The economic base of the district is agriculture and other agricultural related activities. Agriculture employs about 55% of the total labour force. In the rural set up, agriculture employs about 71.8% of the labour force. The non-basic activities include commerce, service and industry.

The Kwahus are noted for high skills in trading however trading activities in the district are not well co-ordinated as there is no permanent market infrastructure. There are smaller market centres but with poor infrastructure. They lack lockable stores, open sheds and security. Sanitation at these markets is very poor due to lack of toilet and urinal facilities.

Trading is mainly concentrated in food stuffs, fish, general goods, provisions and textiles. The district cannot boast of a major commercial center however, brisk trading activities take place at a number of market centers such as Kotoso, Miaso, Sempoa and Hweehwee where trading take place during market days. The influence of the major markets transcends the District and region as far as to Accra but have very poor infrastructure.

By virtue of the presence of numerous educational institutions with its attendant increase in population, Abetifi has a major potential of becoming a major commercial center with the right investments necessary to serve the ever increasing students population which ranges from Basic to Tertiary levels of education.

However, the development of unauthorised temporal structures such as kiosks and containers that have started springing up must be controlled before it gets out of hand in order not to mar the beauty of the city.

Another significant economic potential for the local economy is the informal sector operations where pottery and other clay work are done. There are other activities like blacksmithing and metal fabrications, auto mechanics, soap making, palm kennel and palm oil extraction. Gari processing is another important activity which mostly takes place at Hweehwee, Tafo, Kotoso, Asikam and other rural areas.

Financial Sector

The financial sector is operated by three main rural banks namely Odwenenoma, Dumpong and Kwahu Rural Banks. The Kwahu Rural Bank dominates with its headquarters at Pepease and branches at Nkwatia, Tafo, Kotoso and Hweehwee followed by Dumpong and Odweneanoma in that order. There are no commercial banks and insurance services in the district. Table 1.19 shows the banks and their locations in the district while Fig. 1.12.

Table 1.19 Rural Banks in the District

No Name of bank Location
1 Kwahu Rural Bank Pepease
2 Odweneanoma Rural Bank Abetifi
3 Kwahu Rural Bank (agency) Nkwatia
4 Dumpong Rural Bank Tafo
5 Kwahu Rural Bank (agency) Tafo
6 Kwahu Rural Bank (agency) Kotoso
7 Dumpong Rural Bank Oframase
8 Kwahu Rural Bank (agency) Hweehwee
9 Praso Rural Bank Tafo
Geology and Minerals

The major rock types in the district are the Birrimian and Voltain formations.  The major underlying rock is the Birrimian formation which is economically the most important geological formation in Ghana, since it contains most of the valuable mineral exported from the country for foreign exchange such as gold, bauxite, diamonds etc. Gold is believed to be in the district but currently remains unexploited. Other mineral deposits in the district include Granite stone, clay and sand which are also found in large quantities in areas like Dwerebease, Obayan, Pepease, Abetifi, Asikam, Suminakese, Abene, Ankoma and Kwahu Tafo. The granite rocks can support the quarry industry while the clay deposit is a potential for the pottery and ceramics industry if well harnessed.  Table 1.6 provides the location of these mineral resources.

Table 1.12. Mineral Resources in Kwahu East

Type of Mineral Location
Gold Hweehwee, Aduhima, Asikam, Mota
Bauxite Akwasiho
Granite Stone Bukuruwa, Dwerebease, Oboyan, Abene, Pepease, Hweehwee, Sempoa and Abeifi
Clay Aduhima, Asikam, Osuworo

Source: Ghana Geological Survey


About 80% of communities in the district enjoy telecommunication services even though in varied quality in reception depending on where one is located from the telecommunication mast. Telecommunication services are provided by all the major networks in the country, namely, MTN, Vodafone, Tigo, Airtel and Glo.

Commodity Flow

Kwahu East District engages in the exchange of goods and services within and outside the district. Here, consideration is made to merchandised trade (trade in visible goods). The types of goods that flow within and outside the district are classified in agricultural and industrial goods. Kotoso, Miaso, Hweehwee, Sempoa, Onyemso and Suminakese are the major market centres in the district which serve as a commercial hub in the area and thus attract a large quantity of goods. Table 1.20 shows the outward and inward commodity flow and economic linkages with other MMDAs.


