Cropping Practices and Labor Requirements in Field Operations for Major Crops in Ghana
The Ghana Strategy Support Program has released a new working paper that examines the labor requirements associated with different cropping systems in Ghana in order to guide the prioritization of investments in mechanization in the country.
In response to apparent unavailability and cost of labor, farmers are increasingly demanding mechanical traction for land preparation in Ghana. The benefits of mechanizing land preparation depend on both the system and the type of crop cultivated. Mechanization of land preparation for cassava in the vegetable belt, for instance, is more labor saving and cost effective than m Mechanization of land preparation for cassava in cereals belt. Within systems, there is also variation across crops. Where mechanization is not feasible for land preparation or not yet adopted for other field operations such as weeding, an alternative and common substitution for labor in crop production is herbicides. Herbicides are used to clear land for planting as well as to control weeds in standing crops. We found that where herbicide was used, its application reduced labor requirements for land preparation significantly. Selective herbicides were used to control weeds in all the crops examined and in all the belts except the vegetable belt. They also reduced labor use for weeding drastically.
The working paper is available here as a PDF.