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Full Constituency Details
 
 

Gushiegu

Region: Northern Region
Member of Paliament: Nasah, Kwesi Thomas

 ECONOMY

Micro/Constituency Economic Development
The status of the constituency economy is a major determinant of local development. The proportion of economically active population in the constituency is estimated to be 43% and more than 80% of this active people are engaged in agriculture. The economic activities in the constituency are agro-based and include farming, agro-processing and trading in foodstuff. 
 
The constituency is a major producer of groundnuts and beans in the region. Agro-based industrial activities centre on shea-butter extraction, and rice processing. There are a few small-scale industries such as welding and mechanics shops. Trading especially by women is very important in the constituency.
 
AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
 
Farming Systems
The farming system prevailing is mixed farming. Besides crop production, the average farm family raises a wide variety of livestock and poultry. With regards to crop production, semi-permanent to shifting cultivation is practiced in the remote areas of the constituency where land availability is not a constraint and population density is low.
Mixed cropping dominates the cropping pattern. Sole cropping activities in the constituency are relatively large commercial rice and maize farms. Commercial rice farming is located in the valley basins of the tributaries of the Black Volta, White Volta and Oti rivers. 
 
Most farming practices involve the traditional labour-intensive type characterized by the use of the hoe and cutlass. However, the initial cultivation of the land (ploughing) is highly dependent on mechanization. There are about 83 tractors and 402 bullock services available to farmers. About 80% of farmers use tractors in Karaga zone, and 40% use tractors in the Gushiegu zone. The rest of the farming population in these zones use animal traction.
To an extent, agriculture in the constituency is predominantly small holder, subsistence and rain-fed. Although the annual rainfall ranges between 950-1300 (sufficient), the erratic nature of the pattern does not augur well for good yields.
 
Major traditional crops cultivated in the constituency include maize, sorghum, millet, groundnuts, cowpeas, cassava, rice and yam. Over the years, the land area under cultivation has varied among the crops. While the land under cultivation of many crops has increased.Reasons for the low land cultivation could be attributed to low prices of local rice as a result of the importation of cheap rice. Other reasons are the low levels of input use due to high input/output price ratios. Other causes include, inadequate and expensive mechanization services and inappropriate farming practices.
 
Indeed while land cultivation has increased in all except rice, production levels (yields) have not been commensurate with the increase in land size cultivated. Almost all crops have shown marked production decline over the period except groundnuts, a nitrogen-fixing crop that has shown a fair production increase within the period. This perhaps points to declining soil fertility in the constituency. 
 
The declining soil fertility, high cost of fertilizer and inappropriate farming practices may have also resulted in low production. Non of the crops except yams exceeded the target set in the last Medium Term Development Plan. The constituency has no land under irrigation. The extension-farmer ratio in the constituency is 1:3,045.  With depleting soil fertility, high cost of agricultural input, poor prices for traditional crop and dependence on rain-fed agriculture, a complementary agricultural practice needs to be incorporated into the constituency agricultural economy. 
 
The importance of non-traditional crops in job and wealth creation is gaining impetus. The non-traditional crop sector in the country has grown very rapidly. In the Gushegu  constituency, the non-traditional crops that and can be promoted include sheanuts, cotton, soybean and cashew. The Tables below show the production pattern of the non-traditional crops in the constituency over the last years. There is need for a more focused strategy to promote non-traditional crops in the constituency especially among the local private sector players. One however needs to be cautious in the promotion of the non-traditional agriculture as it may be practiced at the expense of food crop cultivation.
 
Livestock and Poultry Production
Animals reared in the district include cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, local fowls and guinea fowls. In majority of cases, cattle belong to an ethnic group of farmers or family or even a whole village. Traditionally, most farmers in Northern Ghana rear cattle for socio-religious reasons or to serve in ritual events. Two factors of tradition and customs are of great importance to cattle rearing in the region: the prestige of the herd and its value as a self-sustaining investment, 
 
The situation is quite different for small ruminants and rural poultry, where the rearing of these animals is seen as an economic venture and tends towards ownership by individuals. Small ruminants and poultry may be used as security in cases where inadequate rainfall may fail the subsistence farmer. They may also be sold for the purchase of seed and fertilizer during the cropping season and also used in the performance of traditional and religious ceremonies. Above all, in most rural families, small ruminants and rural poultry are most likely to be slaughtered and used in the diet as a source of protein than cattle.
 
