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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The European Union–West Africa Economic Partnership Agreement
    Bouët, Antoine; Laborde Debucquet, David; Traoré, Fousseini. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2017
    Abstract | Full Text
    Despite recent modifications, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union (EU) and West African (WA) countries is still being criticized for its potential detrimental effects on WA countries. This paper provides updated evidence on the impact of the EPA on these countries. A dynamic multicountry, multisector computable general equilibrium trade model with modeling of the dual-dual economy and with a consistent tariff aggregator is used to simulate a series of new scenarios that include updated information on the agreement. We also go beyond estimating macrolevel economic effects to analyze the impacts on poverty. The policy simulation results show that the implementation of the EPA between the EU and WA countries would have marginal but positive impacts on Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire and negative impacts on Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo. The impact on poverty indicators in Ghana and Nigeria would be marginal. From the perspective of WA countries, this study supports the view that recent EU concessions are not sufficient and that domestic fiscal reforms are needed in WA countries themselves.
  • Improving the targeting of fertilizer subsidy programs in Africa south of the Sahara: Perspectives from the Ghanaian experience
    Houssou, Nazaire; Asante-Addo, Collins; Andam, Kwaw S.. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2017
    Abstract | Full Text
    This paper assesses whether fertilizer subsidy programs can be better targeted to resource-poor farmers using the case of Ghana and proxy means test approaches. Past fertilizer subsidy programs in the country have not been particularly targeted to the poor, even as targeting poor and smallholder farmers has become key in the program implementation guidelines. As a result, many poor farmers have not benefited from past programs. Our results show that targeting approaches based on proxy means tests that use the correlates of poverty to select beneficiary farmers can potentially improve the poverty outreach and costeffectiveness of Ghana’s fertilizer subsidy programs. Therefore, we propose that the proxy means test approach should be considered for implementing Ghana’s fertilizer subsidy programs, first in a pilot project involving a few communities, and later, if found successful, in a full-scale program.
  • Changing gender roles in agriculture?: Evidence from 20 years of data in Ghana
    Lambrecht, Isabel; Schuster, Monica; Asare, Sarah; Pelleriaux, Laura. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2017
    Abstract | Full Text
    At a time when donors and governments are increasing efforts to mainstream gender in agriculture, it is critical to revisit long-standing wisdom about gender inequalities in agriculture to be able to more efficiently design and evaluate policy interventions. Many stylized facts about women in agriculture have been repeated for decades. Did nothing really change? Is some of this conventional wisdom simply maintained over time, or has it always been inaccurate? We use longitudinal data from Ghana to assess some of the facts and to evaluate whether gender patterns have changed over time. We focus on five main themes: land, cropping patterns, market participation, agricultural inputs, and employment. We add to the literature by showing new facts and evidence from more than 20 years. Results are varied and highlight the difficulty of making general statements about gender in agriculture.
  • Limitations of contract farming as a pro-poor strategy: The case of maize outgrower schemes in upper West Ghana
    Ragasa, Catherine; Lambrecht, Isabel; Kufoalor, Doreen S.. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2017
    Abstract | Full Text
    The focus in this paper is on two relatively large maize-based contract farming (CF) schemes with fixed input packages (Masara and Akate) and a number of smaller and more flexible CF schemes in a remote region in Ghana (Upper West). Results show that these schemes led to improved technology adoption and yield increases. In addition, a subset of maize farmers with high yield improvements due to CF participation had high gross margins. However, on average, yields were not high enough to compensate for higher input requirements and cost of capital. On average, households harvest 29–30 bags (100 kg each), or 2.9–3.0 metric tons, of maize per hectare, and the required repayment for fertilizer, seed, herbicide, and materials provided under the average CF scheme is 21–25 bags (50 kg each) per acre, or 2.6–3.0 tons per hectare, which leaves almost none for home consumption or for sale. Despite higher yields, the costs to produce 1 ton of maize under CF schemes remain high on average—higher than on maize farms without CF schemes, more than twice that of several countries in Africa, and more than seven times higher than that of major maize-exporting countries (the United States, Brazil, and Argentina). Sustainability of these CF schemes will depend on, from the firms’ perspective, minimizing the costs to run and monitor them, and from the farmers’ perspective, developing and promoting much-improved varieties and technologies that may lead to a jump in yields and gross margins to compensate for the high cost of credit.
