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By Stephen Banguu Kobom-Nandom.

A 61-year old middle school leaver and a mother of five from Bekyerdergangn, a farming community near Kokoligu in the Nandom District has been adjudged the best District Farmer in Nandom District for 2018.

Mrs. Juliana Bele-ire, who has been farming on her own in the past 38 years, was presented with a tricycle, knapsack sprayer, cutlasses and other farming implements. She emerged 4th at the District Farmers in 2017 but was determined to get to the ultimate this year. The 2018 District Best Farmer for Nandom has 14 acres of Maize, 16 acres of Sorghum, 10 acres of Groundnuts, 8 acres of Cowpea, 2 acres of Soya beans, 1 acre of rice, 2 acres of Bambara beans and 2 acres of Millet.

In addition to crop production, the 2018 Nandom District Best Farmer also rears Sheep, Goats, Pigs, Fowls and Donkeys. Mrs Bele-ire employs nine people on her farms in addition to the support she gets from her husband and children. She has been described by extension officers as a dedicated, hardworking and enterprising woman.

Mr. Cornelius Vuol from Tokuu also in the Nandom District was the First Runner-up. He received a Motorbike and other farming equipment.

In an address, The District Chief Executive for Nandom Mr. Thaddeus Arkum Aasoglenang said the theme for this year’s celebration “AGRICULTURE: MOVING GHANA BEYOND AID” is not only appropriate, but timely.

He said Governments Flagship Agriculture Programme dubbed PLANTING FOR FOOD AND JOBS, which was launched in April last year, was targeted at tackling a twin nagging problem of migration of youth to city centres in search of non-existing jobs, and secondly, reducing the importation of Food item from neighboring countries. Agriculture grew from 3.1% in 2016 to 8.4% in 2017. This was after a decade of erratic performance in the sector.

He said government will launch the livestock model of the Planting for Food and Jobs which will be called Rearing for Food and Jobs. Mr. Aasoglenang explained that these measures put in place by government will help create jobs and thereby reduce the importation of food items.

Agriculture EDUCATION

The district depicts a typical rural economy dominated by the agriculture sector with the commerce and industrial sectors least developed. Agriculture alone accounts for about 85% of the labour force while commerce/service and industry account for 14% and 1% respectively.

Understanding the characteristics of the district economy in terms of the advantages it offers for poverty reduction is critical for analysis. This section therefore examines the structure of the district’s economy in terms of its capacity for achieving accelerated growth for poverty reduction.


Agriculture is the mainstay of the people in the district employing about 85% of the population. Food crop production in this sector largely remains subsistence with low output levels. The main activities practiced include food and cash crop production as well as animal rearing.

The agriculture sector is also characterized by crop farming and livestock production. The sector is estimated to be growing at 2.1% per annum, which is below the national target of 6% per annum. Even though efforts have been made to boost the sector, production still remains at subsistence, as there are no large plantations holding in the district.

Crop Production

The major food crops grown in the district are millet, sorghum (guinea corn), maize, cowpea and yam. Cash crops cultivated include groundnuts, cotton, cowpea, soybeans, cassava, tiger nuts and pepper. The cultivation of cash crops has not received much attention as a result of market uncertainties. Economic trees like the shea, dawadawa, and baobab, which constitute a major source of income for women, are still wild and prone to destruction by annual bushfires.

Methods of Farming

About 75% of farmers rely on traditional methods of farming using simple tools such as cutlass and hoes and are highly dependent on rainfall for crop production. Only about 25% of the farmers rely on intermediate technology using tractor services, animal drawn implements and irrigation.

These methods of farming do not only lead to the depletion of the soils, but also, result in low yield which is responsible for the low income and hence low standard of living, as well as food insecurity in the district. Promoting the use of improved methods of farming and the adoption of improved crop varieties should not be over looked in any attempt to improving agricultural productivity the district.

Land Tenure

Land tenure has been identified as one of the major constraints to agricultural production in Ghana due to its implications a large scale large scale farming. The main methods of land acquisition identified in the district are freehold and lease hold. The proportion of farmers farming under this ownership system has been shown the Table.

The table reveals that majority of the farmers, 97% depend on family for land for agricultural purposes. This has led to the fragmentation of the land under cultivation, thus limiting large-scale agricultural activities. Average farm size is as low as 2-3 acres for farmer compared with the national average of 10-15 acres. The small farm sizes have negatively affected production, food security and consequently income that characterise the district’s economy.


The district lies in the guinea savanna zone and has one main rainy season for agricultural production thus from May to September. The rest of the year is dry and can only be used for dry season gardening. However the low development of the irrigable agriculture has limited productivity the dry seasons where farmers become dormant and have no major farming activities to undertake.


There are xx dams in the district but only two in Sankana and Goli have been developed for irrigation purposes. These two irrigation facilities are however grossly under utilized. The Daffiama Dam irrigation scheme is currently been considered for development. These water bodies if properly utilized will go a long way to improve the food security situation in the district particularly in the dry season when most farmers are idle.

Farming Systems

The main farming system in the district is mixed farming based on bush fallowing and compound farming. Majority of the farmers (97%), mainly subsistence farmers practiced mixed cropping, 25% practiced mono cropping and 30% plant with fertilizer and improved seeds. Bush fallowing is practiced on a large scale as a method of replenishing soil fertility.

With the increasing demand of land for farming, the large tract of land required for such a practice cannot be obtained in the foreseeable future. This implies that the need to promote agro-forestry, crop rotation, the use of manure and other appropriate systems of farming for quick replenishing of soil fertility is essential. The use of mucuna, green maturing and zero tillage could also be introduced to farmers to improve and sustain soil fertility.

