The marketing of agricultural produce and planning for development in Keta district - Ghana

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The rural sector is important to the development of Ghana since it is this area which provides food, generate employment and contribute significantly to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In spite of the recognized importance of rural areas to the national economy, the local economies are underdeveloped and the highest levels of poverty predominate. The producers of food and vegetable crops in Keta district depend solely on the sale of these crops as their source of income. Additionally, the district is faced with a peculiar situation of severe pressure on land due to the physical characteristics. Water bodies in the district occupy approximately 30 percent of the surface area, and this along with frequent inundation from the sea contributes to the existing pressure on land resources. The study aims to identify problems in the marketing system which effectively militate against the producer and suggest strategies which can alleviate the situation. To achieve this, surveys were carried out with farmers and the market participants in the district to determine their output levels, the prices they receive, and the percentage of the profits which they obtain at the end if the distribution chain. Specific crops selected for the study were shallot, pepper, maize, cassava and cowpea. Results from the study indicated the weak or non-existent linkages between market centres in the district, the low bargaining power of producers against the traders, inadequate physical facilities and low accessibility of food-crop producers to high order market centres which result in low income to the producers. Therefore, markets as a centre for development do not perform their role to stimulate and expand production and consequently development, thus poverty prevails. The study recommend measures which can be used to improve the efficiency of the market system such as organization of market days for major markets, promotion of marketing associations among others to increase the bargaining power, improving intra- district linkage so that northern producers can have access to high order market centres and the provision of storage and improved processing facilities to add value to the products. The proposals are made within the framework of the decentralized administrative system where the District Assembly plays a pivotal role in the formulation and implementation of development programmes in the district.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1996