Assessment of risks and constraints faced by actors along the sweet potato value chain in Ghana

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May, 2016
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This study was aimed at examining risks and constraints of actors along the sweet potato value chain in Ghana by focusing on Fanteakwa (Southern sector) and West Mamprusi (Northern sector) districts. Data were collected from both primary and secondary sources with primary data forming the core of the study. Selection of 200 producer respondents was done using the simple random sampling technique whilst a combination of accidental sampling and snowballing techniques were used to select 100 traders and 80 processors of sweet potato. Value chain mapping was done to establish the linkages and relationships among actors along the value chain and the produce pathways. Descriptive statistics were used to identify and analyze risks and management strategies employed by value chain actors to mitigate them. The multinomial logit model and Kendall’s coefficient of concordance were used to analyze the choice of risk management strategies and constraints respectively. The study results revealed that, the main actors along the sweet potato value chain are input suppliers, producers, collectors, wholesalers, retailers, processors and consumers. The sweet potato value chain was found to be buyer-driven and governed by collectors. The chain was also found to be weak. in terms of integration and access to market information. Risks along the sweet potato value chain were seen to be identical for particular group of actors. However, there was wide variation in terms of predictability and management strategies employed by actors. It was also realized from the study that, producers are constrained with high cost of chemical inputs, poor road network to farms and high cost of labour which hamper sweet potato production. Low commodity price, poor road network to market centers and long market distance are the most pressing marketing constraints for farmers. Traders also identified high transport cost, inadequate storage facilities and high post-harvest losses as the most critical constraints which are inimical to their sweet potato business. Limited working capital, limited access to credit and high perishability of produce were identified as the most constraining factors at the processor level. The multinomial logit model results revealed that farm size, amount of money saved, income from sweet potato, credit, sweet potato farming experience, output from previous season, education, extension contact and off-farm income significantly influenced the choice of production risk management strategy whilst the choice of price risk management strategy by farmers was significantly influenced by output from previous season, farm size, access to extension services, sweet potato farming experience and amount of money saved. Therefore, policies and strategies aimed at improving savings habit of farmers, education and sensitization through access to extension services, and enhanced access to credit are recommended by the study.
A thesis submitted to The School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Master of Philosophy in Agricultural Economics,