The Birim North District was carved out of the former Birim District Council in 1987 as part of the Government’s decentralisation programme to promote effective decentralised governance and speed up the development of the area. It is bordered by Kwahu West to the north, the Asante Akyem South, Amansie East and Adansi South districts all in the Ashanti region to the west, Birim South district to the south and Atiwa and Kwaebibirem districts to the east.
The district has a very strategic location especially its capital New Abirem as it is situated among major commercial towns such as Nkawkaw, Oda and Kade. With improved road conditions linking the district to these commercial centers, the economy of the district stands a better chance of being improved. New Abirem can be described as a nodal or a confluence town as it is located at the meeting point of the Nkawkaw- Oda-Kade roads.
The district covers an estimated total land area of 1,250 square kilometers. It covers about 6.47 percent of the total land area of the Eastern Region. It is now the second largest district in terms of land area after the Afram Plains District, which has an estimated land area of 5,260 square kilometers in the Eastern Region.
Relief and Drainage
The district is mostly undulating and mountainous in nature. The hilly areas of the district are basically made up of lava flows and schist, which in some cases rise to over 61 metres above sea level. These areas have high rainfall of about 170cm per annum. The lower areas of the district are also made up of phyllite and greywacke. These areas have relatively low rainfall compared with the hilly areas.
The height of the district is not uniform. The area to the east of Akoasi up to the northeastern part of the district has an elevation of about 244 metres above sea level. Also, the area from Amunana Praso in the north to Tweapiase in the east, New Abirem and Hwiakwai in the south and Ntronang and Praso Kuma in the west rises to a height between 243-183 metres above sea level.
The central part of the district comprising the area stretching from the south of New Abirem, the district capital through Nkwateng, Brenase, Ofoase, Ayeribi to Otwereso in the south and Akokoaso in the east can be described as very low lying areas. This area rises to a maximum height of 61 metres. Finally the area to the west of Brenase, Otwereso to the eastern boundary of the district and the area stretching from Ayinasi, Abenase and Adjobue to the southern end of the district has an elevation between 61 metres and 122 metres above sea level.
The district is drained mainly by two great and historical rivers, the Pra and its tributary the Birim, which is a tributary of the Pra River their major tributaries. The Pra River serves as the boundary between the district and the two districts in the Ashanti Region, while the Birim River serves as the southern boundary of the district. The tributaries of these rivers include the Nwi, Mamang, Adechensu, Sukrang and Afotosu.
All these rivers and streams flow generally from the northeast to the southwest to join the Pra, which flows southwards and enters the sea at Shama in the Western Region. This number of rivers and streams has high volumes of water, which is a very good potential in boosting agricultural production in the district. This potential is least utilized in the agricultural sector in the district. The district should take advantage of these streams and rivers to boost crop production all year to create employment, reduce poverty in the district and supply agricultural produce all year round to its dependant districts. Moreover, these water bodies could also be harnessed and treated to supply potable water to many of the towns in the district.
The district lies within the wet semi-equatorial climatic zone that experiences substantial amounts of precipitation. It experiences a double maxima rainfall pattern. The first rainfall season starts from late March to early July and the second season is from mid August to late October. The amount of rainfall received in the district is between 150 cm and 200 cm reaching its maximum during the two peak periods of May-June and September - October yearly.
Temperatures range between an average minimum of 25.2 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 27.9 degrees Celsius. The district has a relative humidity of about 55-59 per cent throughout the year. This high amount of rainfall and moderate temperatures has the potential of improving and sustaining agricultural activities in the district. This climatic condition supports the cultivation of food crops and tree crops such as oil palm and cocoa. This has given rise to increasing farming activities in the district. This climatic condition confirms why the district is mostly described as an agrarian distinct.
The district lies within the Semi-deciduous forest belt of Ghana comprising tall trees with evergreen undergrowth. The forest contains large species of economic trees. These trees are highly valuable for the timber industry.
The district is home to nine forest reserves. The rapid expansion of the cocoa and oil palm industries in the district is changing the original forest into a secondary type. This type of vegetation with its associated undergrowth prevents the soil from erosion and adds humus to improve the soil’s fertility. This makes the soil rich in nutrients and supports crop production in the district. The vegetation is also home to many wild life species which provides meat to a portion of the population. Frequent bushfires have also contributed to the change that is occurring in the original vegetation.
The Natural and Built Environment
The environment has become a major issue in development planning because of the fact that every development project has its environmental implications. There is however a general lack of understanding and lackadaisical attitude towards the effects of activities on the environment.
The review of the environmental situation of the district is to identify environmental condition that act as constraints to development planning and predetermine the likely impact of development activities on the environment.
Condition of the Natural Environment
The Birim North district is one of the forested districts in the country. Parts of these forests have been reserved to ensure sustainable use of the natural resources resulting in the creation of nine forest reserves to preserve part of the original vegetation in the district. However, a number of factors have contributed immensely to the reduction of the forest cover in the district. Prominent among these are poor farming practices, lumbering (especially the activities of illegal chainsaw operators), indiscriminate felling of trees without replacement and isolated cases of bushfires.
