Economic analysis of cocoyam production in Ghana

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May, 2016
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Cocoyam is an important food security crop in Ghana because it stores better than the other root and tuber crops; however its production remains low. This study examines the economics of cocoyam production in Ghana. Using a multi-stage sampling technique, 150 cocoyam producers were drawn from Asante-Akyem South, Asunafo North and Fanteakwa districts in Ghana. Primary data, collected through questionnaire administration, was used to fit a Cobb-Douglas production function by employing the Stochastic Frontier Approach (SFA). Krippendorff’s Alpha Reliability Test was employed to examine constraints faced in cocoyam production. Results from the study showed that cocoyam was predominantly cultivated as an intercrop (84%) with plantain, cocoa, and cassava. However, about 20% of producers in Fanteakwa and Asunafo North districts planted cocoyam as pure stand (sole cropping). Cocoyam was cultivated equally for sale and household consumption with corms being the main economic part even though producers also harvested cocoyam leaves for sale. The average land area under cocoyam cultivation was 0.55 hectares, corm yield was estimated at 6.5mt/ha and cocoyam leaves yield was about 0.59mt/ha. Cocoyam yield under mono-cropping system was found to be significantly higher than yield under intercropping system. Empirical results showed that labour, land area cultivated, quantity of planting materials (corm setts) planted and amount invested in other farm inputs positively influenced cocoyam production. Furthermore, the type of cropping system practised, extension contact, education, farming experience and household size had significant positive effect on corm production. However, the quantity of cocoyam leaves harvested from the crop, herbicide application and continuous cultivation on the same piece of land had significant negative effect on corm production. Labour constituted the biggest cost component for cocoyam production. Cocoyam production returned an average gross margin of GH¢ 5164 and net farm profit of GH¢ 4824 per hectare representing 24% return on investment. This suggests that the enterprise may be relatively profitable than similar farm investments, however not so profitable compared to the present cost of capital (25%) in Ghana. Producers in Fanteakwa had comparative advantage over those in Asunafo North and Asante Akyem South with relatively higher returns to land as well as labour and management. Cultivating cocoyam as a sole crop was found to be more profitable than as an intercrop. With a Krippendorff Alpha statistic of 0.54, the study showed a moderate level of concordance among cocoyam producers with respect to production, marketing and socio-economic constraints facing them. Producers ranked socio-economic constraints as the most significant set of constraints hampering cocoyam production followed by marketing constraints and production constraints respectively. Among other things, the study recommended the adoption of mono-cropping system to improve cocoyam production in Ghana; which is possible only if producers have improved access to farmlands. In this regard, re-introduction of the regulated rotational strategy for using secondary forest lands for food crop production under the Modified Taungya System (MTS) is recommended to boost cocoyam production in the country. The study further recommended the formation of policies directed at improving producers’ access to capital and other productive inputs, more participation from male farmers and an enhanced extension delivery system so as to increase cocoyam production in Ghana. Finally, the study recommended that cocoyam producers especially in Asante Akyem South and Asunafo North intensify usage of market inputs so as to maximize yield, enhance their competitiveness and increase farm profit.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Philosophy in Agricultural Economics.