The small scale farming continues to dominate the economy of Ahanta West District. The Agriculture sector which formerly employed about 58% currently employs about 65% of the population. The average farm size per farmer is 0.35 hectares since most farmers still use simple tools-such as hoes and cutlasses. The five major crops grown in the district are maize, oil palm, rice, plantain and cassava.
NORPALM and GREL are the two major companies with large.hectares of oil palm and rubber plantations respectively. These two companies employ considerable number of the youth in the district. GREL employs about 2,500 people while NORPALM also gives employment to 1,500 people.
Women also dominate in the trading activities in the district due to improvement in accessing micro credit facilities, expansion and modernization of the Agona Nkwanta market with the provision of relevant facilities such as Lorry Park. The provision of these facilities has brought about increase in percentage of women in trading activities from 40% to 55%.
Fishing activities are also concentrated along the coastal areas of the district and it is being dominated by immigrant fishermen. The participation of local people in fishing activities has gone down from about 30% to 25%. This downward trend is as a result of formal education being acquired by the people. The post-harvest losses in the fishing industry in the district have also improved from 25% to 20% because of the establishment of more cold rooms and the use of refrigerators.
Generally, the income levels of the people in the district have improved significantly from 0600,000 to 0900,000 per annum. This in effect has therefore improved the standard of living of the people. The improvement is mainly due to access to credit, marketing opportunities and small scale processing of farm produce such as oil palm, cassava, sugar-cane as well as extension services provided by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA
There has been appreciable increase in revenue mobilization in the district from 10%o to 15%. This has come about as a result of the provision of logistics such as a vehicle fitted with public address system for public education, raincoat, Wellington boots, training of revenue collectors and also prosecution of revenue defaulters in the Law Court.
Apart from GREL and NORPALM, there are several timber companies in the district. The activities of the timber companies are going down due to regulations restricting the felling of
round logs by the Forestry Commission.
Investment And Business Potential
The major economic activity in the district is agriculture, employing about 59% of the population. Most of the people are small-scale farmers. Coconut, oil palm and rubber are the main cash crops. These crops are generally cultivated throughout the district. The main problems with agriculture are storage, working capital and general shortage of land for farming purposes.
The first two problems create major opportunities for investors since crop yields are high. Storage facilities such as grain silos and working capital lending to farmers should prove lucrative. The rearing of animals and birds are not a major occupation in the district. However, a few medium size enterprises exist, namely three piggaries, three poultry farms and two cattle ranches. These are profitable ventures and demand is not met locally, indicating that new investment in this area would pay off as well.
The rearing of other animals like sheep, goats and fowls follow the traditional free-range pattern. The Ahanta West District is endowed with along stretch of coast-line and a number of smooth beaches for the landing of fishing boats and canoes. There are 22 landing sites available for fishing enterprises. Also, there are no cold storage facilities in the district. The main method of processing is either by smoking or salting and the rest of the catch is simply sold fresh.
Therefore, investment in cold storage has strong profit potentials. So far, mining has not had a significant input on the district even though available records show that the district is endowed with gold, diamond, manganese and clay. Investors would do well to engage in mineral prospecting activities with a view to exploiting these mineral resources. Manufacturing and processing industries are very important contributors to the district’s economy.
These industries can be classified into small, medium and large-scale activities. The small-scale industries in the district comprise of agro-based, clothing, wood-based, metal-based and other natural resource based industries. There are other enterprises engaged in gari processing, maize milling, copra oil extraction, fish smoking, palm oil extraction, weaving, tailoring, carpentry, handicraft carving, blacksmithing and gold smithing.
Others include gin distilling, welding, building and construction, vehicle repairs, shoes repairs, charcoal production, baking and hairdressing. Large-scale industries int eh district are engaged in rubber processing, oil palm fruit processing, coconut based industries and saw milling. There are about seven sawmills in the district, all sited in and around Apowa, one rubber processing factory at Apemanim No. 2 and an oil palm fruits processing factory.
The saw mills get their raw materials from outside the district. Agro-based industries constitute the largest group of industries accounting for 43% of the total. Wood-based activity accounts for 25% of the district’s industries. Ahanta West District has strong potentials for the establishment of viable oil palm related industries. The district has many oil palm plantations.
Currently, there is only one large-scale oil palm processing factory, National Oil Palm Limited, in the district. There are several other large oil palm plantations in the adjoining districts. Again, since Ahanta West District is not far away from the Takoradi Harbour, interested entrepreneurs can take advantage of that to establish companies in the district.
The District Assembly would co-operate and assist and interested entrepreneur to acquire land for that purpose. There are already about seven large-scale sawmills in the district taking advantage of the proximity of the Takoradi Harbour and the easy acquisition of land and the large pool of unskilled labour available.
Date Created : 11/16/2017 6:10:03 AM