ACTION PLAN FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURE IN THE JASIKAN DISTRICT - 2009
Introduction: The mission of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is to promote sustainable agriculture and thriving agribusiness through research and technology development, effective md other support services to farmers, processors and traders for improved human livelihood.
As Agriculture is the main income earner for the majority of the people in the Jasikan District. our main objectives are focused on
- Food security,
- Job creation for the rural people,
- Poverty reduction and wealth creation.
These are achieved primarily through:
- production of enough food crops and animals for the nutritional needs of the people
- production of raw materials for industry
- production of agricultural commodities for exports
- Functions of MOFA-DADU, JASIKAN
- To develop and disseminate efficient and effective appropriate technologies to farmers for increased food production
- To promote reliable infrastructure for processing and marketing
- To ensure enhanced technical competence of staff through human resource development and capacity building
- To facilitate farmers’ access to financial institutions for credit
- To promote selected potential commodities for high income generation
The potential labour force in the erstwhile Jasikan District was about 52%, which may be the same percentage for the present Jasikan District. But our estimate (though may not be very accurate) indicate that about 18-20% is in day to day Agriculture.
It may be noted that this small percentage are people who make the district self sufficient to feed the people at the local level. Not enough is going out to external market in order to reduce poverty. Ginger production that may open up the District goes to the external market without any significant impact on the producer. Let us look at the resources available to the district that can influence or boost agricultural activities.
Land use, vegetation, soil and climate
Jasikan district is classified to be generally covered with moist deciduous forest with thicker vegetation cover at the eastern part while the western portion is typically of transitional nature.
This gives uniqueness to the district as a representation of the country’s vegetation that can support almost all crops The soils of the district vary as well.
The Togo rocks formation lies along the Eastern part of the district and can support maize, upland rice vegetables, cocoyam, pineapples, citrus and coffee.
Soils developed from quartz impregnated sandstones and quartz schists are found in Jaikan, Bodada and surrounding areas and are suitable for rice, sugarcane and dry season vegetables.
Soils developed from Buem sandstones, shales, mudstones and conglomerates dominate Okadjakrom, and west of Jasikan - Hohoe road. Shallow rooted crops such as Maize, groundnuts, cassava, yam, ginger, plantain, cocoyam, pineapple, sugar canes and vegetables thrive very well in these soils.
Water bodies-such as Konsu, Odomi Bompa and Dayi are viable resources that can be improved for irrigation. Feasibility studies by GIDA identified potential sites such as Awoma, Twengina, Kudje and New Ayoma for irrigation.
The district enjoys a bi-modal rainfall regime. However, its wet semi equatorial climatic characteristics are being gradually eroded as a result of inappropriate environmental protection practices.
Land abounds in the district and generally belongs to clans; and chiefs and clan heads hold it in trust for the people. The lands are acquired on lease or share cropping bases in abunu (1:1) or abLlsa (1:2) between land owner and tenant respectively. In some cases, fixed kind or cash demands per unit area are agreed upon or made. Outright purchase is almost absent.
The land tenure arrangement on the whole is very unfavourable to tenants due to its disincentiveness and insecurity.
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for over 80% of the population. Subsistence farming with shifting cultivation is mainly practiced with an average holding of about one acre (0.4 ha) per person.
Communal and or co-operative farming virtually does not exist. It is rare to see or locate commercial farms (over 5 ha. holdings) in the district despite the availability of the above mentioned resources.
Cocoa production and productivity dwindled over the years due to the severe drought and bush fires of the eighties coupled with the effects of swollen shoot sand black pod diseases and capsids. These past glories of cocoa production centre in the Region can be reversed by taking advantage of the Hi-tech and Mass spraying programmes in the country.
Other sources of revenue to the farmers are in oil palm, coffee and citrus which cut across the entire district especially Ayomas, Kute, baglo, Awoma, Akaa, kudje, Okadjakrom etc.
