About Jomoro Municipal Assembly
The, 1344 square kilometers of natural magnificence known today as Jomoro was crafted out of the former Nzema District in 1988 by legislative instrument 1394.
The district constitutes 5.6% of the total land area of the Western Region and is bounded to the north by WassaAmenfi and AowinSuaman, to the east by the Nzema East District, to the west by Ghana’s western neighbor-the Republic of Ivory Coast-and to the south by the Gulf of Guinea.
Jomoro enjoys a typical equatorial monsoon climate with minor fluctuation n its mean annual temperature, air pressure and humidity.
The District acclaimed as the wettest part of the country, with its average annual rainfall exceeding 1,732 millimeters, usually registered in two main wet seasons-from April to July and from September to November; it has a short dry spell in August and a much longer dry period in December through January.
It is Jomoro’s climate, rather than its soil, which has often been cited as being so supportive of plant growth and agriculture in the District. This part of the country is famous for successful farming in key cash crops like coconut, oil palm, rubber and cocoa.
The District lies entirely within the Tropical Rain forest belt with a coastal vegetation which is largely mangrove swamp.
Culture is broad and may be defined from many perspectives. It is a way of life of a group of people, which deals with customs and beliefs and social organization.
Unlike many districts of this country, Jomoro in its entirety is under one paramountcy at the traditional capital located in Beyin.
The annual festival of the people called kundum brings all the citizenry from afar and near to their respective towns and villages.
Large proportions of the population are the Nzemas who are the natives and constitutes as high as 65.4% of the total population. The other significant tribes are Fantis(13.8%), Ewes(8.8%), Twi speaking extraction (3.2%).
This portrays the District as being heterogeneous in terms of ethnicity, but has has a positive repercussion in terms of development since the people will see development projects as theirs and for that matter would be willing to contribute towards it as well as ensure their sustainable use.
The minority groups; Ewes, Fanti, Twi speaking extracts and others have lived in the District for the past twenty (20) years and are therefore attached to the area.
While in the rural areas communal spirit is high through participation in the construction of school blocks, toilet, clinics, community centres etc, the same cannot be said of the urban centres.
This might be the cosmopolitan nature of the urban areas as there is the general knowledge that Government is to provide for everything. In the urban centres, organizations, churches and the District Assembly only carry on activities.
Western Christian religions are widely practiced in the District, but the interesting feature is its adaptation of the practice to local traditions.
Because majority of the people in the District are traditionalists, the degree/or level of behavioral effect is maintained at a high pitch in context of vengeance, fear, magic and exorcism. It is the belief that disobedience of the social order brings vengeance from the gods.
It is in this context that illness is seen as a cause and effect relationship i.e. vengeance or repressive action from the gods. In such circumstance the sick visits the traditional practitioners than to visit the western or orthodox practitioner.
Pregnant women especially from the rural areas do not visit ante-natal clinics because of the belief in the traditional medicine. With the advent of formal education there is a form of conflict between the old and the new concepts.
While the educated and the young tend to look down upon traditional values, norms and practices, which turn to retard development and progress the aged and uneducated, hold to the traditional values.
On the other hand, the high degree of behavioral effect which is maintained by traditionalist could be seen as unifying factor which when properly harnessed would bring about coordination to promote communalism, development and progress
Though the District is said to be peaceful, there are pockets of chieftaincy disputes at Bonyere, Newtown and some few areas, which should be looked at seriously.
The dispute has divided these areas into factions and has even affected local level governance in terms of the performance of the Area Councils.
The non-functioning of the Bonyere Area Council is attributed to the endemic conflict in the area. This situation has retarded development, as the council cannot meet to generate revenue for development.
The population distribution of the district is influenced by various factors including vegetation, type of economic activity, infrastructure, and cultural and administrative policies.
The District capital Half Assini has the largest population. The town has the infrastructure and economic influence to attract migration and retain residents. Elubo, Tikobo No. 1 and Bonyere follow this.
The distribution of the population in the District is uneven. This is reflected in the difference between the population size and land area.
The District can best be described as typically rural. Out of the total 931 settlements, only 5 settlements could be described as urban in 2010, thus having population of 5,000 and above.
Table 2: DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION IN SOME SELECTED SETTLEMENTS.
|19||AVOLENU (NEW TOWN)||2,812||2,895||2,980||3,068|
Source: Ghana Statistical Service, 2010 Population and Housing Census
The settlement population pattern of the district does not arguer well for development in the case of the provision of certain facilities, which require a minimum population threshold to make them viable. The table above shows the population of the major settlements in the district in 2010.
ECONOMY OF THE DISTRICT
The economy of the district is mixed consisting of large traditional agricultural sector made up of mostly small-scale peasant farmers, fishermen, a growing informal sector of small businessmen, artisans and technicians and an insignificant proportion in the processing and manufacturing sector.
