Agricultural activity is dominated by subsistence farming under which farmers in the district rely mainly on traditional methods of production. Eighty-six percent (86%) of total land area is arable. Average holdings are between 2 to 3 acres. According to the 2004 Multi Round Annual Crops and Livestock, about 51,571 people are engaged in farming activities in the district.Of this figure, women represent 41% while the males form 59%. Those in 40-49 age group (both males and females) form the bulk of farmers (31%), followed by 50-59 age group (19.4%).
The 60+ cohort form 19% of the total. Major crop-producing areas in the district are Agona,. Birease, Dwabor, Ayensudo, Kissi, Dominase, Kwameta and Simiw. Sugar cane is cultivated in low lying areas in the district. Replanting of destroyed coconut farms with a tolerant variety is in progress. Two hundred and twelve (212) farmers in 18 communities are involved in the project, with 252 trees having been replanted already.
The animals reared are cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry. Unfortunately, most of the people rear animals as part of their way of life.Commercial poultry farmers are few. However, almost every home has some local birds.Some selected grasscutter farmers have been trained in grasscutter production technologies as part of efforts to boost the production of non-traditional commodities.
Agricultural Investment Potential
•Large tracts of land stretching from Elmina to Komenda Sefwi are suitable for livestock production
•Good soil conditions prevail for large scale production of pineapple, coconut, citrus, cassava, etc
•The district has potential in the production of vegetables
•Elmina is a major fishing centre in the country and with the necessary inputs and support it can process fish for export
•Establishment of agro-processing facilities for pepper, pineapple, citrus, sugar cane and oil palm are feasible.
The fisheries sub-sector in Ghana accounts for 5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Fishermen, fish processors, traders, canoe and boat builders, mechanics and families who depend on this sub-sector for a livelihood constitute 10% of the total Ghanaian population. Fish makes up 60% of the Ghanaian animai protein intake. As such 75% of the total production of fish is consumed domestically.
Fresh fish is usually stored in cold facilities. There are only two cold storage facilities at Elmina but no ice making plants. The inadequacy of storage facilities has resulted in the pervasive fish smoking along the coastal zone of the district. Alternatively, some of the smoked fish is converted into fish powder, which is packaged for sale. This product can be preserved much longer than the smoked fish
Types of Fishing
Two main types of fishing are practised. These are: Marine and Inland (fresh water) fishing.
This is done on a limited scale by fish farmers who usually combine it with their normal farming activities. From official records, only two (2) active fish farmers are known in the district although other unregistered fish farmers exist.
Two groups of fishing fleet engage in marine fishing. These two groups, which together have a total fleet of 760 canoes and fishing vessels, are:
1.A fleet of 735 wooden dugout canoes, half of them motorized and operate from 9 fishing villages and towns. In 1993 with catch from only canoes, the district produced 20,729 metric tonnes of fish.
2.The second fleet comprises vessels of particular type, which only operate from Elmina. This is a fleet of about 25 diesel engine inshore vessels using mainly light bottom trawl and purse seine nets.
Fishing operates for six days of the week targeting mainly sardines, some demersal species and crustacea. A variety of fishing gears are used in both marine and inland fishing. These are:
•Trawl for motor fishing vessels;
•Ali, Poli and Wasta nets (APW) for both motorized fishing vessels and canoes;
•Drag-net for large canoes; and
•Set net for small and medium sized canoes; and Beach seine manual used in both inland and marine fishing.
Elmina is the only fishing town in the district with a fish landing which offers the only berthing and landing facilities for both inshore and canoe fleet. The rest of the fishing villages and towns lack this facility. There has been continuous decline in fish landings since 1995 due to many factors. Notable among these are the high cost of fishing inputs, unprotected and deteriorated landing beaches, unfavourable weather and the indiscriminate use of carbide.
Fish landed by the canoes and inshore fleet is sold directly to the fishmongers who smoke the bulk of it with the rest being sun-dried or salted. Some of the fish is also sold directly to consumers at the landing sites.Fish processing is done mainly through smoking by using the traditional round mud ovens and the “Choker Smoker”. The traditional method of smoking contributes greatly to air pollution along the coastal zone due to inefficient biomass combustion generating large volumes of smoke. The latter method of processing has many advantages over the first and need to be adopted. However, the limiting factor is finance. CEDECOM has constructed one but it needs to be tested. It is located at the fishing village at Elmina.
