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Role of Pigeonpea Cultivation on Soil Fertility and Farming System Sustainability in Ghana  [PDF]
S. Adjei-Nsiah
International Journal of Agronomy , 2012, DOI: 10.1155/2012/702506
Abstract: The productivity of the smallholder farming system in Ghana is under threat due to soil fertility decline. Mineral fertilizer is sparingly being used by smallholder farmers because of prohibitive cost. Grain legumes such as pigeonpea can play a complementary or alternative role as a source of organic fertilizer due to its ability to enhance soil fertility. Despite its importance, the potential of pigeonpea as a soil fertility improvement crop has not been exploited to any appreciable extent and the amount of land cultivated to pigeonpea in Ghana is vey negligible. This paper synthesizes recent studies that have been carried out on pigeonpea in Ghana and discusses the role of pigeonpea cultivation in soil fertility management and its implication for farming system sustainability. The paper shows that recent field studies conducted in both the semi-deciduous forest and the forest/savanna transitional agro-ecological zones of Ghana indicate that pigeonpea/maize rotations can increase maize yield by 75–200%. Barrier to widespread adoption of pigeonpea include land tenure, market, and accessibility to early maturing and high yielding varieties. The paper concludes among other things that in order to promote the cultivation of pigeonpea in Ghana, there is the need to introduce varieties that combine early maturity with high yields and other desirable traits based on farmers preferences. 1. Introduction Agricultural productivity in the smallholder farming systems in Ghana is under threat due to declining soil fertility. In the past, smallholder farmers in Ghana relied on the extended bush fallow system for maintaining the productivity of their farmlands [1]. This system allowed restoration of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N), the most limiting nutrients. However, over the years, the population growth-induced scarcity of suitable farmland has led to the shortening of the fallow period making it difficult to manage soil fertility in smallholder farming systems. The problem is compounded by the increasing cost of inputs at the farm level due to structural adjustment programmes that have removed subsidies and increased supply costs due to the deterioration conditions of rural infrastructure [2]. For instance, in 2002, whereas a metric tonne of urea cost about US$90 FOB (free on board) in Europe [3], the same quantity cost a Ghanaian farmer about US$308 at the farm level [4]. Most farmers, especially the smallholder farmers, do not have access to formal credit and therefore cannot afford to buy mineral fertilizers even when it has been demonstrated to be profitable
Promoting Cassava as an Industrial Crop in Ghana: Effects on Soil Fertility and Farming System Sustainability  [PDF]
S. Adjei-Nsiah,Owuraku Sakyi-Dawson
Applied and Environmental Soil Science , 2012, DOI: 10.1155/2012/940954
Abstract: Cassava is an important starchy staple crop in Ghana with per capita consumption of 152.9?kg/year. Besides being a staple food crop, cassava can be used as raw material for the production of industrial starch and ethanol. The potential of cassava as an industrial commercial crop has not been exploited to a large extent because of perceptions that cassava depletes soils. Recent finding from field studies in the forest/savannah transitional agroecological zone of Ghana indicates that when integrated in the cropping system as a form of rotation, cassava contributes significantly to maintenance of soil fertility, and thus large scale production of cassava for industrial use can contribute to poverty reduction in an environmentally responsive way. This paper discusses the role of cassava cultivation in soil fertility management and its implication for farming system sustainability and industrialization. 1. Introduction Cassava is an important starchy staple crop in Ghana with per capita consumption of 152.9?kg/year [1]. Besides being a staple food crop, cassava can be used as raw material for the production of industrial starch and ethanol. In Ghana, cassava is cultivated as a monocrop or intercropped with other food crops, either as the dominant or subsidiary crop. In terms of quantity produced, cassava is the most important root crop in Ghana followed by yams and cocoyams, but cassava ranks second to maize in terms of area planted. The production of cassava in Ghana ranged from 10,217,929?MT to 12,260,330 MT in the period 2007–2009 covering an area of 800,531?ha to 885,800?ha [1]. Ghana currently produces about 12,260,000?MT of cassava annually. Out of this, 8,561,700?MT is available for human consumption while national consumption is estimated at only 3,672,700?MT resulting in surplus of about 4,889,000?MT which can be exploited for the production of industrial starch or ethanol. Despite its importance, the potential of cassava as an industrial crop has not been exploited to any appreciable extent in Ghana, with the perception that cassava depletes soils [2, 3]. However, recent studies in the forest/savannah transitional agroecological zone as well as the semideciduous forest zone of Ghana have demonstrated that, when integrated in the cropping system as a form of rotation, cassava has the potential of maintaining soil fertility. In most parts of Africa, cassava is planted just before the land is left to fallow [4, 5]. In the forest/savannah transitional agroecological zone of Ghana, farmers often rotate maize with cowpea and when they observe decline in
Dynamics of insect pollinators as influenced by cocoa production systems in Ghana  [cached]
Frimpong , Eric A.,Gemmill-Herren, Barbara,Gordon, Ian,Kwapong , Peter K.
