Agriculture is the major economic activity in the Kwahu West and employs 60% of the labour force. The baseline survey revealed that generally large-scale farming activities are limited . Agriculture in the municipality is on subsistence level, and very few farmers engage in plantation farming. Production situation in the is shown in the table below:-
Land tenure System
Farmlands in the municipality are acquired through inheritance, lease, family head, purchase and chiefs. About 40.0% of respondents interviewed acquired their lands through inheritance, 35% through lease, 18% through family head, 5% through purchase, and 2.0% through allocation by chiefs.
Farmers in the municipality have farm sizes ranging from 0.2 hectare to over 2 hectares (Table 1.25). The baseline survey indicates that Kwahu West is a district of medium-sized farms, the average farm size being about 0.84 hectares. Field survey also shows that majority of farmers; about 70% have 2 or more farms at different locations. About 52% of the total land area of 414 km2 is under cultivation.
Most farmers are cultivating in 2 or 3 locations of an average of 0.83 ha in a sedentary farming system. With an increase in population there is every tendency that in not too distant future, there would be pressure on farmland. This might result in encroachment of forest reserves, which could enhance the deforestation problem.
Indeed as a result of human activities on land usage, various farming systems have evolved. These include inter alias, mono cropping, crop rotation, agro-forestry, mixed cropping and mixed farming. These systems are modification of shifting cultivation and bush fallow systems.
Expansion in the sizes of land for agricultural purposes has resulted in the upsurge of deforestation and bush burning. Not only these, but sizeable portions of land have also been exposed to other degradation such as loss of soil fertility and soil erosion. Clearing lands for farming is by slash and burn technique which most often results in bush fires. Major tree crop grown in the included cocoa, Cola nut, oil palm, citrus, and food crops grown are cassava, maize, plantain, cocoyam and vegetables.
Three forms of labour are employed in farming (figure 1.16).These are: 60% rely on family labour, 30% hired labour, and 10% rely on the "Nnoboa" system to obtain labour for farming. According to the baseline survey conducted, all respondent farmers reported of shortage of labour at one stage or other in their farming activities. It is more pronounced during land clearing and weeding periods. Most farmers walk between 2-5 kilometers to their farms. This is mainly due to the fact that large tracts of fertile lands are located further away from the settlements, as closer lands to the settlements have been worked out.
Cocoa, which is an exportable crop and a major foreign exchange earner for the country, is widely produced in the municipality. It used to be a cocoa-producing area, but has lost that glory due to the intensive bush fire which occurred in 1983 and upsurge of swollen shoot disease in the . Most of the trees were cut down to give way to maize and cassava. Private farmers mostly handle the cocoa industry.
The extension Unit of Cocoa Service Division that manages the cocoa industry has now been absorbed by Ministry of food and Agriculture and is now working under that umbrella. The average farm size of the crop is 0,6 hectares. Marketing of the product is done mainly through the Ghana Cocoa Marketing Company of COCOBOD and on a limited scale through private organization such as OLAM, AKUAPA etc.
Citrus is also widely found in the municipality. The crop is cultivated and marketed by private peasant farmers. Presently ADRA, an NGO is assisting farmers in 22 communities in the municipality to establish citrus farms. These areas are Ekoso, awergya, Kwahu daa .atweide, jamasin nol.etc
The objective of agricultural Extension Services is to assist local farmers to increase agricultural produce and introduce to farmers new and improved technology through training and farm demonstrations. However, Extension Services are inadequate as only 25.8% of farmers captured in the survey have access to Extension Services.
The Ministry of Food and agriculture has mapped out 26 operational areas which are manned by 26 from line staff from the agricultural-Extension Unit. Presently, the Extension Officers / Farmer ratio is 1:1,800 which is unfavorable when compared to the national standard of 1:800. From the survey, the farmers indicated that the service is not satisfactory and the maximum average number of contracts made in a year is about 10 times. Logistical problems hinder the smooth operations. These problems need to be sorted out.
Livestock are kept by farmers who are also engaged in crop farming. The main animals kept by the farmers are sheep, goats, poultry and pigs. About 89% of livestock farmers rear sheep, goats and fowls using the backyards of their living areas. Only about 2.6% of livestock farmers are engage in piggery. High production cost is limiting producers from increasing their stock. Cattle rearing are not much
Perishable produce e.g. vegetables, and fruits cultivated are sold fresh since there are no storage facilities for these staples and fruits. Maize is however stored in traditional barns and roofs of kitchen.
The unavailability of appropriate storage facilities has led to post harvest losses. The introduction of an appropriate technology for construction of storage facilities would reduce post harvest losses. Also bulk of agric produce is sold unprocessed like cassava, plantain. There are few small-scale agro-based processing industries like maize, cassava, palm oil as well as local processing gin.
The veterinary services whose main concern is animal health have as their aim, the strengthening of the development and improvement of livestock and poultry industry . Field and slaughter house activities occupy 85% of the working hours of the staff.
The survey revealed that about 15% of those who rear animals received veterinary services. Diseases such as coccidiosis, Newcastle, fowl pox, gumboro, skin disease, ticks, diarrhea helminthiases, rabies and PPR (Pest.des Pestis ) hinder animal production. Access to veterinary services is one of the factors that hinder livestock production . Efforts should be made to develop the sector so as to improve upon the inhabitant’s daily intake of protein as healthy population increases productivity.
Source of Finance for Agriculture
Financing of farming activities in the municipality is largely from own saving. About 80% of the respondents accounted for this. As savings are very low, capital formation becomes difficult and even when it is accomplished it is too low to impact positively on agricultural production in the Municipality
1. Unfavorable Land Tenure System
2. Low prices for agricultural produce
3. Limited Access to credit
4. High Post harvest losses
5. Low productivity
Date Created : 11/26/2017 1:43:16 PM