The Contributions of International Development partners to rural poverty reduction in Ghana: a case study of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (ifad) and small-holder farming in the Sekyere-West District, Ashanti Region

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Although available statistics in recent years reveal a decline in poverty in Ghana, many people still live below the poverty line. Rural small-holder food crops farmers are the most vulnerable groups affected by poverty. They have limited access to productive assets, most especially micro-credit. Many international development organisations have emerged to help alleviate some of the problems encountered by the rural poor. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) as an international development partner in Ghana, has been working with small-holder farmers in the Sekyere West District since 2000 with the aim of improving rural income, reducing vulnerability, ensuring rural household food security and generally improving the well-being of the rural poor. This thesis examines the effects of IFAD’s project on food crops production, employment as well as income levels and the general welfare of small-holder farmers in the District. A random sample size of 240 IFAD assisted farmers in the District was used to undertake the study. Cross-sectional data covering the farming years (2000 – 2004) were elicited from the farmers through structured interviews and focus group discussions. Information such as sources of financing, farm input, farm size, crop yields and income levels were sought from the farmers. The study revealed that IFAD, as enshrined in its policy statement of ensuring gender equity in the distribution of its resources/assistance (IFAD, 2000), equal number of male as that of female small-holder farmers (approximately 50-50 respectively) were selected in the District to participate in the project. The study also showed that majority of the farmers interviewed depended on farm income as their main source of subsistence. Micro-credit provision was particularly seen as the most important factor influencing food crops production in the District. The study also showed that the effective training and monitoring activities of IFAD field staff ensured that resources given out to the farmers were not misappropriated. The study showed that the project registered a high food crops production rate as well as a high loan repayment rate of the farmers. Furthermore, the study revealed that the average income of beneficiary farmers increased considerably over the project period due to the good marketing strategy introduced by the project. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended that the government should adopt and replicate the IFAD intervention scheme in all the other districts in Ghana since the project could have a multiplier effect on the livelihood of the rural poor especially the small-holder farmers.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Geography and Rural Development Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts