A strategy proposal for generating non-agricultural activities for smallholders in the Ahanta West District of Ghana

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There is a great disparity between land availability and the number of small-scale farmers in Ahanta West District. This has resulted in the high pressure on the land, and consequent out –migration of the economically active population due to the lack of employment opportunities. It was found out that the rural people under-employed and hence their potential wasted. Their level of technology is very low, as hoes and cutlasses are still the main implement being used but the farmers and the level of fertilizers, pesticides and manure is insignificant. This state of affairs implies that agriculture work is tedious and strenuous, and productivity low. The forward and backward linkages to the agricultural sector were also found to be very weak. This has contribute on one hand, to the high price and irregularities of agricultural inputs supply, and on the other hand, to the low price of agricultural produce due to the lack of market outlets, and the exploitation of the farmers by middlemen.. The overall result is that peasant farmers are not able to generate enough income to meet their basic needs and their living standard is declining. The study made an attempt to identify the appropriate measures to address the aforementioned problems and constraints. Four programmes have been identified and proposed for implementation. These programmes include the introduction of animal traction the promotion of agro-processing activities, the expansion of alternative crops/land use such as woodlotting and alley cropping and the improvement of marketing outlets and storage facilities. The implementation of these programmes, however, requires the co-ordinated efforts of institutions and organization at all level in the district as well as the community beneficiaries, to be carried out successfully. If these programmes are effectively implemented, they are expected to not only raise agricultural productivity but also generate non-agricultural occupations, to mobilize the surplus manpower in the district. Improved peasant farming and rational employment of the rural labour force are expected to increase production and eventually improve the living condition of the peasant farmers, and thus contribute to the development of the entire district.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Regional Development and Management, 1993