Location and Size
Kumasi is located in the transitional forest zone and is about 270km north of the national capital, Accra. It is between latitude 6.35o – 6.40o and longitude 1.30o – 1.35o, an elevation which ranges between 250 – 300 metres above sea level with an area of about 254 square kilometres. The unique centrality of the city as a traversing point from all parts of the country makes it a special place for many to migrate to.
The Metropolis falls within the wet sub-equatorial type. The average minimum temperature is about 21.5oc and a maximum average temperature of 30.70c. The average humidity is about 84.16 per cent at 0900 GMT and 60 per cent at 1500 GMT. The moderate temperature and humidity and the double maxima rainfall regime (214.3mm in June and 165.2mm in September) have a direct effect on population growth and the environment as it has precipitated the influx of people from every part of the country and beyond its frontiers to the metropolis. This is chiefly because the climatic conditions are not harsh.
The city falls within the moist semi-deciduous South-East Ecological Zone. Predominant species of trees found are Ceiba, Triplochlon, Celtis with Exotic Species. The rich soil has promoted agriculture in the periphery. A patch of vegetation reserve within the city has led to the development of the Kumasi Zoological Gardens, adjacent to the Ghana National Cultural Centre and opposite the Kejetia Lorry Terminal. This has served as a centre of tourist attraction. In addition to its scenic beauty as a tourist centre its other objectives include education, preservation of wildlife, leisure and amusement. Apart from the zoological gardens, there are other patches of vegetation cover scattered over the peri-urban areas of the metropolis. However, the rapid spate of urbanization has caused the depletion of most of these nature reserves.
Relief and Drainage
The Kumasi Metropolis lies within the plateau of the South–West physical region which ranges from 250-300 metres above sea level. The topography is undulating. The city is traversed by major rivers and streams, which include the Subin, Wiwi, Sisai, Owabi, Aboabo, Nsuben among others. However, biotic activity in terms of estate development, encroachment and indiscriminate waste disposal practices have impacted negatively on the drainage system and have consequently brought these water bodies to the brink of extinction.
Geology and Minerals
The Kumasi Metropolitan area is dominated by the Middle Precambrian Rock. The effect of this unique geological structure in the metropolis has both positive and negative impacts on the local economy. The very existence of the Precambrian Rock has led to the development of the construction industry in the metropolis. There are a few small-scale mining activities and the proliferation of stone Quarrying and Sand Winning Industries. Even though these have created employment opportunities, the uncontrolled extraction of these resources poses environmental hazards.
Soils and Agricultural Land Use
The major soil type of the metropolis is the Forest Ochrosol. The detailed soil associations are the following: Kumasi - Offin Compound Association; Bomso – Offin Compound Association; Nhyanao - Tinkong Association; Bomso – Suko Simple Association; Bekwai – Oda Compound Association and Bekwai – Akumadan – Oda Compound Association. It is a very rich type of soil that has made it possible for a lot of foodstuff (vegetables, plantain, cassava etc) to be grown in the periphery.
Agriculture in the metropolis has seen a dramatic change in the last two decades due to rapid urbanization. The demand for residential, industrial and commercial land uses has become much greater than that of agricultural land use. Following this, it has been estimated that about 80% of the arable lands have been displaced by the construction of houses and other physical infrastructure.
It has been estimated that the metropolis has 12,000 hectares of irrigable lands consisting of swampy and marshy areas (Metro.Agriculture Directorate). Agricultural land use in the metropolis has been consigned to crop farming in the peri-urban communities (eg. Dichemso , Takyiman, Parkoso, Apeadu, Kokoben etc) and along the banks and valleys of rivers/streams. Vegetables, both traditional and exotic, are more widely cultivated than traditional food crops. As it is the case, vegetable cultivation increases with greater urbanization of communities. The main locations for vegetable cultivation are Gyinyasi, KNUST, Manhyia, Kakaro, Georgia and Asokore Mampong.
