Apart from the bountiful production of food crops and vegetables, the Central Tongu Constituency in the Volta Region is also known for large-scale gari processing, which attracts people from other parts of the country to the Mafi-Kumase Market to buy gari and other food items.
The constituency has Adidome as the capital and also commercial hub, but Mafi-Kumase is revered as the market which brings the whole Ghana down to the area to patronise its rich gari.
Asiekpe is another important town in Central Tongu, as far as food production and various commercial activities are concerned.
It is known for a power sub-station that has been distributing electricity to the rest of the region for many years.
However, the main concern of inhabitants of the area is the lack of roads to link up the various communities.
The people believe that good roads hold the key to unlocking the agricultural potential of the area, as they will facilitate the smooth transportation of food crops from the farm gate to the marketing centres.
Aside from the poor road network in the constituency, the tourism potential is also yet to be developed for the people to reap the full benefits.
Among the tourist attractions yet to be developed in Central Tongu are the rock formation at Awakpedome, near Adidome, and the Volta Lake islands of Siamekume and Awadiwoekunu.
The Central Tongu Constituency is located in the south west of the Volta Region, with a population of about 83,000, and has the Adaklu, Ho West, South Tongu and North Tongu constituencies/districts as its neighbours.
The tarred road from Adaklu Tsrefe runs through the constituency and connects to Sogakope with less time and greater convenience.
Central Tongu also boasts the Adidome Senior High School, which is among the sterling second-cycle institutions in the region, and the Mafi-Kumase Senior High Technical School.
The Adidome Farm Institute also trains young people in agriculture and is on record for training young women to operate farm tractors.
Fishing is another important primary economic activity in Central Tongu, apart from food crop production and gari processing.
The constituency is found in the Central Tongu District, which is one of the 18 districts in the Volta Region.
It was originally created as a district on March 10, 1989, when it was first known as the North Tongu District, with Adidome as the capital.
However, on June 28, 2012, by L.I. 2081, the western part of the district was taken off to create a new North Tongu, with Battor Dugame as its capital, with the remaining part renamed the Central Tongu District, with Adidome as the capital, under L.I. 2077.
The constituency has a striking balance in leadership, with a National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP), Alexander Roosevelt Hottordze, and the President’s representative in the area (District Chief Executive) being Moore Zonyra.
Mr Hottordze succeeded Joe Gidisu, also an NDC MP and former Minister of Roads and Highways, who bowed out of Parliament in 2016. The current MP is serving his second term in Parliament.
The constituency is one of the strongholds of the NDC.
Some people in the constituency who spoke with the Daily Graphic acknowledged the good working relations between the MP and the DCE but said there was a lot of work to be done on the ground.
Their main concern was the lack of roads to link up the various communities.
For instance, a native of Adidome, Kofi Amoah, complained about the way children from Agortokpor at Dzabukpo still walked to school along marshy and snake-infested paths.
“The DCE and the MP should take prompt steps to address the issue in the communities and come up with a child survival and development plan,” he said.
Mr Amoah and other people in the constituency insisted that it was high time the MP and the DCE invested in social development activities as well.
He pointed out that the development potential of the communities could not be realised without good access road.
For now, Central Tongu has an identifiable network size of 206km of feeder roads, out of which only 28km are tarred.
Portions of 126km of the feeder roads have been engineered, making them motorable throughout the year.
A total portion of 46km is partly engineered and the remaining 34km not engineered.
The constituency’s development potential is vast, particularly in food production, and to tap that potential, the roads must be fixed now.
Mr Zonyra, when reached, told the Daily Graphic that tourism development was high on the agenda of the assembly to improve the living conditions of the people.
Pursuant to that, he said, power had been extended to the Volta Lake islands of Siamekume and Awadiwoekunu, to be followed soon by the construction of guest houses in the communities.
After that, he said, facilities for boat-racing would be acquired to promote water sport in the district for holiday makers from far and near.
Further, Mr Zonyra said, plans were underway to link some of the fascinating rock formations in Central Tongu with walkways to boost tourism in the area by next year.
Touching on feeder roads, the DCE said work was ongoing to improve the 5km Mafi Zongo-Adiekpe road and the 13km Agotako-Tapatikope road.
“The culverts are being fixed and the roads are being compressed to facilitate the smooth movement of vehicles,” he added.
According to Mr Zonyra, work to improve more feeder roads in the district would commence next year, and that would definitely improve the local economy.
He said with better roads, farmers would gain easier access to the vibrant Mafi-Kumase market with their vegetables, and that would guarantee incomes for them.
He said the Mafi–Kumase Market was on record as the centre for high quality gari and that held bright prospects for the local economy.
He touched on pre-school education and said so far decent kindergartens had been built at Asiekpe, New Bakpa, Mafi-Anfoe, Dzawula, Fiekpe and Adiekpe.
Mr Hottordze, for his part, told the Daily Graphic that 4,000 people in the constituency had benefitted from eye-screening in the past six years.
Out of the figure, he said, 600 had undergone surgery to restore their sight.
That was achieved with support from World Vision and other non-governmental organisations, he added.
He said with his share of the MPs’ Common Fund and funds from "other sources", an eight-unit clinic at Mafi-Gidikpoe was now at the completion stage.
Furthermore, resources were being committed to the GH¢50,000 patients’ carers' centre at the Adidome District Hospital to ensure its completion next year, he said.
In the area of education, the MP said eight motorbikes had been procured for circuit offices of the Ghana Education Service in the constituency.
Also, a three-bedroom bungalow for the District Education Director had been renovated at a cost of GH¢93,000 in Adidome, under the GETFund.
To enhance communications in the area, Mr Hottordze said, masts had been secured and were in use at Mafi-Tsakpo, Mafi-Zongo, Mafi-Fiekpe and Mafi-Srekpe.
According to him, plans were far advanced to connect Mafi-Dove, Mafi-Avedo, Mafi-Norgbedzi and four other communities to telecommunication masts.
The MP said sports development in the area would be among his priorities next year.
That, he said, would include the mass provision of sports kits for basic school children.
Mr Hottordze attributed the development going on in the constituency to the cordial bond between him and the DCE, Mr Zonyra.