Do development projects crowd-out private sector activities? Evidence from contract farming participation in Northern Ghana
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Contract farming (CF) is attractive as a possible private sector-led strategy for improving market coordination and smallholder farmers' welfare. At the same time, governmental and non-governmental development projects aimed at improving farmers' welfare continue to be organized. It is not uncommon for CF activities and development projects to take place in the same communities. Yet so far there is no evidence on how development projects affect CF activities. We examine factors affecting entry in and exit from different maize CF schemes in Northern Ghana, and focus specifically on the role of development projects. We find that the presence of agricultural development projects in the community is associated with lower scheme entry, but this not the case for non-agricultural projects. CF exit is more strongly associated with maize projects, but not significantly with non maize or non-agricultural projects. Thus, our findings do not support concerns of a general moral hazard problem arising from the presence of any development project, but indicate possible negative associations of more closely related agricultural or maize projects with maize CF participation.
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