Areas that further fall under agricultural land use include lands with cultivation of food crops like yam, cocoyam, plantain, cereals, legumes and fruits take place. Other areas are lands devoted for livestock production and marketing. The Kumasi Abattoir area witnesses brisk commercial activities in pigs, sheep, goats, cattle and other small animal markets in the metropolis. The percentage of poultry farmers seems low, but they are all more or less commercial farmers. Aquaculture is well practised in the metropolis.
There are about 165 functional fishponds in the metropolis (Metro Agriculture Directorate). This activity is in its embryonic state and has bright prospects. Currently, pork, chicken and beef are processed into standard sausages, bacon etc. Furthermore, plantain chips, cassava flour and gari are also processed in the Metropolis. Local milk is also processed into yoghurt and milk drink. A lot more people are into the storage of maize.
The raising of seedlings of the various crops (oil palm, mango citrus, coconut, chilies and flowers for sale is also practised in the metropolis)
Conditions of the Natural Environment
The Kumasi Metropolis falls within the moist semi-deciduous section of the South East Ecological Zone. It is drained by a number of rivers and streams. However, as a result of the effects of the urban sprawl and population growth, the natural environment has been altered. Estate developers have encroached upon the green reserves. In addition to this, the water bodies have been greatly polluted from human activity to the extent that some are near extinction. Even the few patches of greens along the waterways have been cleared for agricultural purposes leading to siltation. Some developers have also built along and across watercourses resulting in occasional flooding in some areas in Kumasi. Industrial and vehicular emissions have also affected the quality of air in the city.
Conditions of the Built Environment
The passage of the Town and Country Planning Ordinance, Cap 84, marked the genesis of organized development of Kumasi in 1945. The Plan designated Kumasi as the “Garden City of West Africa” and declared the city among other regional capitals as a statutory planning area. This and other Planning Schemes (the Kumasi Outline Planning Scheme implemented from 1963 to 1988) sought in broad terms to provide the framework for Social, Economic, Physical, Infrastructure and Environmental growth of the city.
It is estimated that 48%, 46% and 6% of the Metropolis are urban, peri-urban and rural respectively, confirming the fast rate of urbanization. In terms of housing types the city has been categorized into high-income area, government area, indigenous areas and tenement area. It is also a home to a number of lumber and saw milling firms and two giant breweries and a bottling company along the Anloga – Ahinsan – Kaase stretch. It has a total of 846km of road network but much of it remains unpaved.
The high rate of population growth coupled with the high migrant numbers has outstripped the rate of infrastructure development and service provision. Most of the facilities have exceeded their carrying capacities. Lands in the newly developing suburbs have not been serviced, hence estate development precedes the provision of water, telephone facilities and electricity. It is estimated that about 24% of all residential structures are uncompleted.
The Kumasi Metropolis has in recent times been experiencing both human and vehicular traffic congestion, particularly in the Central Business District (CBD). As a result of the dominance of the distributive trade in the city’s economy the CBD and all the principal streets have been taken over by hawkers. The erection of wooden structures including kiosks and metal containers along the streets and on any available space is a common sight and these have greatly blighted the beauty of the city. The problem of waste management in the metropolis has been nagging.
The city’s Authorities have therefore been groping for solutions to contain the waste management problems. Flooding is a common phenomenon in some parts of the city especially during the rainy season with occasional cholera outbreak.
Plans are however afoot to develop some of the satellite markets to keep some of the hawkers off the CBD and principal streets.
Impact of Human Activity including Farming and Bushfires
The outbreak of bushfires is a rare phenomenon in the metropolis. However, the environment of the city has been characterised with solid and liquid waste, land degradation, surface water and ground water pollution as a result of human activity for several years.
Solid and Liquid Waste Management
The city is estimated to generate about 500,000kg of solid waste daily based on the current projected population of 1,610,867 (2006). It is expected to go up by 15% by the year 2010. The Waste Management Department of KMA appears to be overwhelmed by the task of hauling all the solid waste produced in the city. The task is so daunting that KMA has become synonymous with Waste Management. The use of plastic bags as packages for drinking water and other wares and the proliferation of fast foods which package cooked food in Styrofoam, and the indiscriminate disposal of these materials in the environment is an eye sore in the metropolis. These waste materials are bio non - degradable.
