EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

To diversify or not to diversify, that is the question. Pursuing agricultural development for smallholder farmers in marginal areas of Ghana

Mauricio R. Bellon, Bekele Hundie Kotu, Carlo Azzarri () and Francesco Caracciolo ()

World Development, 2020, vol. 125, issue C

Abstract: Many smallholder farmers in developing countries grow multiple crop species on their farms, maintaining de facto crop diversity. Rarely do agricultural development strategies consider this crop diversity as an entry point for fostering agricultural innovation. This paper presents a case study, from an agricultural research-for-development project in northern Ghana, which examines the relationship between crop diversity and self-consumption of food crops, and cash income from crops sold by smallholder farmers in the target areas. By testing the presence and direction of these relationships, it is possible to assess whether smallholder farmers may benefit more from a diversification or a specialization agricultural development strategy for improving their livelihoods. Based on a household survey of 637 randomly selected households, we calculated crop diversity as well as its contribution to self-consumption (measured as imputed monetary value) and to cash income for each household. With these data we estimated a system of three simultaneous equations. Results show that households maintained high levels of crop diversity: up to eight crops grown, with an-average of 3.2 per household, and with less than 5% having a null or very low level of crop diversity. The value of crop species used for self-consumption was on average 55% higher than that of crop sales. Regression results show that crop diversity is positively associated with self-consumption of food crops, and cash income from crops sold. This finding suggests that increasing crop diversity opens market opportunities for households, while still contributing to self-consumption. Given these findings, crop diversification seems to be more beneficial to these farmers than specialization. For these diversified farmers, or others in similar contexts, interventions that assess and build on their de facto crop diversity are probably more likely to be successful.

Keywords: Crop diversity; Production diversification; Agricultural development; Ghana (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (7) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X19303304
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:125:y:2020:i:c:s0305750x19303304

DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.104682

Access Statistics for this article

World Development is currently edited by O. T. Coomes

More articles in World Development from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Nithya Sathishkumar ().

 
Page updated 2021-04-09
Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:125:y:2020:i:c:s0305750x19303304