Physical and Natural Environment
In general, the physical environment in which man finds himself, to a large extent determines and affects the socio-economic conditions of the population who dwell in it. This section aims at describing the location and size, geology, relief and drainage, climate and soils of the Atebubu-Amantin Municipal as well as their implications for the development of the district.
Location and Size
The Atebubu-Amantin Municipal is one of the Twenty –Nine (29) districts/Municipalities in the Brong-Ahafo Region of Ghana. It is located between latitudes 7o23” N and 8o22” N and longitudes 0o 30’W and 1o 26’W. It shares boundaries with the Pru District to the North, the Sene West District to the west and Nkoranza North District to the East all in Brong-Ahafo Region. To the South, it is bounded by three districts in the Ashanti Region namely Ejura-Sekyedumase, Sekyere East and Sekyere West Districts. The Municipal capital (Atebubu) is about 155km from Kumasi and 158 km from the regional capital, Sunyani. The Municipal has a surface area of about 2,624 square kilometers.
Figures 1 and 2 show the Municipal within the national context and its administrative divisions respectively.
The rocks underlying the Municipal are part of the Voltaian formation which covers about two-fifths of the surface area of Ghana. The rocks belonging to this formation are mainly sedimentary and exhibit horizontal alignments. Sandstones, shale, mudstones and limestone are the principal examples of these rocks. This formation has a demerit of posing difficulty in terms of underground water exploitation.
Relief and Drainage
In terms of relief, the Municipal has a plain landscape with rolling and undulating land surface a general elevation of between 60-300 meters above sea level. The Municipal is not associated with any significant highlands or hills.
The area is mainly drained by the Pru River which is a right tributary to the Volta Lake. It flows across the Northern part of the district. Other important streams in the Municipal include the Nyomo and Bresuo rivers. The sluggish flow of these rivers permits the depositing of alluvial soils on the river beds and along their banks. The fertile nature of alluvial soils is a great potential for increased food production in the district.
The water table in the Municipal is however very low, resulting in the drying of water bodies including wells and boreholes especially during the dry season. Water from the Pru River is currently been treated to be supplied to the inhabitants of the Atebubu Township and a few surrounding communities.
The Municipal experiences the tropical continental or interior savanna type of climate; which is a modified form of the wet semi-equatorial type of climate. This is due to the location of the Municipal in the transitional zone, between the two major climatic regions in Ghana. The total annual rainfall is between 1,400 mm to 1,800 mm and occurs in two seasons. The first rainy season begins in May or June whilst the second rainy season begins in September or October. The difference between the minor and the major seasons is hardly noticed because of the transitional nature of the area.
The mean monthly temperature ranges from a high of 30oC in March to as low as 24oC in August. Mean annual temperature ranges between 26.5oC and 27.2oC. In extreme cases temperatures rise to about 40oC as recorded in 1999. The Municipal comes under the influence of the Northeast Trade Winds (Harmattan) between November and March/April. The district’s climate is hardly stable. For example, in some years, the rains delay or come in low quantities as happened in 1983 and 1994. In other years, the rains come in excess with stormy and torrential down pours, which are sometimes destructive to both crops and the built environment.
The Municipal falls within the interior wooded savanna or tree savanna. However, owing to its transitional nature, the area does not totally exhibit typical savanna conditions. The savanna is heavily wooded, though most of the trees are not as tall and gigantic as those in the moist deciduous forest. It is believed that the transitional zone was once forested and that the savanna conditions currently prevailing have been the result of human activities. This may be evidenced by the existence of “fringe forests” found along the banks of rivers and streams and other areas where the impact of human activities are minimal.
Except along the margins of the moist deciduous forest, the trees are widely scattered in the district. Common trees species found outside the few dotted fringe forests include the baobab, the dawadawa, acacia and the Shea nut trees, which have adapted to this environment. Grass grows in tussocks and can reach a height of 10 feet or more. There is a marked change in the plant life of this vegetation zone during the different seasons of the year. In the wet season, the area looks green as trees blossom and grass shoot up rapidly. However, soon after the rains, leaves begin to wither and the trees begin to shed their leaves. The whole area soon looks parched and desolate.