Journal of Pollination Ecology , 2011,
Abstract: Cocoa is strictly entomophilous but studies on the influence of the ecosystem on insect pollinators in cocoa production systems are limited. The abundance of cocoa pollinators and pod-set of cocoa as influenced by a gradient of farm distances from natural forest and proportion of plantain/banana clusters in or adjacent to cocoa farms were therefore investigated. Cocoa pollinators trapped were predominantly ceratopogonid midges hence, analyses were based on their population. Variation in farm distance to forest did neither influence ceratopogonid midge abundance nor cocoa pod-set. However, we found a positive relationship between pollinator abundance and fruit set and the proportion of plantain/banana intercropped with cocoa. The results suggest appropriate cocoa intercrop can enhance cocoa pollination, and the current farming system in Ghana can conveniently accommodate such interventions without significant changes in farm practices.
Integrative Management Of Cocoa Agroforestry Systems: Promoting Long-Term On-Farm Diversity
ME Isaac, E Dawoe
Journal of Science and Technology (Ghana) , 2009,
Abstract: In cocoa (Theobroma cacao) agroforestry systems, upper canopy trees and food crops are frequently planted for shade, diversification of farm products, and improved soil fertility. As diversification remains a top priority for farm economic and environmental sustainability, system management plays a substantial role in farm diversity, requiring long-term analysis. We measured species richness dynamics in a chronosequence (N = 4) representing farms aged 2 to 25 years old in the western cocoa-growing region of Ghana, West Africa. Subsequently, we conducted farmer interviews to establish farming practices with regards to integration of non-cocoa species. After farm establishment, increases were recorded in non-cocoa and Simpson diversity index (for 2 years = 0.17 ± 0.167; for 15 years = 0.68 ± 0.026; for 25 years = 0.68 ± 0.036), but no changes were observed in crop richness. All participants interviewed managed supplementary species on their cocoa farms, with 92% of farmers purposefully establishing an upper canopy stratum. We discuss the use of principles from natural stand development for sustaining such diversity. Farmer managed crop re-initiation during farm maturation may promote higher diversity within an existing agroforestry framework.
Impact of shade and cocoa plant densities on soil organic carbon sequestration rates in a cocoa growing soil of Ghana
K Ofori-Frimpong, AA Afrifa, S Acquaye
African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology , 2010,
Abstract: Cropping systems have influence on the conservation of soil organic matter. Soil samples were taken from a long term experiment that was designed to study the impact of shade and cocoa plant densities on cocoa yields. The impact of the treatments on soil organic carbon sequestration rates and the gains or losses of soil organic carbon under the treatments with reference to adjacent undisturbed bush were assessed. The experiment was sited at the Bunso substation of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana on Rhodi-lixic ferralsol with annual precipitation of about 1500 mm. The shade was provided by forest trees of 18 trees ha-1 and no shade, while the cocoa densities were 1111, 1428 and 1667 trees ha-1. Shade effects on organic carbon pools within the top soil (0-30 cm) under cocoa were not significant (p=0.05). Cocoa plant densities per unit area influenced the soil organic carbon pools. The soil organic carbon pools were significantly lower (p=0.05) in the closely planted farms than in the widely spaced farms. There were no soil organic carbon sequestration in the highest cocoa plant density of 1667 trees ha-1 but 250 and 190 kg soil organic carbon ha-1 yr-1 in the top soil (0-15 cm) were sequestered in the soils under cocoa with density of 1111 trees ha-1 for shaded and unshaded farms respectively. Irrespective of the shade conditions, the net gains of carbon in the soils were higher in farms with lower cocoa plant density. The results suggest that cocoa planted at low plant density under shade stores more carbon per unit area of soil than an equivalent area of cocoa planted at high density without shade. It is concluded that cocoa farming could be an effective means to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions in cocoa growing countries.
