Bushfires Destroy Crops, Reserves In Bono East

The Bono East Region is one of the hubs of commercial agriculture and agribusiness in the transitional zone of the country.

The region, which has a total land mass of 23,654 square kilometres, with 11 municipal and district administration areas, is one of the biggest food-producing areas of the country.

The newly created region is said to be the fourth biggest region in the country, playing a central role in the socio-economic landscape.

Statistics available from the regional department of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) indicate that in 2020, the region produced 248,375 metric tonnes (MT) of maize, 2,471,206 MT of varieties of yam, 1,956,766 MT of cassava, 14,580 MT of cocoyam and 29,733 MT of plantain.

Others are 18,301 MT of rice, 23,234 MT of groundnut, 3,825 MT of sorghum, 9,899 MT of cowpea, 45,855 MT of tomatoes and 15,135 MT of pepper, among others.

It has about 44,000 hectares of low valley land for paddy rice production and more than 1,250,000 hectares of arable land for the production of grains and tubers.

Nature of soil

The soil in the area is rich in nutrients suitable for the cultivation of several food crops and supports the growing of cash or tree crops such as cashew, mango, cocoa, coconut and oil palm.

The flat nature of the land and the fact that some district lands serve as basins for tributaries of rivers and groundwater in the areas give good prospects for any future construction of irrigation systems to encourage all-year-round farming.

The rich nature of the soil and rain pattern in the area also makes it possible for farmers to farm two times each year with good yields.

Forest reserves

The region has also been blessed with three vast forest reserves, namely the Tiru Shelterbelt Forest Reserve in the Nkoranza South Municipality, Bosomoa Forest Reserve in the Kintampo South District and Buru Forest Reserve in the Kintampo Municipality.

The existence and vast nature of the reserves has helped to increase rainfall for the cultivation of food crops all year-round.

Forest rangers of the Forestry Commission have had difficulty patrolling the vast forest reserves, due to the limited number of staff and inadequate logistics.

Notwithstanding these attributes of the region, one major problem that keeps frustrating farmers and the Forestry Commission in the area is bushfire.

In less than two months within 2023, the region has recorded about 20 bushfires.

Farm produce, forest reserves and forest products, including trees planted under the Green Ghana initiative over the past two years have suffered a lot of degradation as a result of bushfires. 

The situation has also been attributed to the activities of farmers, palm wine tappers, hunters and cattle grazing, among other factors.

Each year, several food crops and forest investments are destroyed through bushfires, making the menace a frequent feature each dry season in the region.

In January 2020, four children of a family were burnt to death at Bonche, a farming community near Portor in the Kintampo Municipality in the region.

The deceased were Freda Stephen, seven; Nyanne Nabada, four; Nabada Uwumboryakii, three, and Faith Stephen, nine months.

It happened when the eldest of the siblings, Freda, attempted to set fire to drive away some bees that had invaded their cottage and in the process the fire gutted the structure, burning the children to death.