Economy of the District
The economy of the District is dominated by agriculture with commerce and industrial sectors least developed. Agriculture and related trade employs more than 73 per cent of the population. Most of those engaged in agriculture are into crop farming while the rest are into livestock rearing, fishing and marketing of agricultural produce. Also, most of the farmers in the district are subsistence farmers with few commercial ones. The farmers produce food crops such as maize, cassava, plantain, cowpea and vegetables. Mango and oil palm are also cultivated on large scale. Livestock reared in the district include poultry, sheep, goat, pigs, cattle and non-traditional animals such as grass cutter.
Fishing is the main activity carried out by the people along the Volta Lake. The district has vast untapped aquaculture advantage due to long stretch of the Volta Lake which acts as a boundary with the Afram Plains and Asuogyaman districts respectively from the north–eastern part of the district. In addition, the district is blessed with the Volta Lake as its reservoir for commercial irrigation, potable water projects and aquaculture.
Table 1.26 shows the distribution of agricultural households by locality in the district. Overall, about 83 percent of the households are said to be engaged in agricultural activities. Most of the households engaged in agricultural activities are rural households constituting over 89 percent as shown in table.
Agricultural Extension Service
The Department of Agriculture is headed by the District Director of Agriculture who manages and coordinates the day to day activities of the Department.
For effective agricultural extension delivery, the District is zoned into four (4) namely; Asesewa, Sekesua, Anyaboni and Sesiamang zones. Each zone has five (5) operational areas and is manned by a District Agricultural Officer (Supervisor). There are twenty (20) operational areas and the Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs) are in charge of these operational areas. Farmers and processors are assisted through home visits, field days and demonstrations among others where modern agricultural technologies are transferred to them to increase food production and processing in the district.
There is an Agri-business Center in the District located at Asesewa. The Center was built by Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) to help reduce post-harvest loss along the maize value chain. The centre has a tractor and implements, shellers, driers and warehouses for carrying out activities such as land preparation, planting, shelling, drying and storing maize. These services are available to farmers in the district. Nonetheless, some farmers use traditional barns and narrow cribs to store their maize.
There are no storage facilities for fruits, vegetables and other perishable farm produce in the district so the farmers are compelled to sell their produce fresh. In the fisheries and animal production sectors, there is one cold storage facility which stores slaughtered animals and fishes for sale to the public.
Farmer’s own savings is the main source of credit for funding farming activities. Other sources of farm credit in the district are private money lenders, relatives, banks and investment and loan companies.
Most farmers are not able to access agricultural credit from the formal financial institutions especially the banks because of lack of collateral on their part. Again, rain fed agriculture is considered as a risky business by the banks hence their reluctance to lend money to farmers. However, recognized Farmer Based Organizations (FBOs) and few farmers with very good records in terms of credit worthiness readily access credit from the financial institutions. Since majority of the farmers cannot access loans from the financial institutions, they resort to borrowing from private money lenders who charge very high interest rates.
Marketing of Agricultural Products
Market plays a very vital role in the agricultural value chain. The district can boast of three major markets. During the various market days, farmers, middlemen and traders from within and outside the district undertake marketing of farm produce. Majority of these marketers are wholesalers who buy the produce in bulk and transport them to urban marketing centres.
The prices of the various commodities in the district depend on the season of the year or demand and supply of the commodity at a time. Prices of commodities are generally low during the major season where there is glut on the market. The lean season usually records high prices of produce since demand for the commodities is high during this period.
Even though prices of farm produce are determined by demand and supply, middlemen usually bargain with the farmers for low prices in order to maximize their profit; a situation which is unfavourable to the farmers.
Available market infrastructure in the district consists of the physical places where periodic buying and selling takes place. The district has three large markets centres at Akateng, Sekesua and Asesewa (popularly remembered in the history of Ghana by a phrase “Market Day at Asesewa”), which form the vibrant commercial hubs of the district. These market centres operate interchangeably five days in a week where one can get almost all kinds of food stuff to buy at affordable prices. Also, a bulk of livestock in the Eastern region such as cattle is traded in the district. Table 1.29 shows the market infrastructures in the district.
Small Scale Industries
Industrial activities are largely on small scale and characterized by over reliance on indigenous knowledge and resources. Sole proprietorship, family ownership and use of labour intensive technology are some of the basic features of this sector. Major small scale industrial activities engaged in by the people include fitting, welding, carpentry and cassava processing, Local gin (Akpeteshie) production, oil palm production as well as tailoring, basket-weaving, beads making and batik tie- dye. Table 1.8 shows the categories of small scale industries in the district.
General Problems of Small Scale Industries
· Inadequate working capital
· Unreliable energy supply
· High cost of inputs
· Lack of organized unions
· High cost of credit facilities
Financial Institutions & Economic Activities
Financial Institutions play key roles in the mobilization of resources in the district. An analysis of financial institutions gives an indication of how local people utilize credit for internal development. There is one major rural bank in the district; the Upper Manya Krobo Rural Bank at Asesewa is the main financial institution in the district that provides loan facilities to the people, especially traders and farmers. There are also three other private financial institutions based at Asesewa, providing micro-financing facilities to the people in Asesewa and around the surrounding villages. Table 1.10 shows economic activities in the district.
Household Income and Expenditure
The annual average household income for a sampled population of 1320 households is GH¢85045. The average per capita income was realized to be GH¢64.43. Most of the people draw their income from food crop farming (68.90%) and other businesses 31.1% as shown in the table below. With this high dominance of food crop farming as a source of the household income in the district, which
is largely rain fed, there is the need for the development of irrigation facilities that will constantly supply water to reduce the degree of vulnerability associated with rain failures.
The gap between the household income and expenditure represents non-costed consumption expenditure; basically on food items. Further analysis of the household expenditure revealed that most households in the District spend about 71.2% of their incomes on household needs such as food, clothing and energy.
Local Economic Development
Local Economic Development (LED) is a process that brings together resources from within and outside the community to address these challenges and to promote economic growth in a systematic and organized manner at the local level. A local community needs to research in to its own economic strengths, agree upon a common strategy and organize itself to implement the strategy. In our global environment today, successful economies depend upon being able to adapt to fast-changing national and international market forces.
LED focuses on the district’s potential and identifies specifically what local stakeholders can and need to do to ensure their local community reaches its potential. The present era of globalization has been accompanied by an increasing interest in the role played by localities in economic development and employment creation. The Upper Manya District Assembly has the Volta Lake in its catchment area. The abundance of bamboo and favourable weather among others are regarded as the strength of the District.
In response to this trend the District Assembly (UMKDA) has developed a number of programmes to support its local constituents in promoting decent work at local level through a Local Economic Development (LED) approach. The UMKDA understands LED as: “a participatory development process that encourages partnership arrangements between the private and public stakeholders of a defined territory that enable the joint design and implementation of a common development strategy by making use of the local resources and competitive advantage, with the final objective of creating decent jobs and sustainable economic growth for all”. Participatory approaches have the main advantage of encouraging bottom-up solutions to our problems.
To this end the Assembly has embarked on many activities to ensure that the objectives of LED are achieved.
Among these activities are;
Training programmes for entrepreneurs, market women, etc on a regular basis to build their capacities.
Providing funds to the Disadvantaged in society to enable them start up business to improve their living standards
Creating enabling environment to foster growth of businesses.
The challenges confronting LED efforts in the district include
Lack of funds to undertake the LED activities.
Inadequate LED expertise in the District.
Date Created : 11/27/2017 4:48:40 AM