Nutrient cycling in primary, secondary forests and cocoa plantation in the Ashanti Region, Ghana
E Owusu-Sekyere, J Cobbina, T Wakatsuki
West African Journal of Applied Ecology , 2006,
Abstract: Primary forest (reserved area), secondary forest and cocoa plantation land uses characterize uplands of Dwinyama watershed in Ghana within the dry semi-deciduous forest zone. The nutrients recycled in the land uses were studied through leaf litter fall, nutrient release, nutrient fluxes estimation and topsoil nutrient contents leading to the identification of appropriate land use in upland regions that may potentially influence lowland farming. Mean annual leaf litter produced by the primary and secondary forests was both 7.9 t ha-1 and that for cocoa plantation was 6.9 t ha-1. The primary forest leaf litter showed rapid decomposition than the secondary forest and the cocoa leaf litter. Nutrients released from the decomposing leaf litters were fast for N, P, K, Ca and Mg for the primary and secondary forests. Less leaf litter production and high rainfall regimes in South America and southeast Asia probably contributed to the lower annual nutrient fluxes recorded than that of the dry semi-deciduous tropical forest in Ghana. The soil under cocoa plantation was higher in Ca than in the secondary and primary forests soils. The primary forest recorded higher contents of top soil N, P. K, and Mg nutrients due to non-frequent removal of the vegetation, presence of organic matter that increases soil carbon content and cation exchange capacity. Generally, trends of nutrients released and the quantities of nutrient fluxes estimate in the land uses in Ghana suggested that nutrient cycling was better in the primary forest followed by the secondary forest and cocoa plantation. The trend in the land uses was primary > secondary > cocoa, suggesting that forests in uplands will protect watersheds, and, through leaching and erosion, nutrients may be transported to the lowlands for continuous and sustainable cropping with little or no inorganic fertilizer application.
Adoption of Some Cocoa Production Technologies by Cocoa Farmers in Ghana  [cached]
F. Aneani,V. M. Anchirinah,F. Owusu-Ansah,M. Asamoah
Sustainable Agriculture Research , 2012, DOI: 10.5539/sar.v1n1p103
Abstract: Adoption of the cocoa (Theobroma cacao) production technologies recommended to cocoa farmers by Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) had been low, leading to yield and production levels below potential. To investigate this issue, a formal socio-economic sample survey of 300 cocoa farmers selected randomly, by a multi-stage sampling technique, from all the cocoa growing regions of Ghana was conducted with a structured questionnaire for the individual interviews. The adoption rates of CRIG-recommended technologies such as control of capsids with insecticides, control of black pod disease with fungicides, weed control manually or with herbicides, planting hybrid cocoa varieties and fertilizer application were 10.3%, 7.5%, 3.7%, 44.0% and 33.0%, respectively. Adoption models indicated that credit, number of cocoa farms owned by the farmer, gender, age of the cocoa farm, migration, cocoa farm size, and cocoa yield affected the adoption decisions of cocoa farmers concerning the CRIG-recommended technologies analyzed in this study.