  • Chinese investment in Ghana’s manufacturing sector
    Tang, Xiaoyang. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2017
    Abstract | Full Text
    This paper uses Ghana as a case study to illustrate the extent to which Chinese manufacturing firms are driving manufacturing in an African country. Through a combination of desktop and field research, the author finds that the total number of Chinese manufacturing investments in Ghana indeed increased during past decade, but quite a few projects have been abandoned or not implemented because of the unfavorable investment environment. Small and large manufacturing projects can be found in different sectors, such as plastics, steel, pharmaceuticals, and others. All of the manufacturing investments target local or regional markets, either taking advantage of local raw materials or seeing opportunities in a market with little competition. Transitioning from trading to manufacturing investment and clustering are identified as the main patterns by which Chinese investors establish themselves in Ghana. Chinese firms source simple raw materials from local suppliers but import industrial supplies from abroad. Learning from Chinese business models, a few local businessmen have started their own manufacturing projects, mostly in the plastics recycling sector, but a lack of capital appears to keep some local players from moving up the value chain. Ghana’s weak economy itself is limiting technology transfer and local linkages between Chinese firms and Ghanaians.
  • Strong democracy, weak state: The political economy of Ghana’s stalled structural transformation
    Resnick, Danielle. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    What are the political and institutional prerequisites for pursuing policies that contribute to structural transformation? This paper addresses this question by focusing on Ghana, which has achieved sustained economic growth in recent decades and is broadly lauded for its environment of political pluralism, respect for human rights, free and fair elections, and vocal civil society. Yet, despite these virtues, Ghana remains unable to achieve substantial structural transformation as identified as changes in economic productivity driven by value-added within sectors and shifts in the allocation of labor between sectors. This paper argues that Ghana is strongly democratic but plagued by weak state capacity, and these politico-institutional characteristics have shaped the economic policies pursued, including in the agricultural sector, and the resultant development trajectory. Specifically, three political economy factors have undermined Ghana’s ability to achieve substantive structural transformation since then. First, democracy has enabled a broader range of interest groups to permeate policymaking decisions, often resulting in policy backtracking and volatility as well as fiscal deficits around elections that, among other things, stifle credit access for domestic business through high interest rates. Secondly, public sector reforms were not pursued with the same vigor as macroeconomic reforms, meaning that the state has lacked the capacity typically necessary to identify winning industries or to actively facilitate the transition to higher value-added sectors. Thirdly, successive governments, regardless of party, have failed to actively invest in building strong, productive relationships with the private sector, which is a historical legacy of the strong distrust and alienation of the private sector that characterized previous government administrations.
  • Do development projects crowd out private-sector activities? A survival analysis of contract farming participation in northern Ghana
    Lambrecht, Isabel; Ragasa, Catherine. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    Contract farming (CF) is attractive as a possible private-sector-led strategy for improving smallholder farmers’ welfare. Yet many CF schemes suffer from high turnover of participating farmers and struggle to survive. So far, the dynamics of CF participation have remained largely unexplored. We employ duration analysis to examine factors affecting entry into and exit from different maize CF schemes in northern Ghana, focusing specifically on the impact of development projects on CF entry and exit. We find that agricultural development projects reduce the likelihood of scheme entry and increase the likelihood of exit. Our findings confirm concerns that, if interventions are not planned in accordance with relevant private-sector actors, private-sector initiatives can be hindered by competing development projects.
  • Agricultural inputs policy under macroeconomic uncertainty: Applying the kaleidoscope model to Ghana’s Fertilizer Subsidy Programme (2008–2015)
    Resnick, Danielle; Mather, David. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    Ghana’s Fertilizer Subsidy Programme (GFSP) was initiated in 2008 in response to the global food and fuel price crisis. Although initially intended to be a temporary measure that became increasingly expensive as Ghana’s macroeconomy deteriorated, farmers, civil society organizations, and politicians began to expect the subsidy on an annual basis. This paper applies the kaleidoscope model for agricultur and food security policy change to the case of GFSP. In doing so, it uses a variety of analytical tools to highlight how many of the weak outcomes of GFSP can be attributed to the nature of the broader policy process that has surrounded GFSP as well as the underlying political and institutional context in which policy making occurs in Ghana. Based on semi-structured interviews conducted with knowledgeable stakeholders spanning the government, donor, civil society, and research communities, the paper identifies the bottlenecks that need to be addressed if the program is to be more effective in the future.
