at Wenchi town. It has been suggested that there is the need to attract big time dealers to offer the required adequate services and farm inputs to farmers. Their products are cheaper and are able to respond quickly to farmers’ demands.
Disease and Pest
Disease and pest problems could be rated as average with occasional outbreak of some diseases e.g., armyworms. Diseases and pest control problems have come about as the result of the changing ecology due to intensive use of land and unsustainable cultural practices. Resistant pests and diseases of plants have become endemic for grains, legumes, tubers and tree crops, especially as a result of misuse of agro-chemicals. However, public campaigns from central government have not matched the ever-growing needs and complexity of the problems.
Local support from the public and the civil society organisations to partner the municipal Assembly is a panacea to the problem if the effort to improve agriculture to reduce poverty would be realised. As emergency response strategy, there is the need for the DA and MOFA (DADU) to collaborate in fighting emergency situations like outbreak of diseases. The formation of gangs as a rapid response in dealing with situation is recommended.
Soil fertility and Productivity
Soil fertility and productivity have reduced considerably with resultant declining crop yield. The major contributing factor has been the rampant and indiscriminate bush fires, which have limited the restoration of soil fertility on most lands.
Soil management and land conservation schemes must be introduced. Without support a lot of land and water management practices are beyond the reach of individual farmers. In order to solve the problem there is the need to adopt comprehensive land use plans for all land based activities.
Storage and post harvest management problems have resulted in high losses in roots and tubers and cereals. The absence of storage facilities and value addition to produce has been identified as the major factors responsible for the problem. Local methods of storage have more or less contributed to loss of grain quality and value for which more improved methods of storage/preservation are recommended.
Investors could be encouraged to take up the defunct Ghana food distribution storage and drying facilities located at Wenchi for mass storage of grains and cereals. The capacity is 30,000 mini bags of maize and this facility should not be left to decay.
Processing of agricultural produce is limited and there is the need to encourage more processing of produce through credit provision.
Transportation has been limited by the bad nature of roads. This has so much contributed to high post harvest losses and low farm incomes.
Marketing of agricultural produce has been slow due to limited availability of capital. Additionally, lack of business orientation and unstable producer price for farm produce has not helped much. There is therefore the need for improved access to credit facilities so that farmers could market their goods with less difficulty.
Table 1.4 below shows the current and projected levels of major crops cultivated in the district.
Sources of Labour
Hired labour is the dominant source of labour for farming in the district. From the survey, 78.1% of all labour used on the farm are hired labour followed by family labour (15.6%) and reciprocal labour, 6.3%.
As much as 73.8% use rudimentary methods such as cut, slash and burn. Tools such as cutlass and hoes are the major farm implements for all the acres of land they are working on. A few, however apply weedicides, just 6.2% use tractor for ploughing the field.
In terms of storage 18.8% store their excess produce in their kitchens and 81.2% use the traditional barns. This limits the quantity that can be stored; as such large quantities of produce are sold at low prices at harvest.
In terms of transportation, 68.8% transport their produce by head load, using either family or hired labour. The rest, 31.2%, use vehicles, such as tractor and KIA trucks, to transport their produce
Agric. Extension Service
Poor road conditions and expansive nature of the District makes it more difficult for Extension officers to reach out to more farmers and farms. The extension service/farmer ratio is 1:1000. It is therefore not surprising that as much as 75% of the farmers do not receive any technical support from the extension service department. There are few veterinary services for the livestock farmers. Services being provided by the extension staff include the following:
a. Education on good methods of farming
b. Introduction to improved planting materials e.g. maize, sorghum and cassava
c. Increased technical know how.
Others are also receiving support in modern processing methods in gari and kenkey and cashew farming.
To be able to reach a larger number of farmers, the use of mass communication strategy can be helpful eg, the use of community FM radio programmes could be encouraged.
Post Harvest Situation
Post harvest loss is a critical problem facing agriculture development in the district. The rate and magnitude of post harvest losses affect the size of agriculture incomes. Results of the survey showed that post harvest losses occur in the following ways:
- During harvesting,
- Processing and
The municipal does not have adequate basic improved storage structures and processing machines for handling farm produce, which flood the market during the main farming season thereby bringing down producer prices.
Post harvest loses is therefore, conservatively estimated between 15% and 30% for both perishables and imperishable of which the former is mostly higher. There is only one central point silo for storage of maize which is located at Wenchi town.
Few farmers have improved ventilated narrow cribs while the majority either stores their produce in their kitchens at home or barns on their farms. There is one processing factory for vegetables and fruits at Wenchi which is now in full operation.
Many rural farmers consider livestock and poultry farming as secondary occupations. Even though there are many individual cattle owners; commercial livestock and poultry production are low in the district. Cattle raring are a common economic activity around Subinso, Branam and Wenchi. Kraals have been provided to house them. There are only 3 commercial poultry producers in the whole district. These include two farmers at Wenchi and one at Subinso. The farmers have a total of 3,100 layers, Sheep, goats and poultry are kept on free range. The types and number of animals in the district between 2005 and 2006 are shown in Table….
Despite the advantages offered by the geographical location (i.e. lying within the transitional zone) the people have not utilised the abundant pasture to increase animal production.
Subinja Water Irrigation Project
The Subinja Water Irrigation Project is to support small scale farmers to do farming throughout the year especially vegetable production. The target of the Project is to improve nutritional value of the people through the Production of vegetable and support farmers to do all season farming in the District and beyond, to those who will show interest in farming.
Contribution of Women to Agriculture Development
According to global statistics, women make up 51-55% of the population of most African countries. In countries that are at war, the percentage of women may be as high as 65% because the men generally go to war.
Despite their significance as valuable contributors to agriculture, women have only limited access to agriculture extension, credit and education (UN Decade for Women 1985 – 1995).
The survey revealed that women play an important role in agricultural production. Contribution from women in agriculture in the district is very enormous. They are all involved in all agricultural activities from land preparation to harvest and post production activities.
The natives (the Bonos) are basically engaged in agricultural production with few in marketing of the farm produce. The Banda’s, on the other hand, are solely involved in marketing of the farm produce while the settlers are partially involved in the production but actively in marketing of their husbands produce. They brew pito, assist in farming activities like harvesting of the produce, fetching firewood and preparing food for men while at work. Some women are also engaged in casual or hired labour in weeding and harvesting of maize, groundnut and cowpea in particular. Other occupation of the women in Agriculture are processing of cassava into gari and ‘konkonte’
To achieve the objectives of GPRS II, for gender equity in the development process, efforts should be made to:
- Collectively organise and mobilise women around income generating activities
- Improve women’s access to infrastructure and services such as schools, drinking water, health extension and veterinary services.
- Improve women’s access to credit
- Increase their knowledge especially in the areas of income generation and productive activities
- Develop appropriate technologies in domestic and field activities and processing of agricultural produce and other activities carried out exclusively by women.
It should be noted that women’s access to extension services is an integral part of their access to available resources such as land, information, education, technical assistance and other elements that contribute to the improvement of their economic and social well being. Considering what has been stated in the foregoing section, it is necessary to develop new strategies in the Medium Term Plan in order to integrate women in the development process.