Factors influencing the intensification of farming systems and soil‐nutrient management in the rural‐urban continuum of SW Ghana uri icon

abstract

  • Farmers in Ghana use a variety of soil-fertility management practices to optimize the benefits of shifting cultivation and/or to intensify their production. The research question was to analyze the relationship between these practices and the availability of the production factors land, labor, and capital. A farm survey along a gradient through SW Ghana showed that there is only a weak link between the intensification of traditional farming Systems, population pressure, and reduced fallow periods as long as shifting cultivation is possible and common. Even where fallow periods reach a cut-off point, farmers might look for land in remoter areas or invest in off farm activities. Only where market proximity supports the production of high-value crops, investment flows are used to maintain continuous cultivation on favorable production sites, especially those with water access. The results verify the validity of the framework of agricultural-systems dynamics in W Africa, developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the importance to distinguish between population-driven and market-driven situations. Both meet in periurban areas, which make them hot spots for research and development, while support for intensification is likely to fail where markets are far and shifting cultivation still an option.

publication date

  • 2005
  • 2005
  • 2005