  • “As a husband I will love, lead, and provide:” Gendered access to land in Ghana
    Lambrecht, Isabel. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    Improving women’s access to land is high on the agricultural policy agenda of both governmental and non-governmental agencies. Yet, the determinants and rationale of gendered access to land are not well understood. This paper argues that gender relations are more than the outcomes of negotiations within households. It explains the importance of social norms, perceptions, and formal and informal rules shaping access to land for male and female farmers at four levels: (1) the household/family, (2) the community, (3) the state, and (4) the market. The framework is applied to Ghana. Norms on household and family organization and on men’s and women’s responsibilities and capabilities play a key role in gendered allocation of resources. However, these norms and perceptions are dynamic and evolve jointly with the development of markets and changes in values of inputs such as labor and land. Theoretical models that represent the gendered distribution of assets as the result of intrahousehold bargaining should be revised, and extrahousehold factors should be included. From a policy perspective, laws that ensure gender equality in terms of inheritance and a more gender-equitable distribution of property upon divorce can play a key role in improving women’s property rights. Yet, their impact may be limited where customary rights dominate and social norms and rules continue to discriminate according to gender.
  • Boserupian pressure and agricultural mechanization in modern Ghana
    Cossar, Frances. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    The adoption of machinery in agricultural production in Africa south of the Sahara has been far behind the level of mechanization found in Asia and Latin America. However, recent survey data have revealed high levels of machinery use in localized areas of cereal production in northern Ghana. A survey conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute, in partnership with the Savannah Agriculture Research Institute, found that in some areas more than 80 percent of farmers were using machinery for at least one operation. This paper considers the theoretical drivers of agricultural intensification, as outlined by Boserup, Pingali, and Binswanger, and the extent to which they are able to explain the spatial variation in machinery use found in northern Ghana. Population pressure, market access, and agroecological conditions are considered key drivers that cause farmers to find ways to increase productivity and adopt new technologies. Combining survey data with geospatial datasets, the empirical analysis finds that population growth and travel time to the local urban center explain a significant and large proportion of the variation in machinery use by farmers.
  • Limits to green revolution in rice in Africa: The case of Ghana
    Ragasa, Catherine; Chapoto, Anthony. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    This paper examines closely the constraints in productivity improvements and evaluates available rice technologies looking at the heterogeneity of irrigated and rainfed ecologies in 10 regions in Ghana. Employing yield response models, profitability analysis, and adoption models, results show various practices contribute to yield improvements in irrigated and rainfed systems including chemical fertilizer use, use of certified seed of improved varieties, transplanting, bunding, leveling, use of a sawah system, seed priming, and row planting. Evidence also shows that extension services on rice production are limited and that intensifying extension services can contribute to increases in rice yield.
  • Ghana’s macroeconomic crisis: Causes, consequences, and policy responses
    Younger, Stephen D.. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    Ghana is in the midst of a severe but not unprecedented macroeconomic crisis. This paper helps to evaluate the government’s policy options by (1) explaining the crisis’ causes, and (2) comparing it to previous macroeconomic crises and the policies that corrected them. Two large shocks are to blame for the crisis: an increase in the fiscal deficit of about 6 percent of GDP and a reduction in hydroelectric production that has not been replaced with thermal generation. This latter is more difficult to quantify, but may be as large as 4 percent of GDP. While large, Ghana has recovered from similar shocks in the past, and with luck, should be able to do so now. But this will require reversal of the large increases in the public sector wage bill that drove much of the fiscal shock.
  • Perceived land tenure security and rural transformation: Empirical evidence from Ghana
    Ghebru, Hosaena; Khan, Huma; Lambrecht, Isabel. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    Tenure security is believed to be critical in spurring agricultural investment and productivity. Yet what improves or impedes tenure security is still poorly understood. Using household- and plot-level data from Ghana, this study analyzes the main factors associated with farmers’ perceived tenure security. Individually, farmers perceive greater tenure security on plots acquired via purchase or inheritance than on land allocated by traditional authorities. Collectively, however, perceived tenure security lessens in communities with more active land markets and economic vibrancy. Migrant households and women in polygamous households feel less secure about their tenure, while farmers with political connections are more confident about their tenure security.