In terms of liquid waste management in the metropolis, some achievements have been made, but much still remains to be done.
a. The Komfo Anokye Hospital waste water currently flows into a wetland behind the Volta River Authority Power Station at Nhyiaeso. Action needs to be taken to address this environmental and sanitation problem.
b. The Asafo Sewerage Works. The sewage received at this point is treated prior to discharge into the Nsuben stream. The effluent looks good except that the indicator organisms exceed the EPA guideline values.
c. The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology liquid waste from the Halls of residence and septage collected from staff residences on and off campus is dumped on the University Compound near the treatment plant, which has broken down. Taro and sugarcane farms use the valley, which receives this sewage and septage. This water gradually seeps into the Wimi stream and is used by vegetable farmers.
The major land degradation issues are the encroachment of forest reserves, green belts, wetlands and open areas. Some of the people involved have legal documents covering these parcels of encroached lands thereby making it difficult to assess the source of the problems. The areas of grave concerns are the Owabi and Offin watersheds, which are the source of water for the city and surrounding towns. Sacred groves continue to suffer from encroachment. Areas reserved as greenbelts have been taken over by shops of all sorts and small scale industries eg. garages, soap and palm kernel oil extraction.
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, which used to be a virgin forest has been rapidly degraded into farmlands. Wetlands in the area have all been degraded for farming activities. Farmers operating on the vicinity have diverted the course of the Wiwi stream, which flows through the University.
The improper disposal of sawn dust and other pollutants by carpenters and other related woodworks at Anloga into the Sisai stream threaten its flow and life. Charcoal burning takes place extensively in this area thereby sending fumes of smoke and other pollutants into the air.
The extent of water pollution in the metropolis is worrying and the situation continues to exacerbate. This is as a result of the flouting of fundamental hygienic practices in the metropolis. Effluent is discharged into the Nsuben River from the Septage treatment plant at Kaase. At Anloga, toilets have been built on the Sisai stream. The extent of pollution suffered by the streams that traverse the metropolis is so devastating that they can only be used as sewer lines.
The major forms of disaster in the Metropolis include; flooding, rainstorms, fire and epidemics.
The areas prone to flooding are Oforikrom, Atonsu, Aboabo, Anloga, Asafo, Asokwa and Breman. This is caused by the construction of buildings in waterways, dumping of refuse in gutters and drains and the inability of existing culverts to receive large volumes of water whenever there is a heavy downpour. The effect is the loss of valuable property of residents in the affected communities.
Most of the affected areas are Atonsu, Daban and Ahinsan Estates. These areas suffer as a result of the substandard construction materials used, poor roofing and the absence of trees to serve as windbreaks.
Fire outbreaks in the metropolis are principally domestic, marketplaces and workshop in nature. The causes include; weak and naked wiring in old houses, un-switched off gadgets whilst out of home and overloaded metres. For instance, in the Kumasi Central Market, the contiguity and clustered nature of market stores and the use of common metres is a hazard in the event of an outbreak.
To compound this problem, most of the water hydrants are not accessible, as they have been covered by wares of traders. The pavements that create access to the market have been taken over by temporary structures and hawkers. Another source of fire outbreak is the case of open flames resulting from uncontrolled use of candles, lanterns and coal pots.
The most affected areas are Asokwa and some parts of the Manhyia Sub Metropolitan District Councils. The outbreaks of epidemics example cholera are caused by insanitary conditions.
For the reduction of the above-mentioned hazards, National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) in collaboration with the Metro Health Directorate and the Environmental Health and Management Departments organized educational programmes in schools, markets places, fitting shops and churches and through the media (FM Stations, Television Stations and the Dailies). Though the incidence of disaster has not been erased completely, it has been reduced drastically.