Agricultural Service Institutions

Agricultural Service Units such as the Agriculture Extension Service and the Veterinary Services Units play a major role in improving agricultural production. To ensure their effective operation, the district has been delineated into 22 operational areas. Currently there are 13 extension officers in the district giving an extension officer /farmer ratio of 1:5000, which is high compared with the acceptable ratio of 1:400. This indicates that the district has a serious problem as far as the number of extension officers is concerned.

Thus, measures should be put in place to ensure that the current ratio is brought to an appreciable level. The problem is further aggravated by the inadequacy of logistics for the extension officers to perform efficiently. A survey of the Extension Service Unit reveals that, the unit faces a number of problems, which have inhibited its ability to reach farmers effectively.

There include

• Poor condition of roads leading to some farming communities.
• Inadequate means of transport
• Delays in the payment of staff allowance.
• Extensive coverage areas for field officers
• High extension officer farmer ratio
• Lack of motivation for field staff

Access to Farm Credit and Farm Inputs

Majority of the farmers do not have access to improved farm inputs. They depend heavily on traditional inputs like cutlass, hoes and others. Only 15% of the farmers have access to credit and improved inputs like fertilizers and tractor services. In view of this, farmers have been encouraged to formed groups some of whom are currently receiving assistance from the MOFA and other NGOs.

There is however the need to encourage the formation of more of such groups through which credit could be channeled for use by the farmers Access to extension services is also unsatisfactory with 10 extension officers taking care of the 22 operational areas covering the whole district. Farmer visits are irregular and for those who have access, the average number of visits is thrice a week.

Crop Yield

The major crops cultivated by farmers in the district include maize, millet, sorghum, yam groundnut and cowpea. There have been inconsistencies in trends of the agricultural production and output for the major crops in the district during the period. Generally, the cultivated land acreages as well as productivity levels have not seen significant improvement between 2002-2005. Table 9 below illustrates production trends and output levels during the period.

Between the periods 2002-2005, the acreage under cultivation for maize decreased by 0.5%. This lead to a more than proportionate decrease in output by 2.1%. Thus, while there is a marginal decrease in the cultivated land area output decreased more than proportionately. During the same period the acreage under production for groundnut shot up by 19% with a corresponding increase in production/output by 46.4%.

This not withstanding production between 2003-2004 fell by 0.5%. Millet and cowpea have relatively stable output levels and have not experienced any major difference in production during the period. A critical look at the output levels reveals that the district has a great potential in for groundnuts. There is therefore the need to take advantage and increase production for both domestic and external markets.

Storage Facilities

One major problem facing the farmers in the district is that of storage. Currently the post harvest losses of farm produce stand at 30%. For this reason, farmers are forced to dispose off all that they produce in return for low prices especially during periods of bumper harvest.

In the Nadowli District, some of the perishable crops grown are yam, cowpea and vegetables like tomato, okro and green leaves. These produce are sold immediately after harvest. Below is a table showing the main storage facilities used by farmers in the district in the district.

It could be observed from the table that the predominant method of storage is traditional with about 32% of farmers using the improved storage methods. Considerations should therefore be given to improved ways of storage and efficient marketing system to reduce crop spoilage/post harvest losses to achieve food security objective in the district.

Marketing of Produce

Marketing of farm produce is one of the major problems facing farmers in the district. Farmers in most rural areas are compelled to sell their produce at farm-gate prices because of the lack of access to market centers and /or inaccessible farm tracks. In the rainy season, villages like Kamahegu and Selee are completely cut off from any market incentive due to flooded roads. The construction and rehabilitation of feeder roads in the district should therefore be given a paramount concern in order to expose the farming communities to market incentives.

Livestock Production

The livestock sub sector which has been at subsistence level over the year plays an important in the provision of reliable sources of protein as well as income to both males and females in the district. The vast grazing lands in the district provide the potential for most households to engage in livestock production. The main animals that are reared by most households include cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry as indicated in the table 11 below.

The table reveals that sheep and goats are the most important ruminant owned by farmers in the district. Comparing outputs between 2002 and 2005 the production of sheep and cattle increased by 12 % and 18.5 % respectively. Production of goats and pigs also saw increases of 21.8 % and 41.4% respectively within the same period. Production of poultry increased over 500% during the same period under review.

This shows that the district has not been able to optimize its fullest potentials for livestock production though there exist great opportunities for increasing production. Nevertheless there is the need to mobilize and channel resources into ensuring that maximum use is made of such a potential.

Problems and Potentials of Livestock Production

The quality of animals (indigenous breeds) kept in the district in terms of size, weight and other physical features leaves much to be desired. This is due to problems such as inadequate improved breeds and improper animal husbandry practices. Most of the livestock farmers do not have access to Veterinary Service thereby increasing the incidence of diseases among farm animals. These problems not with standing, the district has a great potential in livestock production. These potentials include the availability of grazing land, dams, dugouts and by-products from the crop farming that can be used as feed for the farm animals.

General Problems of Agriculture

The foregoing analysis has revealed several problems militating against the agricultural sub-sector of the district’s economy. These include:

• Poor storage facilities;
• Erratic/unreliable rainfall;
• Inadequate credit facilities;
• Poor farming technology.
• Inadequate access to Extension Service;
• Inadequate irrigation facilities
• Infertile soils.
• Poor road network from producing areas to marketing centres.

In order to achieve sustained growth and poverty reduction in the district the above identified problems in the agric sub sector has to be given serious attention since it is the backbone of the of the district economy employing more than 80% of the population.