Table 1.20 Major Trade Partners of Kwahu East

Major Trade partners Types of commodities traded
Inflows Outflows
Kwahu South Tubers, vegetables, eggs, plantains, snails, legumes, cereals, fruits, pottery Fish, yam, charcoal, firewood
Kwahu West Clothes& footwear, cooking utensils, processed food, cosmetics, jewellery, others, eggs Fish, tubers, vegetables, plantain, snails, legumes, charcoal, firewood, yam, cocoyam
Accra Clothes& footwear, cooking utensils, processed food, cosmetics, jewellery Fish, tubers, vegetables, plantain, snails, legumes, charcoal, firewood, yam, cocoyam
Kumasi Clothes& footwear, cooking utensils,processed food, cosmetics, jewellery Fish, tubers, vegetables, plantain, snails, legumes, charcoal, firewood, yam, cocoyam
Asante Akim North Tubers, vegetables, eggs, plantains, legumes, cereals, fruits, Fish, yam, charcoal
Fanteakwa Tubers, vegetables, eggs, plantains, snails, legumes, fruits, Fish, cereals, charcoal
Koforidua Clothes& footwear, cooking utensils, processed food, cosmetics, jewellery, eggs Fish, tubers, vegetables, plantain, snails, legumes, charcoal, yam, cocoyam

Source: DPCU – KEDA, 2014


The above scenario indicates that with Kotoso, Miaso, Sempoa and Hweehwee serving as periodic commercial hubs between the District and its immediate and distant neighbours, such as Mpraeso and Nkawkaw as well as in distant areas such Accra, Kumasi and Asante Akim North, there is ready market for commodities in the district. Thus it is imperative to develop the market infrastructure in these centres to take advantage of the vast business opportunities.


The major economic sectors and opportunities discussed in this chapter are the areas of agriculture which is the main stay of the District economy, manufacturing, quarrying and commerce. The informal small-scale businesses, marketing, finance and tourism were also discussed.


Agriculture is the major economic activity in terms of employment and rural income generation in the District.  Over 55 per cent of the working population is engaged in this sector which constitutes the main source of household income in the district. Ten households (68.9%) in the district are engaged in one agricultural activity or the other. In terms of locality, agricultural households account for a little over half (54.4%) of the total households in urban areas as against a higher percentage of 76.3% in the rural areas emphasizing the agrarian nature of the district economy.

Crop Farming

The major food Crops produced in the District are maize, cassava, plantain, yam and vegetables.  A large number of these farmers have smallholdings. Most of the farmers engaged in crop farming are also involved in livestock rearing. The main system of farming is bush fallowing and inter-cropping is the main method of farming. The main farming areas are the Ankoma-Oframase Area Council, Tafo-bokuruwa-Nteso Area Council and Abene Area Council. Others are Suminakese Area Council, Dwerebease-Onyemso Area Council and Abene Area Council. There are large tracks of land for commercial farming and Agric Business in these areas. Currently, no major investment has been made in this vast potential area even though a number of FBOs have been trained and supported by MiDA to expand their food crop farms.

 Farms in the District are, on the average, small in sizes and farm holdings are scattered.  The average farm size per farmer is about 1 hectare.  Agricultural production is near subsistence with very few of the farmers engaged in plantation farming.  Majority of the farmers are involved in crop farming and the main crops cultivated are starchy staples like cassava, cocoyam, maize, yam and plantain. Others that are cultivated in small scale are groundnut and other vegetables.

Tiger nuts (Atadwe) are grown in Aduamoa. The nut has a variety of uses such as alcoholic beverages, pasteries, medicinal and chewing raw. An unscientific but highly acclaimed notion is that the nut is a good source of natural aphrodisiac used to correct sexual malfunction in males in particular. This makes the nut highly sought after product which must be harnessed by the district. The district indeed has a great potential in this field with abundance of youth labour to be encouraged in the production/cultivation of these as a means of income and livelihood.  The District, under the Youth Employment and Block Farm Scheme, can mobilizes the youth with mechanized farming to go into these ventures to produce the nuts on large scale for the brewery market and for export to reduce poverty and the unemployment rate.