Aesthetic Features and Land Management
The Kumasi Metropolis is limited in the area of urban beautification and landscaping. There are plans to beautify and landscape tourist sites and the city centre generally to enable her regain the accolade of a Garden City. It is envisaged that Planners and Highway Engineers will articulate this in any structure planning design.
Ownership of land can be categorized into three. These three categories are dubbed as Part I, Part II and Part III.
The Part I lands are stool lands and have been vested in the President of the Republic of Ghana in trust for the Golden Stool. These lands are public and its status is attributable to various laws culminating in the promulgation of the Administration of Lands Act, Act 123, 1962. The entire CBD falls under this category, as well as portions of Amakom, Asokwa, Asafo, Bantama, Manhyia and Dichemso.
Part II Lands are pure stool lands held in trust by caretaker chiefs for the Golden Stool. These lands constitute about 60% of the entire landmass of the Kumasi Planning area.
A third category is those acquired in the public interest for various uses by law. Prominent government lands include 300 feet both directions from the centerline of Kumasi – Offinso, Kumasi – Mampong and Kumasi – Sunyani trunk roads. The Road Appropriation Ordinance of 1902 vests these lands in the Government. The vast area in the Ridge Residential area is state land. Another category of lands under public ownership includes right of ways, sanitary sites, railway reservations, open spaces and public school lands.
The Land Market
There are no freehold grants of land in Kumasi. Customarily therefore, stool lands are not to be sold. The sale of stool or Government lands is statutorily barred. Leasehold rights are however acquired for the various categories of users: residential – 99 years, commercial/industrial/Civic – cultural – 50 years, petrol stations – 21 years.
The stock of state lands has been exhausted. Private land acquisition is through negotiation with caretaker chiefs. As a result of the surge in urban population, the demand for land for housing and other uses has soured up due to speculation. Prices of plots along the major roads are relatively high. This is because the servicing of lands does not precede development so people prefer those lands that are easily accessible thereby forcing up prices. The prices of land therefore tend to reduce as you move away from the roads. Incidentally, lands along the radial routes of Kumasi – Mampong, Kumasi – Ejisu, Kumasi – Offinso and Kumasi – Kuntanase have been developed almost to the statutory boundaries of the city.
The increase in economic activity has led to an increase in the demand for all categories of land use ie residential, commercial, industrial, civic and culture.
Residential plot of 100 x 100 feet is sold for between ¢70 – ¢100 million at Abrepo, Oduom, Ahwiaa and other areas of similar class. Undeveloped residential plots at Atasomanso with average size of 0.3 and 0.4 of an acre is sold between ¢300 - ¢400 million per plot.
Residential plots in the first class residential areas such as Nhyiaeso, Danyame, Ahodwo and Asokwa where infrastructural facilities in terms of motorable roads, telephone, electricity, water are well developed and laid attract values of about $150,000 - $200,000. Less developed areas such as Atonsu, Buokrom etc command lower values. In view of the structure of the metropolitan economy as being distributive (wholesaling and retailing), residential accommodation along the roads and streets are being converted into commercial uses (shops). This is so because the latter engenders higher returns. Shops in the Central Business District of Adum and those at Roman Hill attract goodwill close to ¢400 million and ¢300 million respectively. (Source: Regional Lands Commission).
There is a great demand for industrial and commercial warehousing facilities. Those that are in existence are on owner occupied basis. Prominent land delivery agencies in the metropolis include the State Housing Company, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Parakuo Estates and a host of others. The Kwadaso, Patase, Pankrono, Buokrom Estates were developed by the State Housing Company.
