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discussion-paper-note-brief

  • Understanding the measurement of women’s autonomy: Illustrations from Bangladesh and Ghana
    Seymour, Gregory; Peterman, Amber. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2017
    Abstract | Full Text
    The past decade has seen increased attention to measuring women’s empowerment and autonomy, motivated by the goal of identifying promising programs and policies for reducing gender inequalities. One of the most common quantitative indicators of women’s empowerment is the self-reported ability to participate in household decision making over important matters. Despite the widespread use of such indicators in the literature, uncertainty exists over how to construct valid indicators of empowerment based on questions about decision making. In particular, it is unclear how indicative joint decision making is of individual decision-making power and to what extent joint decision making reflects a consistent understanding of decision-making power within households. We utilize data from women and men in Bangladesh and Ghana to investigate whether respondents who report sole decision making in a particular domain tend to experience stronger or weaker feelings of autonomous motivation—measured using a Relative Autonomy Index—than those who report joint decision making. We find systematic differences between men and women in the association between feelings of autonomous motivation and decisionmaking outcomes. In addition, results vary by the domain of decision making and by whether or not there is a shared understanding of decision-making power within households. These findings suggest that in order to accurately measure empowerment, further innovation in the specificity as well as the sensitivity of indicators is needed.
  • Effects of tractor ownership on agricultural returns-to-scale in household maize production: Evidence from Ghana
    Takeshima, Hiroyuki; Houssou, Nazaire; Diao, Xinshen. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2017
    Abstract | Full Text
    The rise in returns-to-scale (RTS) has often been an integral part of the agricultural transformation process around the world. Although tractor ownership is often associated with greater RTS in agriculture, whether tractor ownership actually causes such increase in RTS has not been formally tested in the literature. We provide evidence that partly bridges this knowledge gap, using unique survey data of tractor-owning farm households in Ghana. We find that owning tractors significantly increases RTS in maize production from the households’ largest monocropped plot. Specifically, owning tractors raises RTS for farmers because they can till greater areas, even though returns from tilling more land remain relatively unaffected. The increase in RTS holds regardless of the values of tractors owned. These sets of evidence are obtained by addressing jointly the multiple sources of endogeneity of tractor ownership, tractor values, tillage intensity, and other inputs used, through combinations of inverse-probability weighing method, generalized method of moments method, and the mediation effects model with multiple mediators. The adoptions of mechanical technologies (tractors) and their ownerships are causing, rather than simply responding to, the rise in RTS in Ghanaian maize production.
  • What happens after technology adoption? Gendered aspects of small-scale irrigation technologies in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania
    Theis, Sophie; Lefore, Nicole; Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela; Bryan, Elizabeth. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2017
    Abstract | Full Text
    This paper complements the gender and technology adoption literature by shifting attention to what happens after adoption of a technology. Understanding the expected benefits and costs of adoption from the perspective of women users can help explain the technology adoption rates that are observed and why technology adoption is often not sustained in the longer term. Drawing on qualitative data from Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania, this paper develops a framework for examining the intrahousehold distribution of benefits from technology adoption, focusing on small-scale irrigation technologies. The framework contributes to the conceptual and empirical exploration of jointness in control over technology by men and women. It does this by identifying a series of decisions following technology adoption, and how these decisions affect how the technology is used, by whom, to whose benefit, and with what costs.
  • The effects of a CAADP-compliant budget on poverty and inequality in Ghana
    Younger, Stephen D.; Benin, Samuel. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2017
    Abstract | Full Text
    Ghana has accepted the CAADP commitment to dedicate 10 percent of government spending to the agricultural sector. In a 2014 paper, Benin argues that Ghana falls short of that goal, and in a 2016 paper, Younger shows that despite the current fiscal crisis, there is fiscal space to meet the commitment. Benin estimates the rates of return to increased public expenditure on agriculture, finding that they are quite high, especially if the investments are made in the noncocoa sector. This paper uses Benin’s estimates to examine the poverty and inequality consequences of increasing public expenditure on agriculture. Key conclusions are that public expenditure on agriculture is surprisingly progressive, especially if spent in the grains subsector. This progressivity, combined with the high rate of return, means that public investment in agriculture may actually be more efficient at reducing poverty than LEAP, Ghana’s targeted conditional cash transfer program.

