61 years of Independence - Brong Ahafo Region the bread basket
As Ghana celebrates its 61st independence anniversary today, the Brong Ahafo Region stands on the threshold of being divided into three administrative regions following two petitions submitted to the President by the Coalition of Bono East Chiefs and its counterparts in the Ahafo section of the region.
Should their petitions be granted and the subsequent referenda get the needed 50 per cent voter turnout and 80 per cent “Yes” votes, Ghana’s 62nd independence anniversary in 2019 will be observed with the present Brong Ahafo Region being three regions.
But before that happens or otherwise, this piece is intended to deal with the region as it is now and what it has been able to achieve since its creation.
Available information indicates that the Brong Ahafo Region was created on April 4, 1959 by the Brong Ahafo Region Act No. 18 of 1959.
Before its creation, the Brong Ahafo Bill was passed under a certificate of urgency by Parliament in March 1959. The act was enacted after receiving the Governor-General’s assent. Sunyani was made the capital of the new region.
The act defined the area of the Brong Ahafo Region to consist of the northern and western parts of the then Ashanti Region and included the Prang and Yeji areas, which before the enactment of the act formed part of the Northern Region.
The region has a land mass of 39,557 square kilometres covering 16.6 per cent of Ghana land area and, thus, making it the second largest region.
The Brong Ahafo Region shares boundaries with the Northern Region to the north, the Ashanti and Western regions to the south, the Volta Region to the east, the Eastern Region to the southeast and la Cote d’Ivoire to the west.
After going through a lot of divisions after its creation, the Brong Ahafo Region now has 27 administrative districts.
They are Sunyani Municipal, Sunyani West, Berekum Municipal, Berekum West, Dormaa Municipal, Dormaa East, Dormaa West, Jaman North, Jaman South, Techiman Municipal, Techiman North, Wenchi Municipal, Tain, Banda, Kintampo Municipal, Kintampo South, Atebubu-Amantin, Nkoranza Municipal, Nkoranza North, Pru, Sene, Tano North, Tano South, Asutifi North, Asutifi South, Asunafo North and Asunafo South.
Kintampo, one of the popular municipalities in the region, is well known as the central point of the land mass of Ghana.
The population of the region grew from 1,815,408 in 2000 to 2,310,983 in 2010.
Food and cash crop production
The region, which lies in the forest zone, has been touted as the bread basket of the country. It is a major cocoa and timber producer.
These major crops are mainly produced around Mim, Goaso and Acherensua, Sunyani, Nkrankwanta, Dormaa, Wamfie among other areas in the region.
The region is the leading producer of cashew which has been described as “the next cocoa of Ghana”.
It produces 55,000 metric tonnes out of the 70,000 metric tonnes of raw cashew nuts produced by the country annually.
It currently has 14 cashew-producing districts and five cashew-processing facilities which have the capacity to produce 30,570 metric tonnes of raw cashew nuts and create direct employment for 13,000 people.
“The potential still exists for expansion of production to 200,000 metric tonnes per annum to satisfy demand from ??prom?? processors and exporters. The region has good planting material and the capacity to meet demand for grafted seedlings at the Wenchi Agricultural Station and other private nurseries in the region,” the Regional Minister, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, stated at the launch of the 10-Year Cashew Development Plan by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in Wenchi on February 20, 2018.
Other cash crops grown in the forest area are coffee, rubber and tobacco. The main food crops are maize, cassava, plantain, yam, cocoyam, rice and tomatoes.
Yam and maize production are very high in the savannah zone, around Techiman, Kintampo, Nkoranza, Yeji, Prang and Kwame Danso.
The Brong Ahafo Region has rich and diverse cultural practices which can be traced to their ancestral roots and culture. Its unique tourist attraction sites attract many people from far and near to the region.
The predominant ethnic group in the region is Akan, which includes the Bonos and Ahafos. There are, however, several other ethnic groups that constitute the Brong Ahafo Region. These groups include: Mo or Dagba; Nafana; Guan; Kolongo; Mande; Nchumuru and Banda. Each ethnic group has its own language or dialect, festivals and customs.
The numerous tourist attraction sites in the region include the popular Kintampo Waterfalls, which was recently rehabilitated after a disaster which claimed the lives of some patrons, and the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary.
Others are the Buoyem Caves and Bats Colony in the Techiman Municipality, the Fulla Falls in Kintampo, the Tano Boase Sacred Grove, the Bono Manso Slave Market, the Forikrom Boten Shrine and Caves, the Nchiraa Waterfalls, the Duasidan Monkey Sanctuary near Dormaa Ahenkro and the Kintampo Geological Centre of Ghana.
There are also the Bui National Park, the Bui Dam, the Hani Archaeological Site, the Busia Mausoleum, River Tano Sacred Fish at Techiman, the Asumura White Necked Rock Fowl Conservation, the Nwoase Ostrich Farm, among others.
Socio-economic and political roles
The Brong Ahafo Region has, since its creation, played its role in the political, social and economic development in the country, producing the late Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia from Wenchi, who served the Prime Minister during the Second Republic; a former Finance and Senior Minister, Mr J.H. Mensah: the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah; the immediate past Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, among others.
It is an area known to have produced a lot of prominent footballers for the country, with notable names such as James Kwasi Appiah, the Black Stars Coach; Maxwell Konadu, Assistant Black Stars Coach; Asamoah Gyan, the current Black Stars Captain; Kwasi Owusu, former Black Stars Captain; Kwasi Owusu, Dan Owusu; John Paintsil, a three-time goal king; Afriyie Acquah, Richmond Boakye Yiadom and Emmanuel Agyeman-Badu, all national football stars, as well as Nana Yaw Konadu, a former World Boxing Champion.