Table 1.21 Main Crops Cultivated in the District



Maize 2.5 District wide
Yam 13.65 Miaso, Hweehwee, Pepease, Abetifi, Sempoa, Twewaa, Oframase, Onyemso
Plantain 7.43 Miaso, Aduhima, Pepease, Suminakese, Dwerebease
Cassava 11.95 District Wide
Groundnut 1.98 Abene, Sadan, Nkwantanang, Ohemaa etc
Cocoyam 6.73 Akwasiho, Asikam, Oframase, Tafo, Dwerebease
Cocoa 1.9 Oframase, Twewaa, Onyemso, Aduhima, Mota


Table 1.22: Crop Performance

Commodities Cultivated area (ha) Production (mt) Yield (mt/ha)
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Target 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Target 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Target
Maize 19424 13434 13436 14108 14813 34965 21498 21498 22573 23701 1.8 1.6 1.6 5.0 5.0
Cassava 17405 12625 12625 13256 13919 212341 193163 193163 202821 212962 12.2 15.3 15.3 5.0 5.0
Yam 980 1454 1454 1527 1603 12544 26754 26754 28091 29496 12.8 18.4 18.4 5.0 5.0
Plantain 20482 11948 11948 12545 13173 180242 107532 107532 112909 118554 6.7 9.0 9.0 5.0 5.0
Cocoyam 4370 894 894 939 986 29279 6794 6794 7134 7491 6.7 7.6 7.6 5.0 5.0
Cocoa 7600 10300 10950 11500 7650 10450 11050 11500 7600 1.9 1.9 1.8 1.9 1.9
G-Nut 3908 4855 4855 5098 5353 3322 4855 4855 5098 5353 0.9 1.0 1.0 5.0 5.0

Source: KEDA-MOFA, 2014

Land Tenure System

Land is a very critical ingredient in production and its ownership and use have a significant effect on District economy.  The modes of land acquisition in the district take several forms similar to those existing in many parts in Ghana.  These include:

  • Individual ownership or inheritance from family;
  • Rent or hiring from landowners;
  • Mortgage

The land tenure arrangements include:

  1. Owner occupancy, where the farmer is the owner of the land on which he/she works and provides all the necessary inputs for production.
  2. Share tenancy – This is the “abunu” or the “abusa” share cropping system, where the owners lease the land to the farmer, and the farm produce shared equally (abunu) or a third goes to the landlord, while two-thirds goes to the tenant (abusa).

There is no doubt that these systems have several inherent problems such as social injustice where feudalism perpetuates. There is normally some degree of uncertainty of duration on land which does not serve as incentive to adopt improved farming practices like the use of fertilizers, improve seeds and pest controls as well as mechanisation. Because of this uncertainty in duration of tenancy, farmers prefer investing in assets that are easily marketable and in produce which have relatively shorter gestation periods. The tenant farmer is, therefore, an inferior production function.  Share-cropping tenants use fewer of the variable inputs as labour and capital than the landowners.  Thus, given a land size, a tenant farmer has a lower labour-land ratio than an owner farmer.

The land tenure system therefore has to be reviewed to attract investors to acquire large tracts of land for agric commercialisation. To this end, the District Assembly should thus make it a policy to acquire vested lands to create land banks in areas where economic ventures such as agriculture and industry can thrive so as to lease them out to prospective investors at a minimal fee. Apart from serving as incentive to investors, the policy will to a large extend contribute to job creation and poverty reduction in the district.

Plots and Farm Sizes

A feature identified in the District during the baseline survey was the multiplicity of plots of land per farmer.  These plots of land, all small in size, were scattered over the area, often at considerable distance from one another.  A greater percentage of the farmers have 2 or more farm plots with farm sizes ranging between 1 – 5 hectares.

