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agricultural sector


Agriculture is the main economic activity in the West Akim District and employs about 52.1 % of the labour force. Generally large-scale farming activities are limited in the district Agriculture in the district is on subsistence level, and very few farmers engage in  plantation farming. Production situation in the district is shown in the table below.
Agricultural Production in the District
Crop Estimated Area (Ha) Estimated Yield (MT/HA) Production (MT)
Maize
9,900
1.60 15,840
Cassava 12,100 12.40 150,040
Plantain 7,120 7.70 54,824
Cocoyam 9,100 6.80 61,880
Yam 600 14.27 8,562
Source: MOF A, 2006                

Land Tenure System

Farm lands in the district are acquired through inheritance, lease, family hood, purchase and chiefs. (Figure 1.15) About 33.0% of respondents acquired their lands through inheritance,  30.3% through lease, 24.2% through family head, 9.1% through purchase, and 3.0% through allocation by chiefs.

Farm Sizes
Farms sizes in the district range from 0.2 ha to over 2 ha. The few medium-size farms average 0.84 hectares. About 52% of the total district land area of 1018km2 is under cultivation.

Most farmers cultivate in 2 or 3 locations of an average of 0.83 ha in a sedentary farming system. With an increase in population there is every tendency that in the future, there would be pressure on farm land and might result in encroachment on forest reserves which could enhance the deforestation problem.
Farm Size
Farm Sizes (Ha) No. of Farmers % of Farmers
0.2
30 15.2
0.4 72 36.4
0.8 36 18.2
1.0
12 6.0
1.5
12 6.0
Above 1.5 36 18.2
Total 198 100
Source:Baseline Survey, Kesse- Tagoe & Associates, October, 2002.

Farming System

The farming system practiced in the district include mono-cropping, crop rotation, agro-forestry, plantation, mixed cropping and mixed farming .. These systems are modifications of shifting cultivation and bush fallow systems. Expansion in the sizes of land for agricultural purposes has resulted in the deforestation, bush burning and land -degradation with consequent loss of soil fertility and soil erosion.

Clearing lands for farming is by slash and bum technique which most often results in bush fires. The major cash crops grown in the district include cocoa, oil palm, citrus, and food crops grown are cassava, maize, plantain, cocoyam and vegetables.

Farm Labour     
Three forms of labour are employed in farming in the district. These are 53% rely on family labour, 40% hired labour, and 7% rely on the "Nnoboa" system to obtain labour for farming. However, there is a shortage of labour farming activities. It is more pronounced during land clearing and weeding periods.

Cash Crops
The major cash crops cultivated in the district include cocoa, oil palm, citrus, and others. These are cultivated by both peasant farmers and companies on plantations. The largest company in citrus cultivation and processing is the PINORA Company at Asamankese.

Cocoa
Cocoa which is an exportable crop and a major foreign exchange earner for the country is widely produced in the district. The district used to be the leading cocoa producing district, but has now declined due to the intensive bush fires and the diversification of economy in which some farmers now cultivate other crops like citrus, pineapples and non-traditional export crops. The average farm size of the crop is 0.6 hectares. Marketing of the product is done mainly through the Ghana Cocoa Marketing Company of COCOBOD and ale through private organizations like, OLAM, FEDCO, and AKUAPA etc.

Oil Palm
Oil palm extraction is done locally and on a small-scale in the district. Farmers cultivate the crop in the gently sloping low lying but well drained sites. The crop is marketed by private peasant farmers. There is one medium-scale processing factory at Topease 

Citrus
Citrus is also widely cultivated in the district. A greater proportion is grown along the slopes of the hills. The crop is cultivated and marketed by private peasant farmers. Presently ADRA, an NGO is assisting farmers in 22 communities in the district to establish citrus farms. These areas are Ekoso, Krofofrom, Adiembra, Brekumanso, Aworarn, Topease, Brika,Obeng Yaw, Mepom, Pabi, ’Akanteng,’ Nyankuma, Krodua, Kwaku Sae, Afranse, Oworak"esim, Awaham,Afaben, Quarshie, Obinyimda; Nyankomase and Sukfon-Canaan. Presently, PINORA, a private multinational company has established pineapple and citrus farms for processing for export.

Extension Service
The objective of Agricultural Extension Services is to assist local farmers to increase agricultural produce and introduce to farmers new and improved technology through training and farm demonstrations. However, Extension Services are inadequate in the district as only about 33.3% of farmers have access to Extension Services.

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has 26 sub-districts/operational areas which are manned by 26 front line staff fr9m the Agricultural Extension Unit. Presently, the Extension Officers/Farmer ratio is 1: 1,800 which is unfavourable when compared to the national standard of 1 :800. Logistical problems hinder the smooth operations.

Livestock Production
Livestock are kept by farmers who are also engaged in crop farming. The animals reared are sheep, goats, poultry and pigs. About 89% of livestock farmers rear sheep, goats and fowls using the backyards of their living areas. Poultry farming, which is the pre-occupation of 8.6% of farmers engaged in livestock farming is predominantly found in Asamankese, Adeiso, and Mepom. Only about 2.6% of livestock farmers engage in piggery. High production cost is limiting producers from increasing their stock. Cattle rearing are not much practised.

Storage Facilities
Perishable produce e.g. vegetables, and fruits cultivated in the district are sold fresh since there are no storage facilities for these staples and fruits. Maize is however stored in traditional barns and roofs of kitchen.

The unavailability of appropriate storage facilities has led to post harvest losses in the district. The introduction of an appropriate technology for construction of storage facilities would reduce post harvest losses.
 
Also the bulk of agric produce is sold unprocessed like cassava, plantain. There are few small-scale agro-based processing industries like maize, cassava, palm oil as well as local processing gin.

Veterinary Services
The veterinary services whose main concern is animal health have as their aim, the strengthening of the development and improvement of livestock and poultry industry in the district. Field and slaughter house activities occupy 85% of the working hours of the staff.

The survey revealed that about 15% of those who rear animals received veterinary services: .Diseases such as coccidiosis, newcastle, fowl pox gumboro, skin diseases, ticks, diarrhoea helminthiasis, rabies and PPR (pest des Pestis) hinder animal production. Access to veterinary services is one of the factors that hinder livestock production in the district.

Source of Finance for Agriculture
Financing of farming activities in the district is largely from own savings. As savings are very low, capital formation becomes difficult and even when it is accomplished it is too low to impact positively on agricultural production in the district. Other sources of finance are from own sources and from money.

Key Development Problems
1.    Unfavourable Land Tenure System
2.    Low prices for agricultural produce
3.    Limited Access to credit
4.    High Post harvest losses
5.    Low productivity
6.    Land litigation
7.    High interest rates
8.    Lack of collateral security



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