Story: Bala sa-ad
THERE are but two families in this world as the sages say: the haves and the have-nots. Techiman, a municipality that shares common boundaries with four other districts, three in the Brong Ahafo Region and the other in the Ashanti Region, indisputably belongs to the family of the haves.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Techiman: Land of abundance
Techiman is a major commercial centre, and has the largest foodstuffs’ market in the country. Patrons from around the sub-region, such as Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali converge there to transact business.
The big market day starts from Wednesdays and Fridays. It also attracts a floating population of over 3,000. Most of the patrons deal in food crops such as yams, cassava, cocoyams, plantains, maize, millet, guinea corn and some vegetables – tomatoes, onions, okro, garden eggs. At a time, the market contains over 300 cargo trucks and about 500 taxis, all carrying passengers and/or loads moving to and from the market.
Apart from the major food crops found in the market, many different wares are also displayed, thus making economic activities brisk, smooth and flexible. It is also not shocking seeing articulated and several other cargo trucks loading tones of the food crops to the brim to distribute them cross the country and beyond. On market days, patrons of commercial activities swell the ranks of the natives of the municipality.
Techiman, established under Legislative Instrument (LI 1472) of 1989 as a district assembly, was later upgraded to a municipality status under LI 1979 of 2004. Currently, the Techiman Municipality Assembly (TMM) is one of the two municipalities and 17 district assemblies in the Brong Ahafo Region.
It covers an area of 669.7 kilometers square, representing approximately 1.69 per cent surface area of the region, with a population size of 174,600 in 2000 and an average growth of 3.0 per cent per annum. It also has a rapid increase from a modest population of 34,642 in 1960 to the current figure, with an intercensal growth rate far higher than that of many other towns in the country. It is also a municipality where roads from all the three northern regions meet. Additionally, it is the central point where trunk roads from Kumasi, Sunyani, Tamale and Wa converge, thus highlighting the municipality as a bustling business centre.
Techiman municipality is also the second most-urbanised town in the region, after Sunyani, the regional capital.
The municipality’s growth points are Techiman township, Kenten, Tuobodom and Tanoso; they continue to accommodate relatively higher population densities with corresponding pressure extended on the existing limited infrastructural facilities.
Statistics from the TMA also show that the municipality contains about 150 settlements, most of which are located along the main roads of the municipality.
Agriculture and its related works are the major occupations in the municipality and a significant number (13.7 per cent) of the economically active population is also engaged in petty trading. No doubt the municipality has the highest percentage of sales workers in the region. A survey of the self-employed in the municipality also shows that about 78.6 per cent of the self-employed are engaged in small-scale economic enterprise.
Techiman has over 40 ethnic groups, namely Akans/Bonos (the natives), Hausas, Dagombas, Gonjas, Dagartis, Walas, Sisalas, Ewes, Fantes, among others, Permanently living in the municipality, with all the various ethnic groups having their own chiefs and thus display their political cultures accordingly.
The natives of this centre of population have their unique and spectacular culture and tradition.
Essentially, the Techiman Traditional Council is the traditional authority in the whole municipality, comprising 28 divisional chiefs, including the Omanhene, Oseadeeyo Akumfi Ameyaw IV, who heads the council.
The major festivals in the municipality are the Apour and the Yam festivals. The annual Apour Festival is celebrated between April and May each year, and the significance of the celebration of this festival is that it gives the natives a right and the opportunity to openly come out and criticize those in authority without being punished. This obviously demonstrates democracy at its peak by way of ensuring that the rule of law and good governance permeate all activities in the traditional system. It also serves as a barometer for introspection for those in authority to evaluate their way of doing things in order to make amends and thus improve on any shortcomings.
The Yam Festival, on the other hand, is celebrated between August and September to mark two farming seasons. It also serves as a thanksgiving service to the Almighty God and the ancestral spirits of the land for a bumper harvest. It is thus believed that the festival sustains the good relationship between the living and the ancestral spirits.
Techiman, located at the centre of the country, also abounds in some tourist attractions such as the Buoyem Bat Sanctuary, which houses Rosetta fruit bats; the Tanoboase Sacred Grove, believed to be the cradle of the Bono civilization; the Grotto and Kristo Boase Manastery, the only known monastery in the country, and established by the Catholic Church Benedictine monks, as well as a place for religious activities and recreation; the Boten (Rock) Shrine, as well as the magic caves and the Holy Mountains at Oforikrom.
Techiman has many beautiful hotels such as the Premier Palace Hotel, the Agyeiwaa Memorial Hotel, the Dymns Hotel, the Commander Guest House and the St Michael’s Guest House.
It is also refreshing to note that as a result of the booming economic activities in the town, Techiman presently has five giant banks- Ghana Commercial Bank, National Investment Bank, Merchant Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and the Agricultural Development Bank. ECOBANK and the Home Finance Company have also expressed interest in doing business in the town. Six rural banks are also operating in the town, with a good number of credit unions also operating micro-finance schemes. On the whole, there are about 20 registered susu collection entities doing real business in the municipality.
On health, Techiman can boast of 24 health care centres and two mission hospitals – the Holy Family Hospital and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Hospital. It also has nine government health centres, private clinics and four private maternity clinics. As of the end of 2005, the National Health Insurance Scheme had registered 58,339 people in the municipality, representing 30 per cent of the target population.
In the area of communication, Areeba, One-touch and tiGO are all functional in the municipality. In addition, there are two powerful private radio stations, namely Classic FM, operating on 91.9 Mhz and the ASTA FM on 103.9 Mhz.
In an interview with the Managing Director of Classic FM, Mr. Fred Seine,
he says he had not got any key competitor in the region, apart from radio BAR in Sunyani, which is state-owned. Mr. Zeini states that his radio station operates a 5000 Kw coverage area, thus covering between 150 and 170 kilometres.
He added that the station ran a series of competitions for people from within and outside the region. “By March 2007, Classic FM is going to be hooked onto the Internet to be received by people around the globe,” Mr. Zeini emphasized.
For his part, the General Manager of ASTA FM, Mr. Owusu Asante
, said his station was doing quite well, but was determined to improve upon all aspects of the system to withstand global competition. “Now, we command about 50 per cent of the listening public in the Techiman municipality, 80 per cent in the Nkoranza District and 10 per cent in the Sunyani municipality,” he stressed.
With this rapid population growth, coupled with the abundance in staple foodstuffs and all other necessities of life, Techiman is sooner rather than later becoming a force to be reckoned with in the sub-region.
The Daily Graphic - Monday, February 19, 2007 Page: 24