Such distribution of farm holdings in different places means farmers do not practice block farming. The small farm size constitutes a remarkable barrier to agriculture and makes efficient production difficult, as it does not encourage the establishment and maintenance of economic layout.  Variation in the size of farms occupied by individual families at different stages in their life is also not provided for.  It is, therefore, uneconomical to introduce the processes of agricultural innovations like mechanization, irrigation, etc on farms, which are small in size.

Farm Tools

The farm implements used are cutlasses, hoes, axes/mattocks, and equipment like spraying machines and prunes.  Based on the survey, almost all the farmers use both cutlasses and hoes.

The use of modern agricultural technologies is very limited.  Traditional practices such as bush fallowing, slash and burn etc. Are still widespread?  This and many others have limited the farmer’s ability to increase the size of their operations and discourage them from adopting new and modern agricultural technology.

Farm Labour

Another crucial farming input is labour.  Considering the simple farm tools in use, there is the need for a high degree of manpower. A factor in labour is the age of the farmer.  The average (modal) age of the farmers is 50 years.

Farming in the area is, therefore, undertaken by the old people who do not have the necessary energy to work and manage the farms.  They depend heavily on household and hired labour.  Hired labour is, however, scarce and expensive.  Farmers use a combination of household, hired and co-operative labour.  The use of hired labour is evident during the peak labour period, especially during land clearing and weeding.

Labour cost is high for most farmers above their limited resources averaging GH¢15.00 – 20.00 per day.  As a result of limited financial resources, the farms are not properly maintained and these, in the long run, affect productivity.

Application of Seeds and Agro-Chemicals

The farmers use two types of seeds.  These are local seeds and improved seeds.  These seeds are acquired from three main sources, namely, form previous crop harvest, private traders and the District Agric Development Unit (DADU).

The use of organic manure, chemical fertilizers and other agro-chemicals is on a limited scale though increasing steadily.  In the use of fertilizers, for example, over 50% of the farmers do not apply any kind of fertilizers.  The types of fertilizers, applied are compound fertilizers (15:15:15) and Sulphate of Ammonia.  The current price of fertilizer as given by the farmers for 15:15:15 is between GH¢85.00 and GH¢110.00 per mini bag, while Sulphate of Ammonia sells between GH¢50.00 and GH¢65.00 per mini bag.

The prices of fertilizers purchased from private traders are extremely high.  This deters farmers from the application of fertilizers, and since the soil is cultivated continuously, the fertility of the soil is low, leading to low production. The Assembly in collaboration with the DADU should therefore take steps to establish depot for fertilizers and vigorously pursue the use of coupons to ensure that subsidies are enjoyed by farmers.

The use of agro-chemical, particularly, herbicides (weed killers) are steadily gaining prominence among several farmers in the district. Even though, the long term effect of these herbicides on the fertility of the soil is yet to be determined scientifically, there is ample evidence to conclude that continuous use of herbicides of all kinds might pose serious danger to sustainable agriculture. Farmers must therefore be educated on the need to adopt green manuring as the best alternative to slash and burn or use of herbicides to control weeds.

Farm Finance

Capital is an important input for investing in crop farming, as without it little can be done.  The principal source of funding to farming activities is from the farmers’ own savings.  Other sources are private money lenders, relatives and a limited percentage from the banks.

The role of existing financial institutions and other sources of acquiring credit are minimal or non-existent.  The limited number of credit facilities is due to the cumbersome procedures and the lack of collateral demanded by the banks and the mistrust generated by the failure of some farmers to pay back loans earlier taken.  Few farmers in the district, therefore, benefit from credit facilities as most of the farmers cannot meet the requirements for obtaining loans.  There is a strong desire among farmers to have access to credit facilities from sources other than money lenders as the interest rate charged by money lenders are extraordinary high.  Indeed the minimal use of farmers associations in the district makes it difficult for farmers to mobilize credit.

The implementation of the Millennium Challenge Account Project has however helped to ease the burden for credit on some farmers who have been trained and supported with starter packs consisting of basic farm implements, viable seeds and some amount of money. This has contributed in no small way in promoting high level of agric productivity in the district. It is hoped that a lot more Farmer Based Organisations will be roped in under the project for a wider impact.

