Population Size and Growth Rate
The population of the Offinso North District, according to the 2010 Population and Housing Census stood at 56,881 and by an annual growth rate of 0.024% it is projected to be 68,765 by the end of year 2018. The variance increase between the base year 2010 and 2018 is 11,884. The concentration is in the principal towns of Akomadan, Nkenkaasu and Afrancho which are urban settlements. The high population numbers are due to the presence of a significant migrant population mostly from Northern Ghana who are farmers.
Spatial Distribution of population
The Offinso North District has over 95 communities. By the national standards, rural-urban classification of localities is based on whether the population of a settlement is more or less than 5,000. In the case of a rural community it should be less than 5,000 whilst an urban population should be 5,000 or more. In the case of the Offinso North District only three (3) of the communities can be said to be urban. This includes Akomadan, Nkenkaasu and Afrancho. The vast majority of the communities are therefore rural communitie
The 2010 Population and Housing Census kept the population density at 76.7 people per square kilometer. It is lower than the national figure of 103.3 in 2010. This is an indication that there would be no pressure on land in the near future.
Migration is mostly from the Northern and Volta regions into the district. Some come as either settler farmers whilst others come to work during the long spell dry season in the north and return when the farming season is ushered in. However, there are others mostly the indigenes who migrate from the district to the cities of Kumasi and Accra in search of non-existent jobs.
The implications of the issues for the development of the district are varied as outlined below.
The increasing human numbers over the years puts pressure on services and infrastructure. There is therefore the need to provide enough services and infrastructure to meet the needs of the growing population to forestall the overstretching of the existing facilities as some of them have exceeded their carrying capacities.
Besides the in-migration of people from the north, the segment of out- migration of the youth to the towns and cities need to be viewed seriously. This group of people believes that farming has not been lucrative as their hopes have been dashed by low prices of agricultural produce in the face of increasing cost of inputs.
They therefore view migrating to these towns and cities as havens in search of jobs where unfortunately these perceived jobs are non-existent.The effect has been overcrowding, sprawling slums and insanitary conditions, overstretched facilities, prostitution and armed robbery.
Natural and man-made disasters
Natural and man-made disasters in the district are handled by the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and the department of Ghana National Fire Service in the district. The mandate of NADMO is to prevent and manage disasters in the event of their occurrence. Prevention of disasters can be attained primarily through education and being proactive to put into place preventive measures especially in regard to man-made disasters. With the district being predominantly a farming area, the probability of bushfires is significantly high.
The farmers after clearing their farm lands set fire to clear weeds indiscriminately without adhering to the safe practices as has been communicated to them on countless times. It has become imperative that both NADMO and the GNFS in the district intensify education on bushfires during the plan period. During the plan period also, there should be stringent measures in place to check the effects of rain and wind storms. There is the need to educate inhabitants on the dangers of building in waterways, and engaging in sand wining activities within the communities. They should rather embark on activities such as tree planting to serve as wind breaks during heavy wind storms and also inculcate good maintenance practices.
Household Size and Characteristics
The housing stock of Offinso North District is projected to 9,314 with 13,904 households by the end of year 2018. Households in the rural areas constitute 7,590 and the rest in the urban areas. The population per house in the District is 7.5 compared to 8.1 in the region. The average household size is 5.0. The composition consists of persons from the nuclear and extended families as well as those outside the two mentioned. Heads of households are mainly males. However, there are female household heads too, who are either single or single parent households. Children constitute about 37.3 per cent of the average household.
There are three (3) main religious denominations in the district. These are Christians (72%), Moslems (17%), Traditional (2%) and those who are outside these three religious groupings (9%).
The 2010 Population and Housing Census put the rural-urban split at 58.75:41.25 as compared to a national average of 56.2:43.8. This revelation shows that the District has most of its population in the rural areas. The situation therefore poses a problem for the distribution of higher order services and functions in the district. Services must have the required threshold population before they are provided.
Age Distribution (Projected age distribution in 2018)
Analysis of the table above reveals that the population of the district is a young and a growing population with 0-14 constituting about 44% of the total population of the district. The implication for development is that more resources have to be channeled into the construction of schools, provision of water and health facilities. The rural areas would also have to be developed to hold them back as they are a potential stream of migrants. Developing the rural areas would therefore retain them in order to curb urban migration.