The impact of forest reserves on livelihoods of fringe communities in Ghana
SE Edusah
Journal of Science and Technology (Ghana) , 2011,
Abstract: This study looked at how the livelihoods of forest fringe communities have been affected by the constitution of four forest reserves in Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions of Ghana. The selection of the reserves for study was based on the fact that the reserves were surrounded by a number of relatively new and old settlements and have potential for socio-economic activities (agricultural production and ecotourism). Two main research approaches, structured questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were used in the data collection. A structured questionnaire together with open-ended questions was used to collect quantitative and qualitative information on household and community characteristics, including household incomes, farm sizes and tenancy arrangements. An open-ended questionnaire was designed for selected groups and community leaders to solicit their views and perceptions. The study found that farming was the main occupation of the people with cocoa and oil palm being the major cash crops grown in the area. Food crops grown include plantain, maize, cocoyam, cassava and rice. The major tenancy arrangements include family lands, outright purchase and sharecropping. Environmental problems in the area are decline in soil fertility, soil erosion, deforestation, bush fires and depletion of game and wildlife. Incomes were found to be low resulting in high poverty levels. The study shows that the communities have little role to play in the management of forest reserves.
Analysis of economic efficiency in cocoa production in Ghana
F Aneani, VM Anchirinah, M Asamoah, F Owusu-Ansah
African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development , 2011,
Abstract: The main purpose of this study was to analyze the economic efficiency of resource utilization in cocoa production of the cocoa farmers in Ghana to provide information for effective application and management of farm inputs on cocoa farms and policy recommendation. A random sample of 300 farmers in the Eastern, Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Central, Volta and Western regions of Ghana were selected, using the multistage sampling approach. Individual farmers were interviewed by using questionnaires. Descriptive and inferential analyses of the survey data were performed. Regression analysis was employed to estimate the Cobb-Douglas production function from the farm data for the measurement of technical efficiency of the cocoa farmers. The estimated elasticity from the production function and prices of input and output were subsequently used to calculate the measures of allotment efficiency of resource use by the farmers. The coefficients for household size, cocoa farm size, quantity of insecticides, quantity of fungicides, and quantity of fertilizer were 0.261, 0.514, 0.273, 0.090 and 0.325, respectively. The quantity of fertilizer applied to the cocoa farm had the highest marginal physical product (133.11 kg/ bag), and that of quantity of fungicides variable (1.39 kg/satchet) was lowest. Household size, farm size, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizer were found to have statistically significant impact on cocoa output. The sum of elasticities of the factors included in the Cobb-Douglas production function was 1.463, which was more than one, implying that the cocoa farmers were operating in the increasing returns to scale. There were incidences of inefficiencies in the management of resources in cocoa cultivation by cocoa farmers since some resources were underutilized and others over-utilized. Farmers are advised to increase the use of household members, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizer while reducing the use of forest land through increased land productivity instead of land expansion to ensure efficient use of resource in cocoa production. However, the environmental impacts of these farm activities should be assessed to ensure sustainable cocoa production.
Ghana Cocoa Industry—An Analysis from the Innovation System Perspective  [PDF]
George Owusu Essegbey, Eugene Ofori-Gyamfi
Technology and Investment (TI) , 2012, DOI: 10.4236/ti.2012.34038
Abstract: This paper discusses Ghana’s cocoa industry from the innovation systems perspective. Cocoa is the major cash crop of Ghana. Its importance is not only in the contribution of about 25% annually of the total foreign exchange earnings but also on account of being the source of livelihoods for many rural farmers and the related actors in the value chain. The critical actors in the innovation system are the farmers, the researchers, the buyers, the transporters, public officers, consumers and the policy makers. By the roles and functions they perform, they impact on the dynamics of the cocoa industry. The paper describes the trends in cocoa production and processing and highlights the key characteristics and implications. It discusses the policy reforms in the cocoa industry and the major drivers of the reforms. The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is one of the biggest public institutions in Ghana and its subsidiaries are major actors in the production process of cocoa for export. The key reforms in the policies governing the industry were the dissolution of the monopoly of Produce Buying Company and the deregulation of cocoa purchasing to allow Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) to enter the business in 1992/93 crop season. There was also the dismantling and re-organization of the Cocoa Services Division into two separate units—the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease Control Unit (CSSVDCU) and the Seed Production Unit (SPU). The processing of cocoa into cocoa butter, cocoa paste and confectioneries is an important component of the value chain especially with the national goal of processing 50% of cocoa before export. The paper discusses policy implementation in the cocoa industry underscoring the successes and failures. It highlights lessons for other primary commodity producing countries especially those whose development contexts are similar to Ghana’s.
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