Storage Facilities

Modern storage facilities such as silos, warehousing with dry facilities, etc, are not in existence in the district.  The main types of storage facilities in use are the traditional barn, a few improved cribs and roof storage.

Maize is the only grain with an elaborate storage system.  Facilities for the storage of other farm products are not available resulting in high post harvest losses.  Processing as a means of conserving output is at a very low level and the traditional methods used are not efficient.  These compel the farmers to sell their farm produce at low prices during the harvest.

Marketing System

Urban-based middlemen within and outside the district undertake marketing of farm produce.  Most of the farmers sell their produce at the nearest local market to these middlemen who in turn send them to other marketing centres especially Accra market for sale.  The pricing of agricultural produce, which is determined by supply and demand but negotiated by the middlemen, is unfavourable to the farmers.  Prices of farm produce are therefore, very low especially when there is a glut and serve as disincentive to the farmers.  The poor roads to farming areas have also created for the farmers’ limited access to the bigger markets, which can offer better price for their crops.

Livestock Farming

Most of the farmers engaged in crop farming also keep livestock.  The types of animals reared are sheep, goats, pigs cattle and poultry.  These are reared as supplementary activities to meet part of the protein requirements and to earn additional income.  The largest animal production activity is poultry.  The animals reared are kept in styles pens and hen coops.  The goats, sheep and pigs are fed through the free grazing method that is grazing on the open vegetation, while the others especially poultry are fed in enclosed areas.  Animal disease is an area of great concern.  These include endoparasites, estoparasites, PPR, Gumboro Newcastle and coccidiossis.  Veterinary Services is offered by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the District.  Other constraints are poor breeding stock, inadequate use of extension services on animal production and the increasingly high costs of animal feed and drugs.

However, cattle rearing is more of a nuisance than an economic venture in the district. This is because the herds are not confined in kraals but kept on nomadic basis by Fulani Herdsmen. The herds therefore roam about for food and in the process destroy farm crops and farm lands of indigenous farmers. The practice has contributed in no small way in discouraging farming activities in the district and thereby negatively affecting food security. Areas worst affected are the Abene, Dwerebease, Oframase-Ankoma, Tafo and Pease Area Councils.

All efforts by the district to control the nefarious activities of the Fulani herdsmen and their cattle have proved futile. It is however hoped that a lasting solution would be found to it sooner before all the farm lands become infertile due to excessive acidic content of the soil resulting from the urine of the cattle.

Agric Mechanization

Agriculture mechanization is very low in the District. Farming is generally done on subsistence level as majority of the farmers do not have access to machinery for farming. Available mechanization equipments are few water pumps which are used to irrigate vegetable farms at Abetifi and Pepease while Water Melon farmers at Kotoso also use irrigation pumps extensively.

It is a well known fact that Kotoso, Hyewohoden and Sempoa have great potential for extensive irrigation farming. However, there has not been any investment in that sector. It is to this end that the Assembly regrets the inability for MiDA to construct the Kotoso irrigation project as planned under the Compact I. It is hoped that it would be considered under the Compact II.

Cutlasses, hoes, axes/mattock, spray machines and irrigation pumps are farm implements mostly used in the District. Traditional practices such as bush fallowing, slash and burn etc are still widespread. These have limited the farmer’s ability to increase their farm size and for that matter adopt new modern agriculture technologies.

The use of improved seedlings/hybrids with respect to maize, cocoa, oil palm, citrus is widespread in the District. However, due to issues relating to cost and availability of improved materials, some farmers are forced to use uncertified seed and sometimes local varieties of crops for planting. Agrochemical dealers provide sources for the purchase of seeds. The limited use of agro-chemical and improved seeds is therefore one of the major causes of low agricultural output in the district.

The use of Tractors for land preparation is virtually absent in the district even though there are vast low-lying grasslands that can be used for agric mechanisation. Investors are therefore needed to create a pool of farm implements for hiring as patronage is expected to be high.


There is no major irrigation facility in the District at the moment. However efforts were being made by MOFA to promote the system in the District through the MCA projects even though those efforts are yet to yield results.

Small scale farmers on their own ways have been resorting to the use of pumping machines for irrigating their farms especially for dry season farming.

