Exploring Some Social Dimensions to the Practice and Sustainability of Traditional Conservation Agriculture in Semi-Arid Ghana

Yaw Agyeman Boafo, Godfred Seidu Jasaw, Frederick Dayour


This paper identifies and examines the social factors driving the continuous use of traditional farming techniques hereforth referred to as traditional conservation agriculture by smallholder farmers in two Districts; Tolon in Northern and Wa West in Upper West Regions of Ghana. The influence of the identified social drivers was tested against field-based evidence in purposively selected case study communities in the Tolon and Wa West Districts. The study employs a multi-stage sampling approach to select two categories of farmers (those known to be dominantly employing traditional farming techniques and (ii) those who employ less or no traditional farming techniques in their farms) for this survey. Using a structured questionnaire, a total of 80 farmers were sampled and interviewed. Focus group discussions with the two categories of farmers and farm visits were undertaken to triangulate and validate individual responses. Data from the two study districts were analyzed using descriptive statistical techniques (frequency, percentages and bar charts) in Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS). Results gathered revealed a discernible and significant relationship between the continual practice of traditional conservation agriculture and social factors including gender, age, education, household size and income. Other factors including farm size, labour costs, low capital requirements, declining soil fertility, low yield due to increasing climatic variability and dearth of external institutional support emerged as key drivers influencing the practice and sustainability of traditional conservation agriculture. This study calls for the re-examination of the efforts to transfer formal conservation agriculture practices to local communities by adopting a synergistic approach.

Keywords: Traditional Conservation Agriculture, Northern Ghana, Smallholder Farmers, Gender, Sustainability

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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