Land Management in the Metropolis
The Statutory Land Management agencies are the Lands Commission Secretariat, Town and Country Planning Department, Survey Department, Land Title Registry, Land Valuation Board, City Engineers Department and the Asantehene Lands Secretariat of the Kumasi Traditional Council. The Lands Commission Secretariat is the repository of records on stool and Government Land transactions. Representatives of the above mentioned agencies serve on the Kumasi Planning Committee. The procurement of land in the public interest and for public purposes as administered by the Land Commission is a centralized process. There is a Permanent Site Committee, which has the Regional Lands Officer as Secretary. The Regional Minister has to endorse the recommendations of the committee before they are submitted to the Minister of Lands and Forestry for publication and execution of instruments.
There is a complex procedure involved in the acquisition and leasing of stool lands. The prospective allotee has to first meet the caretaker chief for negotiation and this involves the payment of what is termed “drink money” to the latter by the former. A note of allocation containing the agreement required that annual rents are paid and a clause therein enjoins the allotee to develop the site within a specified timeframe. It behoves on the allottee to deposit the allocation note with the Lands Secretariat of the Kumasi Traditional Council.
Thereafter, Laison Officer writes to the Lands Commission Secretariat for confirmation before endorsement by the Asantehene and this is subject to the payment of one-third of the “drink money”. The Lands Commission Secretariat upon submission to it by the Liaison officer prepares a substantive lease with appropriate covenants. The caretaker chief and the Asantehene as the confirming party send the completed lease back to the Liaison Officer for execution. The executed lease is then sent to the Lands Commission for concurrence and registration. No alienation of stool or government land may be subjected to concurrence or grant of lease until it is satisfied that it is in harmony with the development drawn up for the area.
Problems associated with the Land Market
Land acquisition procedures in the metropolis are associated with problems in relation to irregularities in the land market, unclear land boundaries and the absence of well-institutionalized estate agencies. This makes it difficult for a prospective grantee to know where to start from and who to deal with in respect to the grant of stool lands. It is further saddled with bureaucracy and thereby making the acquisition procedure slow and irksome. It is more pronounced with the grant of state lands.
Another deliberating factor is the issue of litigation, which slows down the process for the granting of stool land. This usually results from indeterminate land boundaries between stools.
Implications of physical characteristics for Development
It has been estimated that the metropolis has about 12,000ha of irrigable land (swampy, marshy lands). The introduction of simple irrigation systems would help promote all year round vegetable production.
The development of a simple irrigation system would create more employment for people in urban agriculture to stem the tide of the youth who commute daily from the peri-urban and rural areas to the inner-city in search of jobs.
Open spaces and other community rights of space eg. school lands, civic and cultural sites are subjected to encroachments thereby reducing site provisions for the affected activities.
The exhaustion of site provided for civic and cultural activities in the city has resulted in some of the activities developing in unauthorised locations.
Lack of up-to-date survey data and maps, modern plan drafting and storage facilities and inadequate logistical support hamper the proper functioning of responsible agencies achieving an effective management of development in the city.
Traffic problems arising from congestion, inadequate parking facilities and concentration of transportation terminals in the central area of the city.
Over dependence on the commercial centre for all trading and shopping needs and underutilization of existing suburban centers has given rise to congestion of commercial activities in the central areas.
The under-utilized suburban commercial centres can be revitalised to provide facilities for alternative shopping areas and transportation terminals in a bid to decongest the central area of the city.
Large-scale nature reserves in the city could be developed into ornamental parks, economic horticulture and recreational resorts.
The disused racecourse and what was formerly known as the military barracks area offer readily available land for central area expansion.
It has been observed that the continuous indiscriminate use of pesticides/insecticides and contaminated water on vegetables is a threat to human health.
Inadequate source of water hinders the production of vegetables throughout the year especially the recommended export oriented varieties. Vegetable growers depend mainly on rainfall, rivers and streams.
There are plans underway to redevelop the eighteen (18) satellite markets in the city to decongest the central area. Preparatory work on three (3) of these suburban markets has started. These are the Suame, New Tafo and Atonsu – Agogo satellite markets.
In addition to the above, highway and bulk breaking markets are to be developed to augment the stock of market infrastructure in the Metropolis.
Date Created : 11/28/2017 3:18:22 AM