Total arable land is about 75,626 hectares. This represents about 44% of total land area. However, only about 30,250.4 hectares are currently being cultivated. The average farm size is two acres but there are relatively large farms, mostly cocoa and oil palm plantations, with sizes of over four acres.
The major types of crops cultivated in the Upper Denkyira District include cash crops such as cocoa and oil palm and food crops such as cassava, plantain, maize and cowpeas, which are mainly grown on mixed crop basis, normally with vegetables. Cocoa is the major cash crop and is widely grown in the forest areas.
Due to increases in producer prices, the cocoa farmer’s interest seems to have been rekindled and there is both the rehabilitation of old and establishment of new farms. This provides a prime investment opportunity.
Cashew is a relatively new crop for farmers in the district and is currently cultivated on a small scale, and mushroom cultivation and snail farming also have potential in the area, which can be exploited by private investors.
Both cash and food crop farmers are constrained by lack of credit and farm inputs such as seedlings and implements to expand and maintain their farms. Agricultural sector financiers can plug this gap, by supplying working capital and equipment through an organized credit scheme.
Studies have shown that Upper Denkyira District does not meet the district’s total demand in most staples, including maize and plantain. This is partly because about 56.3% of total crop yield is taken up by cocoa.
Thus, there is plenty of opportunity for private sector agriculturists producing staple food crops. Farming techniques used by the people are largely rudimentary. Moreover, irrigation is not commonly practised.
Thus, there is much potential in this area, especially along some of the major rivers, such as construction of small dams and pumping of water from the rivers. Post harvest management of crops is very poor in the district due to lack of modern storage facilities there. Therefore, there are major opportunities in this field of activity. Cocobod purchase cocoa, while Cashew and Spices Products Limited (CASHPRO) deals mainly in cashew and spices, along with cocoa, maize, cassava chips and gari.
The Ghana Food Distribution Corporation is supposed to purchase food crops, especially maize from farmers, but is rarely represented in the area.
Therefore, private companies can purchase such foodstuffs in the district and resell them elsewhere. Livestock and poultry production is limited in the district, which has recognised poultry farmers. However, commercial poultry production is emerging as an important activity in the area, and the District Assembly is actively encouraging it.
The district has strong potentials for fish farming and as of 1995, there were about 29 fish farms in the district. Currently the fisheries department in the district is pursuing the renovation and proper management of fish ponds and private sector participation is welcome in order to get access to capital, technical knowledge, equipment and regular supply of fingerlings.
Given the necessary backup facilities, such as land for hatcheries, additional technical men and logistical support, the fishing industry in the district could be greatly boosted.
The Upper Denkyira District falls within the forest processing zone of the Central Region. It is estimated that 57% of its total land area of 1700 square kilometres comprises forest. Total area of forest land is 98,454.15 hectares of which 1,942.50 hectares are under forest reserve. Total area under concessions (outside forest reserve) are 57,906.99 hectares, leaving 38,604 hectares not currently under concession.
Concessionaire agreements are made with various private logging companies. Since 1990, a felling cycle of 40 years has been mandatory to allow the forest to regenerate. Concessionaire agreements are administered centrally by the Concessions Unit of the Forestry Department in Accra. Permits are also granted outside concessions for such special purposes as the salvage of timber after mining or after illegal felling.
The major activity in the forestry sub-sector is logging. There are also a few small industries engaged in the processing of forestry products in the district, such as sawmills, which are booming businesses.
The district is richly endowed with mineral deposits, which are found in commercial quantities. There are already some private companies engaged in mining in the district. These include Dunkwa Consolidated Goldfields Limited, Anglogold Ashanti at Ayanfuri and BHPUTAH in Asikuma Nsueam . Quarrying consists mostly of the extraction of sand and gravel from river beds for use in the construction sub-sector.
Wood processing is the dominant manufacturing sub-sector in the district with large-scale companies such as Thomas Mois and Gallaway (TMG) and Mahogany Furniture Company engaged in it. They deal in logs, lumber and saw-milling. These companies are all doing very well, an indication that new companies setting up in the sub-sector can also be very profitable.
There are also other small scale dealers in wood products. Agro processing is also being profitably carried out in the district. Processing technology used is mainly manual and is applied to crops such as cassava and oil palm. The percentage of cassava and oil palm used by processing firms is less than 10% and between 50-70% respectively of total production.
Cassava is usually processed into gari, chips or powder. Oil palm is generally processed into palm oil and palm kernel oil is extracted from the kernel obtained at Dunkwa and its suburbs. Most of the oil palm fruits are sold to commercial companies, such as Juaben Oil Palm, whose demand is constantly rising, creating even more opportunities for the private companies.
There is a huge investment potential in the agricultural sector of the district expressed by the vast existence of uncultivated arable land.
- Availability of skilled and unskilled labour
- Favourable climatological conditions exist for large scale agricultural development.
Incentives For Prospective Investors
- The District Assembly will lead investors to acquire land and also assist in the documentation and the registration process.
- The Assembly will facilitate the extension of electricity, tlephphone and pip-borne water to the project site of potential investors.
- The Assembly will grant (1 - %) years tax holiday to prospective investors depending on the priority of the sector and the scale of investment capital.
- The district is served by the main Eastern and Western railway lines thus facilitating the transportation of machinery, raw material and finished goods.
- The Dunkwa-On-Offin township is served with excellent banking services including Barclays Bank, Social Security Bank, commercial Bank and Rural Banks.
- The existence of the Central Region Development Commission (CEDECOM) which provides business advice and other support services on behalf of entrepreneurs and investors.