The Asante Akim South District is one of the 27 districts in the Ashanti Region. It was carved out of the then Asante Akim District in 1988 in furtherance of Government’s decentralization policy.
It has a land area of I,217km2 (472.4sq. miles) drained by the Bosompra, Kume, Subin and Anum rivers and a number of perennial and seasonal streams. The Kwahu-Mampong - Kintampo ridge passes through the district in the east. The district is situated in the eastern part of the region and is the GATEWAYTO ASHANTI’ from the Eastern and Greater Accra Regions.
It is bounded in the north and northwest by the Asante Akim North Municipal and in the west by the Ejisu-Juaben Municipal. Bekwai Municipal /Bosome-Freho is on its southwest border; and the eastern border which coincides with the boundary between the Ashanti and Eastern Regions is shared with the Kwahu South, Kwahu West and Birim North Districts all in the Eastern Region.
There are in all, one hundred and three (103) settlements; the major ones being Juaso, Obogu, Adomfe, Dampong, Morso, Kurofa, Asankare, Adomfe, Bompata and Ofoase. The people are mainly Akans (Akuapems, Kwahus, Akims, Fantes and Ashantis) playing host to other ethnic groups like Ewes, Krobos, Guans, Gas and people from the northern part of Ghana.
The district population is 96,868 with a density of 78 persons per square kilometre representing 2.7% of the Ashanti Regional population (3,612,950). Juaso, the district capital, has a population of 8,421. 49.6% of the population is female and the 15-54 age cohorts constitute 52% of the population yielding a significant labour force. (Source:2000 Population and Housing census figures).
With 83.5% of the population being rural, and like most rural districts in Ghana, agriculture employs about 72.4% of the labour force in the production of cocoa, oil palm, citrus, coffee, plantain, cassava, cocoyam, maize, rice and vegetables. The rearing of sheep, goats and cattle; Poultry and fishing are also undertaken on a significant scale.
21.6% of the economically active population is engaged in the services sector dominated by trading in agricultural produce and manufactured goods. Industry, mostly agro-processing, pottery, wood works, etc. employs only 6% of the working population.
Climate and Vegetation
The district has a uniformly high temperature throughout the year ranging between 26 C in August and 30 C in March - April whilst rainfall ranges from 1500mm to 1700mm during its double-maxima annual rainfall periods of April - June and August - October. The fairly uniform distribution of temperature and rainfall enhances the cultivation of both cash and food crops.
The entire district falls within the moist semi-deciduous forest region (i.e. vast forest lands) where different species of tropical hardwoods with high economic value abound. These include Odum, Mahogany, Ofram, Teak, Wawa, etc.
Soils and their Suitability for Agriculture
Eight types of soil associations are found in the district. These are the following:
These soils, which are developed on the Upper Birrimian rocks, are very well to moderately well drained, highly gravely, concretionary, and medium to fine textured. The upland and lower slopes are suitable for food crops like maize, plantain, cocoyam and cassava, and marginally good for tree crops such as coffee, cocoa, citrus and oil palm.
Soils in this association are medium textured, moderately well drained, gravely, concretionary and susceptible to very severe erosion. The upland soils are recommended for tree crops and forestry while the lowlands soils are suitable for sugarcane and vegetables. These soils are developed over the Upper Birrimian rocks and can be found in settlements like Dampong and Asuboa.
Bekwai-Oda Compound Association
This soil association has developed over Lower Birrimian rocks. It is generally medium textured, slight to moderately susceptible to erosion, well to moderately well drained, deep and non-gravely. Its upland slopes are recommended for tree crops and the lowland and valley bottom soils are suitable for rice, sugarcane and vegetables. Banka, Tokwai and Gyadam are among settlements with this type of soil association.
Kumasi-Offinso Compound Association
This soil association develops over the Cape Coast granite. It is generally medium to coarse textured, good structured, moderately gravely, stony and concretionary. It occurs on undulating topography with moderate to severe susceptibility to erosion. Its upland slopes soils are good for both tree and food crops. The Lowland and valley bottom soils are suitable for rice, sugarcane and vegetables. Settlements with this type of soil include Obogu, Amantia, Muronaim, Breku, Banso and Bankame.
Swedru-Nsaba Simple Association
The surface layers of this association are usually neutral or even slightly alkaline and may even be somewhat calcareous. However, the reactions fall with soils deep down. The soils are suitable for arable crops and tree crops, especially cocoa. Areas around Banka are having this type of soil.