  • Farm transition and indigenous growth: The rise to medium- and large-scale farming in Ghana
    Houssou, Nazaire; Chapoto, Anthony; Asante-Addo, Collins. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    This paper characterizes the transition from small-scale farming and the drivers of farm size growth among medium- and large-scale farmers in Ghana. The research was designed to better understand the dynamics of change in Ghana’s farm structure and contribute to the debate on whether Africa should pursue a smallholder-based or large-scale oriented agricultural development strategy. The results suggest a rising number of medium-scale farmers and a declining number of smallholder farmers in the country, a pattern that is consistent with a changing farm structure in the country’s agricultural sector. More important, findings show that the rise to medium- and large-scale farming is significantly associated with successful transition of small-scale farmers rather than entry of medium or large farms into agriculture, reflecting small-scale farmers successfully breaking through the barriers of subsistence agriculture into more commercialized production systems. The findings in this paper also suggest that some of the factors thought to be important for change in farm structure are no obstacle to farm size growth, even though they may foster transition. Notably, the results here diverge from the patterns observed in Zambia and Kenya, which indicate that the emergent farmers came mostly from the urban elite. Unfortunately, past and current policy discussions have not featured these emergent farmers sufficiently in the quest to transform agriculture in Ghana. Government should capitalize on these emergent farmers who have a demonstrated ability to graduate productively as it strives to address challenges in the smallholder sector.
  • Returns to agricultural public spending in Ghana: Cocoa versus noncocoa subsector
    Benin, Samuel. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    Using public expenditure and agricultural production data on Ghana from 1970 to 2012, this paper assesses the returns to public spending in the agricultural sector, taking into consideration expenditures on agriculture as a whole and then separately for expenditures in the cocoa versus the noncocoa subsectors. Production functions for the agricultural sector as a whole are estimated first, and then separately for the two subsectors, to obtain elasticities of land productivity with respect to total and sectorial agricultural expenditure. Different regression methods and related diagnostic tests are used to address potential endogeneity of agricultural expenditure, cross-subsector dependence of the production function error terms, and within-subsector serial correlation of the error terms. The estimated elasticities are then used to calculate the rate of return (ROR) to expenditures in the sector as a whole and within the two subsectors. The elasticities are estimated at 0.43 for total agricultural expenditure; 0.13 for aggregate expenditure in the noncocoa subsector; and 0.19–0.53 for expenditure in the cocoa sector, depending on aggregation or disaggregation of expenditure on the Ghana Cocoa Board and other industry costs. The ROR is estimated at 141–190 percent for total agricultural expenditure, 124 percent for expenditure in the noncocoa subsector, and 11–39 percent for expenditure in the cocoa subsector. The relatively higher ROR in the noncocoa subsector is mostly due to a much lower expenditure-to-productivity ratio. Implications are discussed for raising overall productivity of expenditure in the sector, as well as for further studies, such as obtaining actual time-series data on some of the production factors in the two subsectors and obtaining information on the quality of sectorial expenditures to model different time-lag effects of spending in the different subsectors.
  • Changes in Ghanaian farming systems: Stagnation or a quiet transformation?
    Houssou, Nazaire; Johnson, Michael E.; Kolavalli, Shashidhara; Asante-Addo, Collins. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2016
    Abstract | Full Text
    This research was designed to understand better the patterns of agricultural intensification and transformation occurring in Africa South of the Sahara using the Ghanaian case. The paper examines changes in farming systems and the role of various endogenous and exogenous factors in driving the conversion of arable lands to agricultural uses in four villages within two agroecologically distinct zones of Ghana: the Guinea Savannah and Transition zones. Using essentially historical narratives and land-cover maps supplemented with quantitative data at regional levels, the research shows that farming has intensified in the villages, while farmers have increased their farm size in response to factors such as population growth, market access, and changing rural lifestyle. The overall trend suggests a gradual move toward intensification through increasing use of labor-saving technologies rather than land-saving inputs—a pattern that contrasts with Asia’s path to its Green Revolution. The findings in this paper provide evidence of the dynamism occurring in African farming systems; hence, they point toward a departure from stagnation narratives that have come to prevail in the debate on agricultural transformation and intensification in Africa South of the Sahara. We conclude that it is essential for future research to expand the scope of this work, while policies should focus on lessons that can be learned from these historical processes of genuine change.

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