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policy-note-paper-brief

  • A spatial analysis of youth livelihoods and rural transformation in Ghana
    Diao, Xinshen; Silver, Jed. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2017
    Abstract | Full Text
    Ghana’s population is becoming younger and increasingly urbanized – by 2010, over half the population lived in urban settlements of more than 5,000 people – raising concerns among policy makers regarding the location and types of jobs required to employ the youth. The slow creation of for-mal urban jobs has particularly strong implications for young people entering the labor force: they are more educated than the older generation, with greater aspirations for non-farm employment and urban lifestyles (Anyidoho, Leavy, and Asenso-Okyere 2012). Without rapid industrialization to create more formal manufacturing and other non-agricultural jobs, youth in Ghana who leave the agricultural sector are increasingly likely to resort to informal services in both rural and urban areas. While much youth-related research has focused on changes in youth employment and livelihoods through rural-urban migration, a re-cent IFPRI Discussion Paper focuses on youth in the rural non-farm economy (Diao et al. 2017).
  • Agricultural intensification, technology adoption, and institutions in Ghana
    Houssou, Nazaire; Kolavalli, Shashidhara; Silver, Jed. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    Agricultural intensification has only taken off to a very limited extent in Ghana. Adoption of land productivity-enhancing technology is low, even in areas with proximity to urban markets. Rather, farmers have increasingly been adopting labor-saving technologies such as herbicides and mechanization, for which vibrant private supply channels are emerging. Further efforts to strengthen the private mechanization supply chain would help meet the rising demand for tractor services. Furthermore, mechanization could also help free up agricultural labor to perform other more labor intensive tasks.
  • Meeting Ghanaian farmers' demand for a full range of mechanization services
    Houssou, Nazaire; Aboagye, Patrick Ohene; Kolavalli, Shashidhara. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    Rising labor costs associated with increased rural-to-urban migration have compelled Ghanaian farmers to increase the use of tractors and other agricultural machines to conduct farming operations in the country (Diao et al. 2014). The adoption of these mechanical technologies is consistent with the tendency among Ghanaian farmers to save labor, rather than embrace practices that create additional labor needs (Houssou et al. 2016). Tractor use is concentrated on plowing and other tillage operations primarily (Houssou et al. 2013), but the supply of tractor services is inadequate. Earlier research estimated that plowing services represent 90 percent of the revenues of tractor service providers (Houssou et al. 2013). Both public and private supply of plowing services may have contributed to an expan-sion of the area under cultivation in Ghana, thereby exacerbat-ing labor bottlenecks in post-tillage field operations for many farmers.
  • Food processing in Ghana: Trends, constraints, and opportunities
    Andam, Kwaw; Silver, Jed. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    As a rapidly-urbanizing, lower middle-income country, Ghana is experiencing diet changes that are spurring a growing demand for processed foods. Recent surveys show significant presence of processed goods in retail shops, including milled rice, processed fruits and vegetables, and frozen meats, but only about a fifth of these products are processed locally. The main reason processing has failed to take off is not lack of policy: Ghana has always been interested in processing of tomatoes, has established a presidential initiative for processing cassava, and aims to process half of the cocoa produced locally. Rather, the main constraint to a vibrant processing sector is the low production and productivity, high cost, and poor quality of local raw materials. This brief describes these key constraints for growing a thriving domestic food processing sector and high-lights some opportunities for growth.

