A study of farm input supply in the West Gonja District: implications for smallholder development

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The population of the West Gonja District is increasing at an annual rate of 4.2 percent while agricultural productivity is rather very low. To be able to feed the present and. the future population, agricultural production, especially food crops production must increase at an applicable rater. The farmers who will increase agricultural production are mainly smallholders (over 80 percent) who continue to employ traditional technology in farming. This prompted the present study which seeks to investigate the circumstances of the smallholders in relation to the availability and use of improved farm inputs especially fertilizers which increase agricultural productivity, several folds, and all other condition being suitable. Literature is cited on some theories and practice of input supplies. Examples of farm input supplies as practiced both in Ghana and elsewhere are also cited. A conceptual framework is also advanced to give some support to the examples of experience cited and to throw some light on the various factors affecting inputs supplies. The need for an effective supply system for agricultural inputs is also highlighted. Data for the study were collected from both secondary and primary sources. The secondary sources included mainly library research. Primary data were collected by administering interviews schedules inn a Smallholder Household Survey in four settlements: Damongo, Buipe, Daboya and Mpaha officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Parastatals as well as private companies involved in farm input supply were also interviewed The analysis of data gathered is based on the socioeconomic characteristics of smallholder farmers which are likely to influence their adoption of improved technology. Factors such as transportation and warehousing and other social and technical infrastructure which are likely to affect input distribution, as well as government agricultural policies are also analysed and their implication noted Major findings from the analysis and their implications for smallholder development are also given. Based on the major findings and implications, recommendations are offered for the development of smallholder farming in particular and agriculture as a whole in the West Gonja District and Ghana in general Conclusions are drawn from these and the need for future research into the farm input supply system echoed.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1990