Economics of the impact of alternative rice cropping systems on subsistence farming: Whole-farm analysis in northern Ghana
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Reducing fallow periods with sown leguminous plants (i.e., Callopogonium inticunoides) was found to be a technically feasible, low-input method of improving soil nutrient levels for rice cropping in the Guinea and Sudan savannah regions of northern Ghana. However, farmers and policy makers are particularly interested in understanding whether the new rice production technology can be substituted for the traditional rice cropping systems within a whole-farm plan context and, if so, what are the likely resource allocation and financial implications to farmers. An optimal whole-farm plan that incorporates traditional (bush fallow) cropping of rice, jointly with livestock production was generated using a linear programming model, and then used to assess the economic implications of introducing the improved fallow (i.e., incorporating Callopogonium mucunoides) rice cropping system. The alternative combinations of enterprises investigated needed to be economically viable household farm units, as well as meet household food security requirements of such resource poor farmers. Introducing the new rice production technology into a base whole-farm model (i.e., under traditional rice cropping) increased rice area by 45%, and farm income above variable costs by 34%. In addition, the representative farm raises six beef cows and 72 poultry birds. In sensitivity analyses of alternative model scenarios, farm incomes were higher and more stable for farming systems using the new rice cropping technology than with the traditional whole-farm model. More widespread adoption of the new rice-based production technology will help transform existing traditional subsistence farming systems to more profitable commercial production systems. This transformation will have implications for farm structure (in terms of consolidation of highly fragmented holdings), agricultural resource management, and property rights (such as recognition of individualized rights to cropland, livestock grazing land and agricultural water resources). (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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