Characteristics Of Fishing In KEEA
Figures available from the Fisheries Department suggest that there are 9,669 fishermen using 924 canoes and 60 in-shore vessel for fishing in the KEEA Municipality. The amount of fish landed in the district from marine sources is presented. The figures suggest that there could be large fluctuations in the amount of catches. It seems worthwhile to undertake a study into the causes of fluctuation in fish catches, for a better understanding of the dynamics of this important economic activity in KEEA (especially Elmina).The peak season for fishing lies between June and September. Most of the fish caught in the KEEA Municipality is landed in Elmina.
Seventy-five percent of the inhabitants of Elmina perform jobs which are directly and indirectly associated with fishing.The importance of fishing in Elmina town has prompted programmes like a ’Fishing Continuation School’ for first cycle school graduates and the establishment of the Paul Isert Centre to give update information on fishing technology.In the late 1960’s a fish-landing site (now called Mpoben) for diesel engine motorized boats was constructed in Elmina. Discussions about the construction of a modern fishing harbour or the upgrading of the current harbour are regularly held, but have not resulted in any concrete planning and implementation.
The type of nets and gear used for fishing determines the local organisation of canoe fishermen in Elmina. There are 215 Ali Poli Watsa net groups, 79 set net groups and 30 hook and line groups.Besides these, the town has ten beach seines. All the 60 in-shore motorised vessels of KEEA are stationed in Elmina town. The number of canoes and vessels increase between July-September, the peak of the fishing season.Among the types of fish landed in Elmina is burrito, round and flat sardines, cassava fish, tuna, scad mackerel, sea breams, red fish, ribrin fish, barracuda, lobsters, prawns and crabs. In Appendix 2.6 the Fisheries Department provides an overview of fish catch in Elmina for 5 years.
The figures once more bring forward the suggestion that factors which account for fluctuations in fish catch are worth assessing, in order to find ways of boosting or sustaining production in the future.An acknowledged problem for the local fishermen is for instance the presence of big production trawlers of mainly Korean origin, locally called Seiko, who use nets that catch both adult and young fish, and in general at times take away much of the harvest before the local fishermen.These incomes represent what is obtained from fish sales alone. Apart from this there are incomes from supportive services like fuel supply, vessel engine repairs, fish gear sales, fish processing, and food and ware vending at the landing sites, as well as tolls.
Elmina has four fish landing sites, namely Mpoben, Zion, Liverpool Street and Post Office. These sites each have a chief fisherman referred to as Apofohene.The Apofohene elect from among each other an overall leader of all the fishermen in Elmina. There are advisors to help them in their duties.The Apofohene and the advisors make regulations about fishing in Elmina, receive non-citizen (or guest) fishermen in Elmina and settle disputes. To support their duties, each vessel makes a financial contribution for the running of the governing body.The Apofohene is not only the spokesman for the fishermen, but also interacts with other agencies to make it easier for fishermen to acquire fishing assets and capital.
Similarly women, who buy the fish from the fishermen and either process or market it, have a ’queen mother’ called Konkohenmaa. Together with her advisors, she sets the rules for fish trading and settles misunderstandings. Both the Apofohene and Konkohenmaa are channels through which communication, information, and education pass to the fishermen and fish traders.What this local organisation does not do is the pricing of fish catches. That is left to be determined by market forces. By convention the local measure for a fish catch is not by tonnage but by basins or crates.
Financing Of Fishing Assets And Capital Goods
In the fishing industry capital goods and assets are to a large extent privately owned. Fishermen are employed by owners of fishing equipment, and share the profits with the owner after deduction of amortization amounts for the vessel or canoe, the outboard motor, nets and fuel. The gear owner takes a greater proportion of the profit and the rest is shared among the fishermen. Especially during the lean season, catches do sometimes not cover the cost of fuel used for each fishing trip. Debts accumulate and make the fishermen poor. When the major fishing season comes, there are often bumper catches, which lower prices and does not make the fishermen not any better off.
New approaches are emerging to the financing of fishing. Fishmongers have been trying to come together to purchase the gear for the fishermen. In so doing the fishmongers reserve the right to first choice / first buy of the fish wholesale from such vessels before retailing it.The Kakum Rural Bank in Elmina has been trying to help fishermen with financial investments, especially for outboard engines and nets, on the condition that the fishermen make their savings with the Bank. A micro credit scheme has just begun operating at the Mpoben landing site.
Besides the fishermen try to sustain themselves by a non-forma! method of saving money, called ’Susu’. This involves paying a specified amount of money each day to a collector. The salary of the collector is made up of a day’s deduction from the contributors to the Susu scheme. The scheme earns no interest, it merely encourages saving.Fish is sold raw, smoked, or fermented with salt. Very little is fried or used to make street foods for sale. Of the named processing methods, smoking is the most common. The usual method is to use clay ovens. Clay winning for such ovens is not environmentally friendly.