Human activities such as farming and timber felling are causing the depletion of the forest vegetation in the district. These human activities especially along the banks of the Pra River have resulted in its headwaters getting dry up every year during the dry season every year. This normally causes perennial water shortages in communities which depend on it for their water supply. The other river bodies in the district need protection for continual water supply for both domestic and economic activities in the district.
The deforestation within the district has been caused by isolated cases of bushfires, over exploitation and illegal mining activities. Though the number of bushfires in the district is on the decline, there has been an upsurge in illegal mining activities especially in the Noyem area of the district. Bare pits are common sites in the area. Also with commencement of mining activities by Newmont Company, particular attention should be paid to environmental protection in the district.
For the forest to continue to supply its resources and play its critical role in the economic and environmental conditions of the district, environmental management programmes should be put in place to sustain the environment. Also the activities of the illegal miners in the district should also be streamlined. In this view agricultural land banks should be created so that the district would continue to be self sufficient in food production. Moreover farmers in the district should be educated on farming practices that will enhance the protection of the vegetation in the district.
Condition of the Built Environment
The primary problems of the built environment are those of poor housing quality, unplanned building construction and poor waste disposal. Development control is also ineffective and the use of low quality building materials is predominant. Many houses in the district (84%) are built with local building materials. Houses with eroded foundations are a common phenomenon in the district. Sheet and galley erosion were also identified within the built environment. It is also worth noting that drainage systems within the built environment are woefully inadequate.
There is the need to construct wider drains in many of the settlements especially the major towns and those in low lying areas in the district. Access to toilet facilities has been improved over the period through the construction of public toilet facilities in selected communities. Poor solid waste management is another problem facing the natural environment. Open dumping is still the common mode of refuse disposal. Although some communities have well established refuse dumps, the number is not enough to accommodate the pressure. Some of the streams are hence polluted from these refuse.
The consequences have been indiscriminate disposal of refuse district-wide, creating an unkempt environment which could lead to the outbreak of epidemic. Though the district has not been able to acquire a final disposal site for waste, it collects refuse through the use of wheel barrows for dumping at traditional refuse disposal sites in the few urban areas. The district can not also boast of any trenching ground where liquid waste could be disposed off as it is now putting measures in place to get final dumping sites for both solid and liquid waste.
Geology and Soil types in the District
Greater part of the district is underlain with granite and both upper and lower Birimian rock formation of phylite, schist, greywacke and metavolcanic and quartzes. These rocks have high potential for ground water extraction. The district lies almost wholly in the main mineral deposit area of the region accounting for the large mineral prospecting and exploration by a number of firms and small scale mining operation in gold and diamond.
The soils of the district can be classified into five broad categories. These are:
• Swedru-Nsaba/Ofin Compound Association;
• Atewa-Atukrom-Asikuma-Ansum Compound Association;
• Juaso-Manso-Debia Association;
• Bekwai-Oda Association; and
• Birim-Chichiwere Association.
The Swedru-Nsaba Ofin Compound Association is the predominant soil formation found in the district. These are soils developed over granite and can be found around Pankese in the northern part of the district.
It is also predominant around Nkwateng, stretching south of Otwereso and westward to Abenase. This compound association consists of two simple associations, Swedru-Nsaba Association and Nta-Ofin Association, the latter being developed from the transported products of the erosion of the former Swedru series occur on nearly flat summits and gently to moderately steep upper slopes. The Swedru Nsaba series are high in magnesia and potash, are very good soils for tree and arable crops, and are particularly excellent for cocoa. Ofin soils are unsuitable for tree crops and mostly used for growing dry season vegetables, sweet potatoes, sugarcane and rice.
The soil in the Atewa –Atukrom-Asikuma-Ansum compound series are found around the Amuana Praso area. This soil type is restricted to a smaller part of the district. This type of soil consist of dark brown slightly humus silty clay loam topsoils overlying reddish brown to red silky clay loam subsoils. Generally, these two soil series are infertile because of strong acidity and low base status. The soils are recommended for coffee, oil palm, other tree crops and forestry.
Juaso-Manso-Adubea Associaiton can be found around Noyem stretching south to Prasokuma and to the east as far as Atobiaso. This soil type is dark brown and shallow. This type of soil supports the production of oil palm. The Bekwai- Oda Association can be found around New Abirem stretching to Ntronang. The Bekwai series are well drained and are suitable for the production of a wide variety of tree and arable crops such as cocoa, coffee, citrus, oil palm, avocado pear, mangoes, yams, maize, cassava and plantain. The Oda series occupy also flat, fairly extensive lands adjacent to rivers and streams and are well suited for mechanized irrigated rice farming.
The Birim-Chichiwere Association which are restricted to the southeastern part of the district around Edubia are soils developed over the River Birim deposits. Birim series are moderately well drained, deep and easy to work with machines. They occur on almost flat lands where susceptibility to erosion is virtually nil or very slight. They are suitable for a wide range of tree and arable crops. Chichiwere series on the other hand are generally considered bad for tree crops.
Date Created : 11/23/2017 9:54:20 AM