The Chief of Kwahu-Nkwatia in the Kwahu East District of the Eastern Region, Nana Boamah Ayiripe III, has called on all settlers on Kwahu-Nkwatia lands to support the development of the area.
The Chief made the call when he toured 135 communities, which are in both Kwahu Afram Plains South and North, but fall within the traditional jurisdiction of the Kwahu-Nkwatia Stool.
The one week tour was firstly to introduce himself to all the settlers as the legitimate Chief of the area, as well as the traditional jurisdiction and lands.
The reception accorded the Chief and his entourage throughout the over 135 farming communities was highly impressive amidst various dance performances, depending on the ethnicity of the people.
Apart from a Grand Durbar held at Ekye Amanfrom in the Kwahu South District, there were mini durbars organised for the Chief and his entourage, where various issues of national and traditional development were raised.
The Chief of Ekye Amanfrom, Nana Osei Yaw, appealed to the Member of Parliament (MP) for Abetifi Constituency, Bryan Acheampong, and the Nkwatiahene, Nana Boamah Ayiripe III, to help build a Senior High School (SHS) in the area.
According to him, Ekye Amanfrom was surrounded by a lot of Junior High Schools (JHS), but could not boast of an SHS, a situation that had negatively impacted on the education of the children after JHS.
He said most parents were not able to send their wards to SHS outside the area, because they were peasant farmers, hence, “It will be very easy if we have [an] SHS, which would be very easy to have our young children attain further education,” he added.
John Lartey, Assembly Member for Odumase electoral area, lamented over the absence of a functioning telecommunication network, making it difficult to make calls.
He, therefore, made a passionate appeal to the government and telecommunication companies to, as a matter of urgency, extend their services to the area to pave way for development and improve upon the social and economic well-being of the people.
The Assembly Member disclosed that residents in the area had to climb trees and hills before getting access to the networks to be able to make calls and access information on the internet.
To this end, he appealed to the government to construct their roads, which were in deplorable states and impacting negatively on the local economy, as farmers and traders were stranded, and food crops left to rot on the farms.
Agriculture stands to be the mainstay of the Kwahu Afram Plains South District economy by virtue of its level of employment, which is 77.4% of the total labour force.
Agriculture is, however, divided into two major types- crop farming and animal husbandry. The combination of these two activities gives rise to the third option – mixed farming.
According to a government survey, crop farming is the dominant agricultural activity in the District. About 90.1% of the farmers are into crop production. The favourable climatic conditions and the geo-physical characteristics of the area support intensive crop farming.
These and other factors, such as the availability of arable land, account for the high crop production. Most of the food crops are grown mainly to be sold for income, and the rest to be consumed by the families. There is high potential for tree crops such as cashew and oil palm, but such crops are not being cultivated in the district.
There is also evidence of mixed farming, since most of the farmers growing food crops also rear livestock and poultry, either for domestic consumption or income.
Considering the farming systems, bush fallowing, which is a system whereby land is left for a period of time to regain its fertility, is being practiced by 48.5% of the farmers.
The length of the fallow period has been drastically reduced due to the growing population and the increasing demand for land for other uses. Continuous cropping is practiced by about 45.5% of the farmers.
This can result in the loss of soil fertility and adversely affect output levels if measures are not put in place to retain the soil fertility in the course of continuous cropping. The other 6% of the farmers practice crop rotation.
Addressing the issues raised, Nana Boamah Ayiripe III urged commuters to be united and follow the customs and traditions of the land in order to achieve their set targets.
He urged herdsmen to respect the rules and regulations in order to help farmers in the area as they rear their cattle, which helps them live harmoniously with commuters in the area.
“Farming is very difficult, hence, herdsmen should try to prevent their cattle from destroying other farmers produce,” he advised them.
He assured the settlers of his readiness and commitment to bring accelerated socio-economic development to every corner of all communities, as long as he remains Kwahu Nkwatiahene.
“I’m Kwahu Nkwatiahene currently; I do everything at [the] Nkwatia Palace; I do perform Akwasidae at the Palace as well,” he said.
He promised to collaborate with the leadership of the two districts and government to ensure that basic social amenities were provided to improve the lives of the people.