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working-paper

  • Flood recession agriculture for food security in Northern Ghana: Literature review on extent, challenges, and opportunities
    Sidibe, Yoro; Williams, Timothy O.; Kolavalli, Shashidhara. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    This review describes a range of physical and socio-economic scientific methods and field activities that will be implemented in a proposed research project to develop a better understanding of the extent and patterns of flooding and the potential of flood-recession agriculture. These activities will allow the hydrological characteristics of the river to be matched to crop-livestock systems of flood recession agriculture that are well suited to the study communities and their organizational and institutional frameworks in order to support sustainable growth of such systems. This detailed study will provide recommendations on the technical, economic, institutional and policy measures needed to achieve sustainable intensification of flood recession agriculture in northern Ghana, while complementing efforts undertaken to promote other types of water management systems. Options for out-scaling of flood recession agriculture beyond the study area to other suitable areas will also be explored. The expectation is that the proposed project will improve food security by enhancing knowledge on effective flood recession practices, enhance rural incomes through expanded dry-season farming with new opportunities for rural employment, and improve adaptation to climate change by building more resilient farming communities. To achieve these expected outcomes, proactive policies that clearly identify flood recession agriculture as an alternative farming practice and provide institutional mandates to irrigation support services to promote it through training, demonstration, and outreach programs will be equally valuable.
  • Development of agricultural mechanization in Ghana: Network, actors, and institutions
    Cossar, Frances; Houssou, Nazaire; Asante-Addo, Collins. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    This paper characterizes the network of tractor service providers in Ghana. Using the case of Ejura-Sekye-dumase district, this research examines the implications of the adoption of mechanical technology in agriculture for farmers and institutions based on perspectives that go beyond the suppliers and users of mechanization ser-vices alone. The results suggest that, in addition to rising population density and favorable access to local and regional markets, the current pattern of use of tractors by farmers in Ejura district emerged from favorable histori-cal and institutional factors. The current arrangement involving a network of private tractor owners providing trac-tor hire services to a broad set of farmers draws upon the legacy of an earlier institutional intervention and is sus-tained organizationally through kinship and other existing social relationships within and outside the district. More-over, the expansion of tractor use has created a set of new roles and relationships within the network. Participa-tion in the network is affected by various factors, including farmer’s access to capital and knowledge, experience, and contacts. This privately operated network is significantly more efficient and provides small-scale farmers with considerably better access to plowing service than did previous government-managed systems. Further develop-ment of the tractor service sector is likely to improve the quality of mechanization offered to smallholder farmers, enhance bargaining power for farmers seeking such services, and reduce structural weaknesses within the net-work.
  • Big tractors, but small farms: Tractor hiring services as a farmer-owner’s response to an under-developed agricultural machinery market
    Houssou, Nazaire; Asante-Addo, Collins; Diao, Xinshen; Kolavalli, Shashidhara. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2015
    Abstract | Full Text
    The debate about agricultural mechanization in Africa south of the Sahara (SSA) has largely ignored the role of the capital service market in spreading the use of mechanical technologies. Yet, custom machinery hiring ser-vices have been essential for the widespread use and ownership of tractors and other agricultural machines in many countries where small farms are dominant. Using survey data collected in 2013, this paper suggests that tractor services can play a key role in the adoption of tractor use among Ghanaian farming households. Medium and large-scale farmers own tractors in the survey districts, while most small-scale farmers access tractors through hire services. Farmers expand their farm size when they acquire a tractor, but not to such an extent as to fully utilize the capacity of the machine. They engage in hiring-out tractor services to increase the scale of tractor use and make profits. Medium-scale farmers offer the bulk of tractor services. These farmers will be key for spreading agricultural mechanization in Ghana.
  • Is Ghana making progress in agro-processing? Evidence from an inventory of processed food products in retail shops in Accra
    Andam, Kwaw; Al-Hassan, Ramatu M.; Asante, Seth Boamah; Diao, Xinshen. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2015
    Abstract | Full Text
    One likely outcome of Ghana’s rising household incomes and increasing urbanization is a higher demand for processed foods. The question remains whether this expected higher demand will generate opportunities for growth in domestic agro-processing. This study assesses the performance of the agro-processing sector in Ghana through an inventory of processed and packaged food items in retail shops around Accra. The inventory shows: 1. The agro-processing subsector offers opportunities for domestic firms, with Ghanaian brands accounting for 27 percent of the items identified. 2. In addition to forming nearly a third of products identified, locally-processed products have penetrated diverse market segments with sales across a variety of retail outlets. 3. Regional imports of processed and packaged food items are low. Excluding South African brands, which accounted for 7.8 percent of imports, only 4.3 percent of the items were imported from other African countries. 4. Domestic agro-processors provided the highest share of products among processed starches and cereals, while imports dominate processed dairy, fruits, vegetables, and meat products.

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