Sex Specific Ratio
The 2010 Population and Housing Census estimated the male/female ratio at 1:1.09 indicating that there are more females than males.
Conditions of the Natural Environment
The most common farming practice in the district is by the slash and burn method of clearing the land. This practice leaves the land bare and makes it susceptible to erosion thereby destroying the natural environment in the process and eventually altering the ecology of the district. The Offinso North District was once a forest area but the vegetation has been altered as a result of the type of farming practice and perennial bushfires. These phenomena reinforce each other year in year out and the effect has been that the district has become grassland and savannah.
It is estimated that over 90% of households depend on wood and charcoal as their main source of energy for cooking. This situation is a contributory factor to the destruction of the ecosystem. It has therefore become imperative to embark on public education and sensitization programs on the need to use Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) as fuel for households and reaforestation in the district. Another phenomenon contributing to the rapid disappearance of the forest cover is the activities of chainsaw operators. The exploitation of the forest timber by Timber firms has also contributed immensely to the depletion of the forest.
The extent of degradation of the natural environment and its consequences on the environment generally (land, water bodies and man) are overwhelming with implication on the climate. This has contributed to a change in rainfall pattern thereby contributing immensely to climate warming. There is therefore the need for all stakeholders to re-examine their activities. It must be emphasized that the authorities have not done much as far as the protection of the environment is concerned. It therefore calls for reawakening in environmental consciousness.
Conditions of the Built Environment
Over 90% of houses in the district are compound houses. They are built with sand-crete, landcrete and mud. Landcrete houses form majority of the housing stock in the district. Sandcrete houses are found mostly in the principal towns of Akomadan, Afrancho and Nkenkaasu. Even though some of the houses built of mud can be found in these large communities they are rather predominant in the rural communities. Materials used in roofing are mostly iron or aluminum sheets whilst those used by the rural communities in the hinterland are thatch.
The district has no land use map. Among the three principal towns of Akomadan, Afrancho and Nkenkaasu it is only the former which has a layout scheme, but it has outlived its usefulness in that it has not been adhered to over the years. This phenomenon has led to haphazard development. Development precedes service provision and as a result the newly developed areas have no water supply, electricity and road network.
The housing environment is characterized by poor drains, heaps of refuse dumps, strong stench from drains and public places of convenience, out of vogue toilet facilities and unkempt surroundings. Erosion has taken a serious toll thereby exposing the foundations of most buildings. The situation is most serious at Afrancho. Wall of most of the buildings have structural defects (cracks) and have not seen any paintings ever since they were constructed.
In terms of in-house facilities, majority of the houses have no toilet facilities, kitchens and bathhouses. Some of the houses have their bathhouses detached from the houses. Over 90% of the occupants depend on public toilets such as KVIPs and pit latrines.
The method of refuse disposal in the district is surface dumping. The only town with a final disposal site is Akomadan. Plans are afoot to acquire one each for Afrancho, Nkenkaasu, Asuoso and Nkwankwaa. This situation has adverse effects on the health of the people.
Potable water supply in the district is woefully inadequate. A vast majority of the people have no access to potable water supply. With the exception of Akomadan, Nkenkaasu and Akomadan which have access to pipe borne water and a few communities which have access to boreholes, the remaining communities depend on rivers and streams as their sources of water supply. The resultant effect is that there is high prevalence of water borne diseases such as intestinal worms, diarrhea, dysentery and typhoid.
Electricity supply in the district has been limited to only the communities along the Kumasi-Techiman trunk road which passes through the district. These communities are Nkwankwaa, Asempanaye, Asuoso, Kobreso, Darso, Nkenkaasu, Akomadan and Afrancho. These constitute about 45% of all the settlements in the district. Housing in the district is a challenge. The housing supply falls short of demand. Most public and civil servants are posted to the district have difficulty in accessing accommodation, especially in the rural communities. The result is that the postings are withdrawn. This has a serious implication on the development of the district. There is therefore the urgent need for the construction of accommodation units in the rural areas particularly for teachers.
The district is bereft with poor road network. The only first class road is the 39.2km road that passes through the district. The rest of the roads are third class (feeder roads) and are rendered almost immotorable most part of the year. Reshaping has not helped as just a downpour is able to make it worse than it was. This has a serious implication on transportation in the district. There is therefore the need for a comprehensive look at the development of these roads since the district contributes a lot to the food basket of the country.
Date Created : 11/25/2017 5:41:28 AM