STRUCTURE OF THE LOCAL ECONOMY
The economy of the Asante Akim South District can be divided into three main economic sectors. These are Agriculture, Industry and Service. The agricultural sector is mainly crop farming with only minimal livestock rearing activities. The industrial sector, which is the most underdeveloped in the district, involves mainly wood based industries, block factories and agro based industries. Lumbering is also carried out in many parts of the district. The service sector involves mainly sale of farm produce, sale of some manufactured goods, tailoring, hairdressing, communication sector operators and some public and civil servants including teachers in the relatively big communities.
The Local economy is dominated by Agriculture sector. It employs 72.4% of the Labour force in the district. Farmers in the District are predominantly peasant farmers cultivating food crops and few cash crops. The food crops include cassava, plantain, cocoyam, yam, rice and maize. The cash crops are cocoa and oil palm, coffee, cola and oranges. It is estimated that 80% of the Internally Generated Funds to the District comes from agriculture and its related activities. About 95% of farmers finance their farming activities from their own source. Credit facilities from Banks for agriculture activities are very minimal. Another major problem of Agriculture in the district is poor storage facilities resulting in high post-harvest losses.
Industry is the least developed sector of the local economy. About 22.2% industrialists are in wood based industry, 61.1% in ago-based industry, 5% in clay-based industry and 11.1% in metal-based industry and 0.69 in others. The Agro based industries include Gari Processing, Oil Palm Extraction and Akpeteshie distilling. The metal-based ones are mostly blacksmithing. The carpenters as well as sawmill workers dominate wood-based industry. Pottery is the main clay-based industrial activity. No manufactory facility of industrial significance is however available in the District.
The service sector is dominated by the commerce sub-sector, which includes the buying and selling of both agricultural and manufactured products. It is estimated that 45% of traded items, consisting of manufactured goods and fish, are brought from outside the district notably Kumasi, Konongo and Nkawkaw. The remaining 55% basically farm produce which include plantain, cocoyam, oranges, cassava, maize and yam are produced within the District. Other activities under this sector include banking, postal and communication services, transport, police service, educational delivery, health care, tailoring and dressmaking, beauty care and other personal services.
Household Income and Expenditure
The economy of the district is primarily based on agriculture. Farmers are predominantly peasant farmers cultivating food crops and cash crops. Farmers get very little from their farms. All they get are consumed. Only few farmers have access to marketing outlets.
The prices for the little that they sell are also determined by traders who come from the big towns to buy the foodstuffs. The little that they get from their main occupation cannot therefore meet their basic necessities of life. Most of the people cannot therefore afford good food, live is poor shelters and dress shabbily
Majority of the people constituting (54%) do not save. Investment is therefore low. This is as a result of the high dependency ratio as well as lack of trust in the banks. All these aggravate the unemployment situation in the district. The Asante Akim South District is therefore embarking on Poverty Alleviation Schemes to improve revenue and increase employment so that the unemployment level will reduce.
The Service Sector
The service sector, which is dominated by commercial activities, constitutes the second largest sector of the local economy after agriculture. It employs about 21.6 per cent of the employed labour force.
Markets and other Commercial Activities
There are four main periodic markets in the district. They are Obogu market, which is held on Tuesdays, Adomfe, Ofoase and Kyempo markets on Fridays, Dampong market on Wednesdays and Juaso markets on Sundays. Obogu market is the biggest market in the district. A number of traders also sell farm produce along the main Kumasi-Accra road. The major problems that traders and farmers face in accessing these markets are high transport charges. This is due to the poor conditions of feeder roads in the district.
Twenty-five per cent of commodities traded in the district are cloths, 5 per cent hardware, 45 per cent foodstuffs, 15 per cent “provisions” and 10 per cent are second hand clothing. The farm produce is mainly plantain, cassava, cocoyam, kola palm oil, gari, rice and maize. Most of the manufactured commodities are brought from places like Kumasi, Konongo and Nkawkaw, which are all outside the district .Most of the traders in the district are retailers and majority of them sell their goods within the district.
The major problems that the traders face in the district are high transport charges, lack of credit facilities and fluctuation commodity of prices, which make their incomes unstable.
Postal and Telecommunication Facilities
Telecommunication services are ineffective and inadequate but available in several communities courtesy private communication centre operators and GSM Telecom mobile facilities. Poor telecom reception has deprived the District from taking advantage of internet services. However, Work is currently going on to construct repeater stations by Scancom Ltd. (operators of Areeba Phones) and Mobitel Ghana Ltd. (operators of Tigo Phones.) to improve reception in the district.
There are two post offices at Juaso and Bompata. There are other postal agencies in a number of communities.