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discussion-paper-note-brief

  • Cities and rural transformation: A spatial analysis of rural youth livelihoods in Ghana
    Diao, Xinshen; Fang, Peixun; Magalhaes, Eduardo; Pahl, Stefan; Silver, Jed. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2017
    Abstract | Full Text
    Urbanization has had a major impact on livelihoods in Ghana and throughout Africa as a whole. However, much research on urbanization has focused on effects occurring within cities, while there is insufficient understanding of its effects on rural areas. This paper examines the impact of urbanization—through a typology of districts—on rural livelihoods in Ghana. The country’s districts are classified into seven spatial groups according to the size of the largest city in each district in southern and northern Ghana. The paper does not address rural–urban migration but instead focuses on the livelihoods of rural households. In contrast to the extensive literature focusing on the effects of urbanization on individuals, we assess its impacts on individual rural households as a whole, with a particular focus on youth-headed households. Many rural households have shifted their primary employment from agriculture to nonagriculture, especially in the more urbanized South. In contrast, change in livelihood diversification within rural households with family members’ primary employment in both agriculture and nonagriculture appears much less rapid. Rural youth-headed households are significantly more associated with the transition away from agriculture than households headed by other adults, and such trends are stronger in locations closer to larger cities, particularly in the South. Although the nonagricultural economy is becoming increasingly important for rural households, contrary to expectations, the probit model analysis in this paper shows that agricultural production does not appear to be more intensified—in terms of modern input use—in the more urbanized South, and youth do not show greater agricultural technology adoption than other adults, indicating that the constraints against modern input adoption may be binding for all farmers, including youth and farmers in more urbanized locations. We also find that rural poverty rates are consistently lower among nonagricultural households, and the share of middle-class population is also disproportionally higher among rural nonagricultural households than agricultural households. While the probit analysis confirms the positive relationship between being a nonagricultural household and being nonpoor or becoming middle class after controlling for all other factors, education seems to play the biggest role. As rural youth become more educated and more households shift from agriculture to the rural nonfarm economy, a different range of technologies for agricultural intensification is necessary for agriculture to be attractive for youth. A territorial approach and related policies that integrate secondary cities and small towns with the rural economy deserve more attention such that the diversification of rural livelihoods can become a viable alternative or complement to rural–urban migration for youth.
  • A chicken and maize situation: The poultry feed sector in Ghana
    Andam, Kwaw S.; Johnson, Michael E.; Ragasa, Catherine; Kufoalor, Doreen S.; das Gupta, Sunipa. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2017
    Abstract | Full Text
    This study focuses on the feed milling industry, which serves as the link between maize and poultry, through a field assessment of feed millers in Ghana. The findings establish the importance of feed in the poultry value chain. In addition, they show how the sector has become more integrated with poultry production, especially on larger-scale poultry farms. Because maize accounts for 60 percent of poultry feed, its availability and price have important implications for the profitability and growth potential of feed and, therefore, for poultry production as well. We illustrate these linkages by means of a simple spatial market equilibrium model that ties together the three sectors of the poultry value chain: the primary inputs (maize and soybeans), intermediate inputs (feed), and final products (meat and eggs). This model also enables us to assess the future growth potential of the poultry industry given alternative policy-driven changes in productivity and the production capacities of all three sectors. The results show that for poultry meat, replacing imports with domestic production in the short term would be nearly impossible. For the egg industry, however, there is potential for Ghana to export to neighboring countries by reducing production costs through improvements in yellow maize production.
  • Can better targeting improve the effectiveness of Ghana's Fertilizer Subsidy Program?
    Houssou, Nazaire; Andam, Kwaw S.; Collins, Asante-Addo. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2017
    Abstract | Full Text
    Despite improvements to the implementation regime of Ghana’s fertilizer subsidy program, this paper shows that considerable challenges remain in ensuring that the subsidy is targeted to farmers who need fertilizer the most. Currently, larger-scale and wealthier farmers are the main beneficiaries of subsidized fertilizer even though the stated goal is to target smallholder farmers with fertilizer subsidies. The experience of other African countries suggests that the effectiveness of fertilizer subsidies can improve with effective targeting of resource-poor smallholders. However, targeting smallholder farmers entails significant transaction costs and may even be infeasible in some cases. Faced with such challenges, Ghanaian policy makers must ponder the question of how to improve the targeting of input subsidy programs in the country. Further research is needed to identify more cost-effective approaches for achieving the goal of targeting.
  • Strengthening and harmonizing food policy systems to achieve food security
    Babu, Suresh Chandra; Blom, Sylvia. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2017
    Abstract | Full Text
    Understanding how various entities in a policy system at the national level can contribute to improved use of evidence in policy making. Yet little research has focused in developing countries on how various actors and players in a policy system work together to achieve a set of policy goals. In this paper, we study the factors contributing to the effectiveness of a policy system. The process of policy design, adoption, implementation, and refinement requires an effective policy system as well as a capacitated and supportive institutional structure. External actors both through technical and financial assistance often support policy systems in developing countries. Poor coordination and harmonization of such assistance among various actors and players within the country can often result in undermining the very policy systems they try to strengthen. This is typical in the African agricultural development process. In this paper, we develop a conceptual framework for understanding the policy and institutional architecture of food and agriculture policy system and for improving the coordination and harmonization of the roles of policy actors and players. Applying the framework to Ghana, we map and analyze the organizational contributions of various actors and their functional characteristics. We show how such analysis can aid various policy actors in setting priorities and strategies for increasing their capacity and the effectiveness of their roles. Finally, we draw lessons for strengthening the food policy systems in developing countries through effective coordination among local and external actors.

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policy-note-paper-brief

  • 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.
  • Agricultural mechanization and south-south knowledge exchange: What can Ghanaian and Nigerian policymakers learn from Bangladesh’s experience?
    Aboagye, Patrick Ohene; Abubakar, Abdullahi Garba; Adama, Abdulai Iddrisu; Lawal, Akeem; Musa, Aliyu Abdullahi; Takeshima, Hiroyuki. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    Past agricultural mechanization efforts in Ghana and Nigeria have focused more on the styles of machinery used in western countries or Latin America, where average farm sizes are much larger. While West African countries, particularly Ghana, are still relatively land abundant compared to Bangladesh, seeking the right balance across various models is important for achieving mechanization growth across diverse types of farms. Learning from the experience of agricultural mechanization in Bangladesh offer useful inspirations toward how widespread mechanization growth can happen for smallholders in Ghana and Nigeria.

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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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