The agriculture sector in the Ejura-Sekyedumase District dominates all the other sectors of the economy in terms of employment as a typical characteristic of a Ghanaian setting. It employs about 68.2% of the population which is above the national rate of 60%. There is the need to look at the agricultural sector of the district since it is the mainstay of the district. It serves mostly as the source of livelihood for the district. The agricultural sector of the district includes both crop production and livestock rearing.
Type of Farm
A good look at the agricultural sector requires a look at the type of farms engaged in by the people in the district. The types of farms identified during the survey are mixed farming, mixed cropping and mono-cropping. Mixed farming is the system whereby a Farmer is engaged in both crop production and the rearing of farm animals. Mixed cropping involves the growing of different types of crops on the same piece of land whiles mono-cropping is the type of farm whereby a type of crop is grown on a piece of land for a year and a different type of crop grown on the same piece of land the following period. Below is a distribution of the types of farm and the number of people engaged in that farm type in the district.
From Table 1.34, mono-cropping is the type of farm practiced by most of the people (51.9%) whiles mixed-farming is the least farm type practiced by the people (5.4%). The desire of the people in the district is therefore to practice mixed-cropping. The reason could be attributed to the fact that, there is available fertile land for agricultural purposes. They also believe that if a particular crop does not do well in a particular year, it could be compensated for by the next year if a different type of crop is grown.
Types of Crops Grown
The engagement of the people in mono-cropping and mixed-cropping brings in the production of diverse crops in the district. Crops grown are mostly for subsistence but the surplus is sold. The production of crops such as beans and water melon are mainly for sale. The types of crops grown in the district are given below:
Maize is the dominant food crop type cultivated in the district. A look at the production trends I levels over the years reveals that maize is the dominant crop type. It could therefore be said that, the soil type in the district supports the production of maize more than any other food crop. An emphasis is also laid on the Ejura Farms which is also engaged mostly in the production of maize.
Production Levels for Crops
The quantities of output by each of the crops given above have also been identified. This shows the crop whose contribution to food security in terms of its quantity is high. Thus, the crop with the highest output is maize. The production levels for the district in 2003 and 2004 as well as that of the national are given below:
It could be seen from the table above that, for each of the crops, there was a positive change in production from 2003-2004. For yam, the percentage change in the district (33.8) was far greater for that of the national percentage change (10). Though the percentage change in maize production was lower (46.7) than that of the national (49), for 2004, the hectares under cultivation compares favourably with that of the output compared to that of 2003.
Productivity depicts the output per acre per crop. This is the per unit value for each crop. It identifies the crop whose unit of output is higher. The productivity levels for each of the identified crops are shown below: From table 1.26, it could be seen that, though the production level for maize is higher in both years (2003 and 2004) it productivity level does not correspond to its production level. However, for 2003, the productivity level for plantain was the highest and for 2004 that of cassava. This therefore makes it clear that, despite the production level of a crop, it does not necessitate its productivity level.
The farm size shows the acres of land under cultivation. It has been put under subsistence and commercial levels. The subsistent levels show those below seven (7) acres that are under cultivation. They are mostly cultivated mainly to feed the family but the surplus is sold for profit. The commercial shows that above ten (10) acres under cultivation. It is mainly for sale. Only a portion is kept for home consumption. It could be seen that, most of the people engaged in subsistence cultivate between one and three acres of land whiles only a few cultivate between 4 -7 acres.
Access to Extension Services
For the agricultural sector to grow and increase production levels and productivity levels, the farmer must get easy access to extension services which will make known to him or her modern technologies to be used in farming to increase yield which will further lead to an increase in the standard of living. Difficulty in getting access to extension services means, the continuous practice/use of crude methods of farming, disease and pest control. Easy access of the farmer to extension services make him abreast with modern farming technologies. There is therefore the need for the farmer to get easy access to extension services. The table below shows the access of the Farmers in the Ejura-Sekyedumase District’s access to extension services.
The table above shows that, 62.8% of the farmers in the district have access to extension services. The farmer-extension officer ratio is 1: 1,434 which is far lower than the National Ratio of 1:2,500. It could therefore be deduced that, the farmers in the district are abreast with modern farming technologies and skills since there is easy access to extension services. By this, they can easily control diseases and pest which will lead to an increase in output. The number of extension officers in the district is twenty (20). The available vertinary officers in the district are two (2).