Neither is the use of wood fuel for smoking a question that must be answered by tree planting for constant fuel wood supply. Fish smokers do not as yet know the components of smoke or the science that will make a standardised smoked fish. However, the known traditional method of smoking makes their products marketable.Most of the fish landed in Elmina is taken outside the town after processing. The usual places of sale are Kumasi, Techiman and the forest regions. Information gathered from the fishing sector suggests regular oversupply in the market, forces prices down.
For this reason cold stores and tinned fish factories are projects that could improve the living conditions in Elmina.Fishing in Ghana exploits fish from stocks in the sea, rivers, lagoons, and lakes and in recent times also from artificially made fishponds. The marine resource of fish is the most important. An estimated 8,700 motorised and non-motorised wooden dugout canoes using purse seines, ring and set nets mostly. There are 300 in-board diesel engine powered vessels and 40 large distant water frozen trawlers in the country.
The Future Of Fishing In Elmina
Fishing has got a future in Elmina, but then the idea of fishing, as a business for uneducated and illiterate people must be discarded. Fishing is an honourable trade, and school leavers who would like to take up fishing as a profession must be encouraged to do so. A higher percentage of educated fishermen will help the trade to achieve a higher professional status, and will ease the introduction of scientific methods of fishing.Educated fish processors will know about handling fish hygienically and educated mongers ere able to take records of their ventures. Laws formulated to regulate fishing, vocational education, and technology transfer may be easier to enforce with educated fisher folk.
The fishing industry in Elmina will be helped with the construction of cold stores; a fish processing factory and the construction of improved harbour facilities or a new fishing harbour.Fishing in Elmina has the potential as a tourist attraction. On a fishing day, the cluster of canoes and people on the landing sites, which can be viewed from the castle of St. George or from the waterfront, is a picturesque sight. The observer can choose what he wants to see: types of canoes, colours of canoes, proverbs and slogans written on canoes, flag symbols of canoes, different apparel people put on at the landing sites, different languages spoken, barter and the procurement of fish, people’s behavioural patterns and other social eccentricities.
On Tuesdays, the non-fishing day, it is also an attraction to observe how fishermen mend their nets, how they meet to settle disputes, and share their profits. The Elmina fishermen give a special touch to the local Bakatue Festival, when they hold canoe regattas.Their ways of contracting marriages, sustaining them, and conducting funerals are also points of interest. Currently fishing and its connected activities have not been used or explored as a tourist attraction. This seams a missed opportunity.
Apart from the ways tourists can enjoy the colourful aspects of fishing described above, tourists could for example also pay to enter the landing area and learn about the way fishing takes place in Elmina, get an explanation about proverbs and symbols, learn about the history, and listen to stories from the traditional fishermen. A tour guide from the fishing community itself, who receives a fee at the end of the tour, could guide the tourists.
The Impact Of Fishing On The Environment
A proper environmental impact study of fishing in Elmina has not been conducted so far. It is however, readily observable that there is lack of a scientific approach to fishing This may account for the notable fluctuating catches. It appears that migratory fishes are caught indiscriminately off season, and that there is no conscious stocking of the sea through non-fishing periods or otherwise to allow fishes to breed. There is the already noted problem of the factory trawlers who empty the sea with their nets.
Until quite recently some fishermen used dynamite or DDT to catch fish. Dynamite poses a danger to the fishermen themselves as well as the fishing grounds, and DDT pollutes the water.The hydrocarbons of the fuel used to power vessels are likely to have a negative cumulative effect on the flora and fauna of the sea. On land the fish processing brings stench and smog into the town, the harvesting of clay to build ovens for smoking fish is environmentally degrading and a security hazard.The use of dynamite by some fishermen does not only kill fishes indiscriminately, thereby depleting fish resources, but pollutes the sea and kills other animals and plants in the sea as well.
It is also harmful to human beings. As stated earlier, Elmina has virtually no manufacturing concern or factory whose activities produce any hazardous affluent, which has a direct impact on the environment.However, indiscriminate disposal of used oils and / or spillage of oils and other fuel from fishing vessels, especially into the Benya Lagoon and its environs, poses a danger to people and aquatic life as well as plants along the banks. The use of hard to decompose polythene bags for the carriage of goods and indiscriminate disposal of such materials poses an immediate environmental problem.
Date Created : 11/21/2017 5:15:37 AM