Soils in the Municipal belong to a group called “groundwater lateritic soils” which cover nearly three-fifths of the interior wooded savanna zone of Ghana. These soils are formed mainly over Voltaian, shales and granites. Most of the soils are fine-textured, ranging from fine sandy loams to clayey loams, and are mostly poorly drained. Crops that can potentially be supported by these soils include rice, vegetables, yams, cassava, maize, sorghum, groundnuts, soya beans, cowpeas and tobacco.
Implications for Development
The physical characteristics of the Atebubu-Amantin Municipal contain a basket of potentials that can be tapped for the socio-economic development of the area. Atebubu-Amantin Municipal serves as a transit point between the northern and southern sectors of the country. This positioning has the potential of increasing the marketing potential of the Municipal and opening it up for investment.
The vast nature of the Municipal (2624km2), with an estimated population of 125,000 gives a low crude density of 62 persons per square kilometer. This implies that there could be abundant land for farming and other socio-economic activities. The comparatively easy process of acquiring agricultural land in the Municipal buttresses this fact.
The geology of the Municipal is a potential resource for development. As already mentioned, deposits of clay, sand, limestone and stone/gravel could be a stepping stone in the development of the entire district. For instance, the abundant clay deposits could be used for glazed pottery and manufacture of burnt bricks, floor and roofing tiles.
In terms of relief and drainage, the vast expanse of flat land is a potential for large scale mechanized farming. Road construction and other activities are also relatively less costly. The water resources such as the River Pru in the Municipal could also be harnessed for irrigation purposes, especially for rice cultivation and dry season gardening aside its current use for the supply of potable water for some communities in the district. The high intensity of the sun in the area provides abundant solar energy, which is already being used by farmers for preservation and storage purposes.
The district’s population derives a lot of benefits from the savanna woodlands, including housing, hunting and energy. However, these often lead to overexploitation of the vegetation, which consequently results in environmental degradation. The soils, vegetation and climate of the MUNICIPAL constitute suitable ecological conditions for both arable farming and livestock rearing. However, the excessive rainfall experienced sometimes could cause flooding, also render feeder roads unmotorable.
The road sector in the Municipal is not without problems. Most of the feeder roads are still not in good shape. Out of the total of 836.4 km road network in the District, only 324.00km representing 38.74% are engineered, the rest in fair and bad condition. Some of these roads are often rendered unmotorable during the rainy season. In addition, more farming communities are yet to be made accessible through the construction of feeder roads.
Currently, the heavy duty timber trucks which ply these roads cause considerable damage to them and this seem to be unnoticed. The cutting of timber logs from the communities by these heavy duty timber trucks causes a great damage to the feeder roads within the district, leaving behind large pot holes which collect water during the rainy seasons. Heavy rains also have the tendency of washing off these roads during heavy downpours.
It is expected that the construction of more feeder roads will open up the rural communities which produce a bulk of the food in the Municipal and eventually boost agricultural production in the District.
The high cost of road works however, has left the Municipal incapable of increasing its road links and maintaining and rehabilitating existing roads to improve upon the condition. The Municipal was thereforenot able to meet the national projected condition mix of 70 percent; “Good”, 20 percent; “Fair” and 10 percent “Poor” by the year 2013. The lack of capacity on the part of the Assembly to mobilize its own financial resources to carry out road works is affecting the rate at which roads in the Municipal are rehabilitated.
Currently, about 90% of the cost of roads constructed and rehabilitated in the Municipal is funded by DFID, with the Government of Ghana providing the remaining 10%. The Government of Ghana also carries out routine maintenance on the road. The heavy dependence on donors means that the choice of roads for construction or maintenance may not fully reflect the priority of citizens of the district.
Date Created : 11/21/2017 6:27:38 AM