Agricultural Operational Areas
The district is divided into 19 agricultural operational areas. Each operational area, which has a number of communities under it, is manned by one Agricultural Extension Officer. The 19 Operational Areas include;
• Bayere Nkwanta
• Atta Akura
• Samari Nkwanta
There are 100 registered Farmer-Based Organizations in the district. Each of these FBOs collaborates with the District Directorate of Agriculture to improve their activities. The District Directorate of Agriculture provides a lot of extension services to the FBOs. They also provide training and extend credit to the FBOs to enable them increase productivity and production.
Types of Storage Facilities
The storage facilities available in the district include silos, crib bans, store rooms etc. The storage facilities are given below:
The existences of store rooms outnumber all the other storage facility types in the district accounting for 75.6% usage. Farmers can therefore take advantage of the available storage facilities.
Access to Ready Market
Below was a response of farmers’ access to ready market. Most of the Farmers in the district have access to ready market (62.4%). There is therefore a reduction in production cost since cost of storage is reduced. Farmers can therefore take advantage to increase production. Again, since most of the farmers have ready access to markets, they can redeem their loans for production on time to prevent higher interests which will impoverish them.
Access to Credit Facility
The access to credit facilities by farmers in the district has been given in Table 1.32. The number of farmers who do not have access to credit facilities in the district far outweigh those who have access to credit facilities. This could hamper development projects since credit facilities cannot be accessed for increased production.
Incidence of Post Harvest Losses
The incidence of post harvest losses is a main development problem and challenge to the Ejura-Sekyedumase District. Fragile crops such as tomatoes and other food crops need to be given good processing methods to prevent them from going bad. Continuous post harvest losses discourage farmers from increasing production. The post harvest losses in the district have been outlined below: Post harvest losses for staple crops in the major season are 20% whilst that for vegetables is between 30-35%. The reasons could be attributed to poor storage facilities for storing vegetables. The national post harvest average figure is between 8% and 20%.
The Ejura Farms
The Ejura Farms is located in Ejura in the Ejura-Sekyedumase District of the Ashanti Region. The Ejura Farms are mainly engaged in the production of maize and cashew. The maize farm is located in Ejura (Ebuom). It has about 1,300 acres of land under cultivation with an output of 1.5 tons per acre and a total output of 1,950 tons. For the cashew production, the total land area under cultivation is 669 acres with 400kg output per acre and a total output of 267,600kg. The farm is located in Asumen (Ejura). It is a commercial farm which produces to feed the town, the district, the region and the nation as a whole. Its contribution to GDP, food supply and income over the years cannot be overemphasized. It absorbs majority of the unemployed thereby reducing the unemployment rate in the district. The major crops grown by the farm with its production levels is given below.
It could be seen that, the district is endowed with rich arable land for maize production. The farms mainly practice mechanized farming systems where the use of modern machineries help to increase productivity. The table below also demonstrates the proportion of outputs sold, consumed and lost by the farm. The table depicts that the quantity of cashew lost is high that is 30% to the total output. This can be attributed to the inadequate storage facilities for cashew. Again, because of its fragility, most of them go bad within the shortest possible time.
Major Farm Animals Produced
Agriculture does not only involve the cultivation of crops but also the rearing and raising of farm animals. Farm animals include poultry, livestock (goats, sheep, and cattle) and others. The rearing of such animals serves as a source of livelihood for many people. The engagement in animal production does not require much skills and equipments as compared to crop production. The droppings of farm animals could be used as manure for crops. The number of people who engage in the production of farm animals and the types of farm animals raised are given below: The table demonstrates that, there is a low production of goats in the district. Sheep is the most largely produced livestock. There is also a high engagement in poultry production by the people.
On-going Agricultural Projects and Programmes
Development and growth cannot be looked at if recognition is not given to development efforts that are being made. In the quest by the district to seek growth in the agric sector, it has embarked on some development programmes and projects which will seek to resolve the major hindrances in the sector. These projects and programmes once implemented will reduce the heavy burden of the farmers to boost their morale. The ongoing programmes and projects for the agricultural sector include:
Income Levels for the Agricultural Sector.
To know the average income per month for a particular sector, the income distribution needs to be looked at. The income levels will show how lucrative a particular sector of the economy is and its contribution to national income. By identifying the income levels, the standard of living of the people can be measured for planning decisions to be made. The income levels for the agricultural sector in the Ejura Sekyedumase District are given below:
About 41.2% of the people earn above ¢500,000 per month, whilst 58.8% of the people earn below ¢500,000 per month. The average monthly income for the agricultural sector is ¢455,827.70. It could therefore be said that the agricultural sector in the district is not a gainful employer.
Date Created : 11/18/2017 6:52:28 AM