ECONOMY OF THE DISTRICT
STRUCTURE OF THE LOCAL ECONOMY
Agriculture plays a very important role in the economic development of the District. The district’s economy is purely rural and the dominant economic activity is agriculture. Other economic activities of importance are commerce, agro-based small-scale industries and other income generating activities.
Agriculture is predominantly small-scale and farmers’ farm holdings rarely exceed two hectares. These farmers produce primary commodities mainly for home consumption. The main crops produced include millet, sorghum, beans, maize, rice, fonio and groundnuts. Other food crops cultivated in the area include cassava, yam and vegetables (okro, tomatoes and pepper).
The cultivation of some industrial crops in the District is entirely a new phenomenon. The principal industrial crop grown extensively in the District currently is cotton. A private company, Nulux Plantations had assisted farmer to cultivate a minimum of two hectares to each farmer. Other industrial crops grown in the area are groundnuts, soya-bean and tomatoes.
The District is noted for the production of tuber crops such as yam and cassava. Yam is grown extensively in the area and greater quantities of the produce are sold to prospective buyers from the neighbouring districts or transported to the south in large mummy trucks to be sold.
Beans are also widely cultivated in the District and mostly sold to market women from Yendi, Tamale, Gushegu, Bolgatanga and other neighbouring Districts.
A large quantity of the rice cultivated in the District is normally sold out to outsiders leaving a little for home consumption.
There are a number of block farming projects underway in the district under the 2010 Block Farm Programme. The following is a table summarizing the efforts of the block farming projects in the communities where they were held.
There is no major trading outlet in the district. Most of the essential needs of the people are brought from Yendi, traveling quite a long distance (i.e. 58-km away). There are no large stores. However, with the construction of the Agric Sector Improved Project (ASIP) market at Chereponi, the problem of trading outlets should be reduced. It should be noted that in almost every village, one could get someone selling some basic needs of the people. Petty trading activities are on the increase in the District.
Currently, there is no financial institution in the District to facilitate savings for socio-economic development. However, attempts would be made in the near future to establish a Rural Bank for mobilization of capital for socio-economic development in the District.
The District has several sites of historic, scientific and aesthetic importance, which have the potential for serving as tourist attraction spots. These include:
• The River Oti
• Ruins of German Bridge Linking Ghana and Togo during World War II
• Annual Krubi Festival – Celebrated the day after Ramadan
• Mingali Dance
• Fire Festival
As mentioned earlier, a high potential exists in the District in the area of tourism promotion.
It is however sad to say that tourism services are not developed at all in the district. The main tourist attraction spot in the District is the River Oti. For tourism services to be fully developed there is the need to improve physical accessibility and the attraction of private investors into the district.
MARKET AND TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE
Market infrastructure comprising the physical space, stores, stalls and sheds, storage delivery bays and access roads constitute an important component of the development of rural economies.
There are two large markets in the district located at Chereponi and Wenchiki. Other markets in the district include Garinkuka market and Wonjuga markets. These are weekly markets.
There is one large ASIP market in the district located at Chereponi with the following facilities: (a) lockable store types 1 and 2, (b) stall types 1 and 2, (c) butchers shop, (d) 10-seater KVIP, (e) urinals and (f) solid waste holding bays. The Wenchiki market has stores and stalls respectively.
There are no stalls in other markets apart from grass sheds sometimes erected by the traders themselves. In some cases, markets are sometimes held under trees. The problem of inadequate market structures is further compounded by the inaccessibility to these markets during certain times of the year (i.e. rainy season).
A good transportation network and a reliable communication system are very important ingredient for socio-economic development. This is a serious handicap in the District. There is a very poor network of secondary roads in the District. These include the 48km Chereponi-Saboba road and the 96km Yendi-Chereponi road. The physical conditions of some of the roads are bad and virtually inaccessible during a greater part of the rainy season, especially between July and October.
Transportation within and outside the District is very poor. Most people rely on either bicycle or on their feet. People walk several kilometers to attend markets, health facilities and even to schools.
Currently the only direct transport service between the regional capital at Tamale and the District capital Chereponi is being offered by the Metro Mass Transit bus Service. Else, one has to depend on chance, by obtaining a lift from any departmental head traveling to Yendi with their means of transport.
There will be active disease surveillance in the District on African Swine Fever (ASF) for pigs and Avian Flu for poultry. About 80% of communities in the District engage in pig production and mainly free range for most part of the year in small numbers.
Currently, the district is constructing a Veterinary Centre in Chereponi, which will serve as the central location for the district’s veterinary care for the future. This building is due for completion in 2010.
The District is drained by the River Oti and its tributaries. People living around these rivers do some amount fishing, especially the Ewes (The Battors) who are mostly fishermen.
Fishing is not done extensively and as such the catch is not substantial. The fish is normally smoked by women and sold to the people of the area or exported to some neighboring districts.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy of the people in the District, particularly among men. However, their women counterparts are also involved in some small-scale agro-based industries. Women are engaged in Shea-butter production, cotton ginning and weaving of local cloths, pottery and soap making. These are done on a small-scale but there is a great potential for their development.
Farmers store their produce in mud silos or some barn structures built with grass. There are no improved storage systems in the District. These silos and barns are never good storage facilities. As a result, farmers prefer selling their produce immediately after harvest. However, the Community-Driven Initiatives for Food Security (CIFS) and the Community-Based Rural Development Project (CBRDP) have supported some communities in the district to construct a number of grain banks for food storage
There are many grain-banks in the district that can be used towards food storage. The grain banks were built by Action-Aid amongst other NGOs in Tombo, Mayamam, Sangbana, and Garinkuka to name a few. There are, in total, 13 grain-banks in the district currently. These grain-banks however are not always used to the fullest potential. Some rural farmers do not understand the need or uses of a grain-bank and it remains empty once the NGO leaves. More education on this end will ensure that the grain-banks become a strong component of agricultural storage in the future.
CHALLENGES TO AGRICULTURE IN THE DISTRICT
The following are challenges to agriculture in the district:
• Understaffing in both veterinary and extension sectors
• Difficulties in transportation and handling of veterinary drugs
• Lack of veterinary clinic in central district
• No subsidy on vaccines for livestock
• Inadequate means of transportation for MOFA staff
• Inadequate accommodation for MOFA staff
• Inaccessibility to most communities especially during the rainy season due to bad roads