Soils of this association are generally deep, coarse to medium textured. They are well to moderately well drained and concretionary with low nutrient reserves. They are suitable for both food and tree crops. Just a small pocket of this type of soil is found in the district around Breku and its environs.
This association develops over Tarkwaian rocks. The texture of this soil association is generally medium, highly to moderately gravely, or deep and non-gravely, and well to moderately well drained. They occur on gently undulating topography with relatively slight to moderate susceptibility to erosion. Tree crops thrive well in its upland slope soils while the lowlands soils are suitable for rice, sugarcane and vegetables. Juaso, Ofoase, Kumeso and Teshie Praso are settlements with this type of soil association.
Awaham-Kakum – Chichiwere Association
They develop over alluvial deposits. Major soils of this association are coarse to medium textured, well to moderately well drained, deep to very deep and generally non-gravely. They occur extensively on low-lying, almost flat alluvial terrace.
Condition of Natural environment and the impact of Human activities
Forestry is one of the important sectors of the district. The district has six major forest reserves, which are all rich in wildlife and lumber. They include the North and South Formansu Forest Reserves, Domi River Reserve, Prakaw Forest Reserve, Bobiri Forest Reserve and Bandai Hills Forest Reserve. They consist of different species of tropical hardwood of high economic-value trees like odum, mahogany, edinam and wawa. Lumbering has therefore been an important economic activity in the district. However, this has been creating environmental problems, as there is no proper management of the forest reserves.
The reserves have been encroached upon by illegal chainsaw operators whose activities, if not checked, will deprive the district of the needed forest resources for development. Already, the North and South Formansu Forest Reserves have been depleted of tree species of commercial importance. Efforts to control these operators had not been successful
Frequent outbreak of bushfires has also contributed to the depletion of forests and other forms of environmental degradation in the district. Most of the known wildlife such as the black ducker, the deer and monkeys, which were mostly found in the forest, now face extinction. The Forestry Service Commission has therefore drawn up a re-afforestation programme under which areas affected by bushfires are given to farmers for farming while the Service plants trees in the farms. It has also supplied teak seedlings to individual farmers who have gone into teak plantations.
It is, however, important that the Forestry Service Commission and the District Assembly initiate a more intensive afforestation programme to preserve some of the important economic tree species to ensure ecological balance in the district. Sustainable harnessing of existing forest resources is also to be encouraged.
Land Under Cultivation
The total land area outside the built environment is estimated at 848,218 sq. km. As shown in Table 1.1 below, the use of this land can be divided into food crop farming, tree crop farming, fallow and forestry land uses. About 75% is under crop cultivation, comprising of food crop farms (33.91%) and tree crop farms (41.55%). This is followed by forestry (0.14%) and fallow (24.4%). This shows that there is adequate land in the district to expand and diversify agricultural production. However, to ensure sustainable development, there is the need to promote the adoption of more efficient and environmentally friendly farming methods and practices.
The Built Environment
Human activities do not only impact on the natural environment as have been portrayed vividly under natural environment discussed above; the impact manifests itself perhaps more pungently in areas where humanity lives. Most activities of man in settlements he creates as permanent abode more often impact negatively on the environment. This aspect highlights on the way of life of the people, in terms of their shelter, and living conditions and practices that have direct bearing on the environment.
The predominant type of housing in the 103 communities within the district can be described as compound houses. However, there are a few self-contained houses mostly in the big settlements built mostly by citizens living abroad. Most of the housing stocks are of the “Atakpame” type with no foundation and roofed with corrugated metal sheets. Materials used especially in the small and remote communities to build houses are Bamboo, raffia mats, mud and sticks. Houses in the big settlements are often plastered and painted. Of recent, modern buildings/mansions comparable to those in East Legon are springing up in Juaso. In view of this, the cost of land has increased and land for farming and forestry have also reduced.
Land Management/Land Tenure System
Land acquisition in the district is through four (4) sources; Stool, family/inheritance, leasehold and sharecropping. Allocation of plots for building and commercial purposes is invested in the stool. For agricultural purposes, inheritance accounts for 68% of land holdings in the district. Share cropping and leasehold account for 21.5% and 11% respectively. This has created a problem of land fragmentation which does not encourage large-scale commercial venture.
For table refer to pdf file attached