All food requirements are produced by the people mainly for domestic consumption and a few for export outside the district. The major crops cultivated with their minimum relative profitability include Maize (30%). Cassava (60%), Yam (64%) and Plantain (53%)
Livestock rearing is on a small scale. The district depends most of the times on outside markets poultry for their poultry and poultry product needs.
Non-traditional agric commodities
Ginger is the most important non traditional agricultural commodity produced in the district mainlv around Kute, Awoma, Lekanti and Ayoma areas. The toil of the farmers unfortunately benefits the middlemen who come to lift the produce. Processing unit should therefore be highly considered.
Access to credit and other farm inputs
There are at least four (4) financial institutions in the district that can assist the farmers. The only hitch is lack of trust and confidence by the financial institutions in the farmers due to failure to pay back loans. Sale of crop seeds and other farming inputs are basically in the domain of the private sector. There are a few of such input points that can satisfy the farmers’ demands.
However, the Government’s sustainability of the subsidized fertilizer programme is also operational in the district for farmers to access.
The local markets for our agric products are really not enough. With any increase in production. the activity and or commodity groups need to tap information from MOFA and around the district to locate favourable markets.
Various projects by MOFA to assist the farmers could not be assisted by the latter for their sustainability. Loans were not paid back by most of the beneficiary farmers.
Some FBOs are not making good use of the facilities given them. MOFA, Jasikan under the FORUM project introduced a lot of revenue generating activities in the district. Farmers were assisted bur most of them either left the fields unattended to or developed.
Presently, projects are in the system to assist farmers in cassava and rice (low land and upland) production. High starch cassava production with CAVA project if taken advantage of can boost mini industry.
There is the need to take a holistic approach towards agricultural development in the district. I will call on the coalition of Buem citizens to champion the process with maximum co-operation from MOFA.
The Jasikan District is rich in Think tanks who should be assembled to come out with a healthy action plan to be accepted by the people for a sound agricultural development.
- Create and sustain awareness on the need to invest in agriculture in the Jasikan District Embark on intensive public education system in the district in order to maximize the sustenance of food chain
- Form, train and monitor various activity/commodity groups and individuals (entrepreneurs)
- Motivate communities, groups etc. for market oriented agriculture
- Facilitate acquisition / access to credit support for enterprise development
- District awareness and education campaign
- Outreach programme for schools
- Special community awareness and education campaign with focus on specific commodity / activity potential
- Orientation and training programmes for specific groups
District awareness and education programme
This will aim at creating and sustaining district awareness on the need to invest in agriculture. It will seek to remind the general populace on the socio-economic development through agric. It will also seek to encourage the District Assembly, local communities, MOFA and others to intensify their support to this sector.
Special discussion sessions will also be held with well meaning citizens of Buem who can help in the investment.
Outreach to schools
This seeks to create awareness among school children and the youth in the District to see agriculture as business and not means of punishment or the last resort. It will also seek use the children and youth as agents of change and dissemination.
Special community awareness
This is to highlight the potentials of each community to the people. It will also stress on land lease/land use arrangements affordable to all. It will concentrate as well on identifying and formation of sector specific groups. It will also seek to lobby or win investors (local of foreign) into the district.
Sector specific training
It will improve knowledge and skills of farmers and MOFA staff. It will help strengthen the networking system of all chain players.
This programme will emphasize on the following:
- Preparation of district Agricultural Plan
- Real investment by citizens and investors in the agricultural sector (production to marketing)
Liaise with financial institutions to support deserving farmers, processors etc. (Assembly members , chiefs etc. may be guarantors)
Closer collaboration with MOFA in value chain development
Joint ownership by land owners and tenants under sound arrangement for plantation crops
- Identification and promotion of one or two potential crops for district identification or recognition
- Mini industrialization through the value chain eg Ginger
Much can be achieved if we all put our hands to the wheel and work together to bring back those old glories of the Jasikan District from which a lot of big things were done.