Value Added Activities or Potentials

Value addition is not being pursued due to lack of agro-processing industries in the District. However the processing of oil palm and kernel oil is being done on small scale largely for consumption. Cassava is also being processed into gari in some communities. A recent and perhaps the most viable addition to the above is the Almond seed. The seed has been noted to posses variety of economic potential as it can be processed into various froms including oil, pomade, medicine, animal feed and manure. The District Assembly intends to collaborate with the private sector under its District Econmic Development policy to promote the full potential of the plant. 1.6.16 Aquaculture

There are no known viable fish ponds in the District. The main difficulty lies with the cost of construction of ponds. Fishing is however done extensively in the Afram River at Kotoso, Tokrom, Asempaneye, Hyewohoden and Sempoa.

Fishing is mainly carried out in small wooden- planked canoes which measure about 6m in length. They are mostly operated manually. Fishermen use an assortment of fishing gears including gill net, traps, cast nets, spears and hooks.

The use of the fishing gears depend on the target fish, which in turn may depend on locality and time. Besides the use of the approved fishing gears and methods, some fishermen use other fishing gears and method considered illegal and destructive. These are:

  • Gill nets made from meshes smaller than the approved 2inches and 3 inches for multi and mono-filament nets, respectively.
  • Poisons (Agrochemical, and explosive (Dynamite)
  • Poisoned weeds
  • Confinement

The illegal and destructive fishing methods continually impose great toll on the potentially productive fisheries subsector of the district.

Fish Catch
Fish Catch

The following fish types are very important in the fishery due to their occurrence in large commercial quantity in the River Afram system in the district. They are also highly preferred.

  • Tilapia (Apataa)
  • Mudfish
  • Synodontis (Gear Box )
  • Bagrus (Yarefo)

About 800 tonnes of fish are produced in the District annually.  However, the rampant use of illegal fishing method which selectively exploit juvenile and small fish, or pollute the environment, created the situation whereby an increasingly large proportion of fish catches comprise small sized fish. Ironically, such small sized fish are of less value and yield little income to both the fishermen and the fish dealers.

Fish Processing and Marketing

Fish obtained from the lake is sold, either fresh or processed. The marketing of fish in its various forms, fresh smoked, fried and dried is undertaken by over 300 women in the district especially at Kotoso, Tafo and Sempoa.

Fish smoking is carried out in both fishing and non-fishing communities using small traditional ovens, whose capacity are just adequate for the average daily canoe catches of between 10 and 15kg. Large sized Tulip, chrysichtthys, Synodontis and a few others are usually smoked. The smoke fish are transported to nearby markets at Mpraeso, Nkawkaw while others are sent in large quanties to Accra by middlemen.

Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Project

The Kwahu East District was one of the beneficiaries of Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) programmes. Under the compact, the district benefited from a number of interventions geared towards promoting agricultural productivity. These include formation and training of FBOs and Agric Officers, provision of starter packs to trained FBOs and construction of six and rehabilitation of three classroom blocks. The Project could however not achieve the aim of constructing irrigation facilities at Kotoso and it is expected that it shall be given priority under the Compact II.

Effect of human activity on farm-lands and production

The activities of Fulani Herdsmen over the years have wrecked considerable havoc on farm lands in major parts of the District particularly, the Dwerebease, Abene, Tafo, Ankoma/Oframase and Pepease Area/Town Councils. The Herdsmen deliberately set fire into the dry bushes during the dry season to regenerate fresh fodder for their cattle. Their activity not only destroys farmlands but also expose the top soil to run off and erosion during the raining season. This has also left most parts of the district not suitable for crop cultivation due to loss of soil fertility.

Agric production by itself has also rendered some cultivated areas grassland instead of the usual forest cover. Practices such as inappropriate land preparation and irregular use of fertilizers to sustain growth of cultivated crops as well the increasing use of weedicides and herbicides have lead to a reduction of soil fertility.

Government’s Interventions in Agric

A number of interventions were implemented by the District Agric Unit in line with Government’s interventions aimed at promoting employment and food security. Table 1.23 gives details of the interventions.