Livestock and poultry are bred under conditions, which are both extensive and traditional. Animal production under traditional management accounts for about 99% of the total livestock population. There are two private Nucleus Sheep Farms in the constituency. These were established two years ago with the assistance of the Smallholder Agricultural Development Project (SADEP) which supplied improved breeds of Djallonke sheep to farmers.
 
Veterinary services exist in the constituency. Apart from vaccinating animals for health reasons, animals, which are to be slaughtered for human consumption, are inspected before they are sold to the public. In spite of the availability of the services to farmers, the percentage of vaccinated animals in the district is abysmally low. 
 
Marketing 
The main market centre in the district is Guhsegu, They attract traders from far and near including Tamale, Yendi and Bolga. A variety of goods are sold and bought in these markets including industrial and imported goods like clothing, utensil, bicycles, motor bike parts etc. The constituency markets are importance centres for agricultural produce such as groundnuts, maize, yams and beans. Gushegu market is very strategic in terms of livestock particularly, cattle.  
 
Livestock
Marketing of livestock in general is not well organized, except in Gushiegu  where there are livestock markets. But these markets are not very well developed. There are virtually no co-operative societies or livestock associations involved in the marketing of animals. The marketing of livestock is normally done on well-defined routes i.e. from farmer-dealer-middleman-butcher. 
 
Most farmers sell their stock to either butchers or middlemen who convey the animals to towns and cities to sell them to the abattoirs. The majority of animal owners take their animals, either by road or in trucks to the local markets for sale. In some cases, dealers go to the villages to buy these animals. In cases of old or weak animals, they are slaughtered in the village and the meat sold at relatively low prices. In spite of the importance of markets in the constituency.
 
INVESTMENT AND BUSINESS POTENTIAL
 
Investment potential
Basically, the primary investment potential in the constituency is in agriculture, which is undoubtedly economically viable. The constituency is endowed with vast productive agricultural lands with a potential for the production of cereal crops, roots and tubers, legumes industrial crops and also the rearing of livestock. The constituency exports grains and yams to other regions, especially the Upper East Region.
 
The Namburugu and Gaa valley s are well noted areas for rice cultivation. The cultivation of non-traditional export crops such as cashew and sunflower is also gradually gaining grounds. Cotton is also produced on a large scale in the constituency. These are all areas that private investors can explore on. The constituency also has a large concentration of economic trees such as shea and dawadawa.
 
For ages, the shea was the only economic tree in the north, although little has been done to exploit its economic value and potentials. In recent itmes, the dawadawa tree has assumed a place of industrial importance the fruit of this tree is used in the production of spieces for cooking. There are also very good opportunities for investors interested in shea butter extraction and the spieces industry.
 
Livestock production
Mainly of cattle, sheep, and goats, is also a very important economic activity in the constituency. Gushiegu, the district capital, can boast of the largest cattle market in the rgion. Gushiegu also has one of the largest and busiest agricultural produce markets in the region, which attracts traders from Techiman, Bawku and even the neighbouring Repulbic of Burkina Faso.
 
GEOLOGY AND SOIL
The constituency lies entirely within the Voltarian sandstone basin dominated by sandstones, shales, siltstones and minor limestones. The northern tip of the constituency is underlain by lower Voltarian which consist of rocks, dominated by shales and sandstones. The soils are mainly savannah ochrosols, groundwater laterites formed over granite and Voltaian shales.
 
Small areas of savannah ochrosols with some lithosols and brunosols are also very low. The laterites are similar in acidity and nutrient level to the ochrosols, but are poorer in physical properties, with substantial amounts of concretionary gravel layers near the top horizons and more suited for road and other constructional works than supporting plant root systems.
 
Despite gentle slopes, the soils are highly vulnerable to sheet erosion, and in some areas, gully erosion also occurs. This condition occurs primarily because of the annual burning of the natural vegetation, leaving the soil exposed to the normally high intensity rains (up to 200mm per hour) at the beginning of the rainy season.
 
 

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