Factors Influencing the Adoption of Agricultural Practices in Ghana’s Forest-Fringe Communities Acheampong, Emmanuel Opoku; Sayer, Jeffrey; Macgregor, Colin J.; Sloan, Sean
Two-thirds of rural Ghanaians are farmers, and farming is almost the only income source for Ghana’s forest-fringe communities. Some farmers adopt some agricultural practices to augment their operations while others do not. We examined the factors that influence farmers’ adoption and intensity of adoption of agricultural practices, namely, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, improved seeds, animal manure, and crop rotation. We surveyed the agricultural systems and livelihoods of 291 smallholder households in forest-fringe communities and developed a multivariate model (canonical correlation analysis) to test the degree to which social, economic, and institutional factors correlate with adoption and intensity of adoption of the above practices. We found that 35.4% of the farmers do not adopt any of the practices because they perceive them to be expensive, not useful, and difficult to adopt. The rest (64.6%) adopt at least one of the practices to control weeds, pests and diseases, and consequently increase crop yields. Our results indicate that farmers that perceive the aforementioned practices to be more beneficial, cultivate multiple plots, and have access to extension services adopt more of the practices. Farmer age and distance to source of inputs negatively correlate with adoption and intensity of adoption of agricultural practices. Almost two-thirds each of adopters and non-adopters do not have access to agricultural extension services and this could pose threats to the sustainability of the forest reserves within and around which the farmers cultivate. Educating farmers on agricultural practices that are forest-friendly is critical in the forest-fringe communities of Ghana. The correct application of practices could double outputs and minimize threats to forests and biodiversity through land-sparing.
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