The major occupational structure in the district is agriculture, which absorbs 54.1% of the total labour force in the district. Population engaged in industry and service is comparatively small. According to 2010 PHC, farming activities include crop farming, tree planting, livestock rearing and fish farming.
The district is made up of 34,503 households, of which 15,409 households representing 44.7 percent are engaged in agriculture activities.
Out of the households that engage in agriculture activities, 53.8 percent are at the rural sector whiles, 29.7 percent are urban settlers.
A difference of 24.1 percent of rural households, more than urban households, shows more rural household members engage in agriculture activities than urban household members.
The Total Number of Employed people in the district amount to 58,161 which represent 57.8% of both sexes’ whiles the total of unemployed is 3,470 representing 3.4% of both sexes.
Those not economically active amounts to 38,980 which also represents 38.8% of both sexes. [Source: Ghana Statistical Service, 2010 PHC]
Agriculture is the backbone of the District’s economy. Besides employing about 65-70% of the District’s labour force, it has a great potential of sparking off agro-based industrial activities and producing a wide range of food and cash crops for internal and external markets.
This sector is, however beset with numerous problems basic among them are:
- Destruction of crops by pests and diseases
- Inadequate finance
- Inaccessible farm roads
- Low access to extension services
- High cost of farming inputs
- Limited access to credit
- Limited access to extension services
- Inadequate disease and pest control
- Lack of storage facilities
- Limited land for farming
Farmers continue to use traditional method of farming i.e. slash and burn with hoe and cutlass. This method results to farmers cultivating small areas, hence low productivity. Lack of recognized input dealers also hinders agricultural development. Farmers have to travel long distance to purchase farming inputs. The few unregistered input dealers in the District sell inputs at exorbitant prices to farmers. They also dispense wrong application rates of chemicals to farmers.
Active fishing activities occur in about 28 fish landing sites dotting the coast of Jomoro district. Fish landings have declined over the last 15-20 years, attributable in the first instance to simple increase in population leading to over-fishing. But more damaging methods have been used to catch up, such as light fishing, use of monofilament nets, dynamite, carbide, pair trawling and fishing with obnoxious substances. Illegal practices result in poor fish quality, with fishmongers and processors in particular expressing greater worry about the short shelf-life of processed fish. Added to this is the arrival of algae bloom, which adversely affects artisanal marine fishing. Since 1993, marine algal blooms caused by the filamentous green alga Enteromorpha flexuosa – known locally as green-green – have been occuring every year (December- February) from Newtown to Cape Three Points. It has also been reported in the rivers and wetlands of the Amanzule at Bakanta and Ankobra at Sanwoma respectively. The dramatic decline in fisheries can be reversed through significant reductions in fishing effort, best decided by co-management institutions including community-based. Management of pelagic, demersal and those small scale fish stocks found in estuaries, lagoons, rivers, lakes and near-shore marine areas will require different co-management approaches with expressions at the national, regional and community scales respectively.
Economy & Society
Fishing and farming constitute the key drivers of the local economy and are the major livelihood options practiced in the Jomoro district. However, destructive fishing practices coupled with the regular incidence of algal bloom in the marine environment are resulting in dwindling fish catch and displacing fishery-based livelihoods while threatening food security in the Jomoro district. This problem is aggravated by the prevailing low agricultural productivity in the district. As shown in Table 4, the coastal communities recorded an average score of 1 relative to livelihoods and the rural economy. This is due in part, to the periodic incidence of algal bloom in the marine environment, which has been of much concern, due to its contribution to decline in fish catch. Harmful fishing methods, such as light fishing and use of chemicals have also negatively impacted the fishery. The coconut industry on the other hand, has been deteriorated by the incidence of Cape Saint Paul’s Wilt disease and also due to over-age crop. Meanwhile, the characteristic sandy soils of the district have over the years, failed to adequately support food crop production.
It also emerged during the appraisal that poor access to educational infrastructure and lack of trained teaching personnel at the basic education level is resulting in high school drop-out rate, poor pupil performance and spurring entry of prospective students into the fishery in the Jomoro district. This problem is resulting in low standard of education and driving increased fishing effort. Several factors account for the falling standard of basic education in the coastal communities, notable among them are inadequate teaching and learning materials, inadequate professional teachers, teacher indiscipline, weak English language skills, failure to complete curriculum, lack of parental support towards pupils’ education, inadequate external and internal teacher supervision and low interest of pupils’ towards education. In a nutshell, declining livelihoods and high illiteracy levels in the coastal communities is indicative of high vulnerability of the coastal populations to external shocks and stresses that are both climate related and or non-climatic.