The Potential Of Agroforestry In Fuelwood Production For Domestic And Income Generation Activities – A Case Study Of Three Communities In The Sunyani District Of The Brong Ahafo Region Ghana.

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Fuelwood is used for cooking and heating by a greater proportion of the ever increasing Ghanaian population. Firewood gathering and sale coupled with fuel-based income generating activities are very important livelihoods in forest fringe communities especially the forest transition zones in Brong Ahafo region that produce most of the fuelwood. However, the dwindling of such tree resources implies that alternative means of providing fuelwood needs need to be pursued to improve the situation and reduce the risk and vulnerability of farmers’ livelihood. The study was conducted to assess fuelwood production and supply as a potentially viable and sustainable cash income generation activity in three forest fringe communities of the Sunyani district. Specifically, it examines the main sources accessed and the forms of fuelwood used, describes the fuelwood consumption, preferences and how it impacts the fuelwood trading enterprise. It also examines the constraints of accessing available fuelwood, the awareness of agroforestry and its potential on the adoption of agroforestry for fuelwood production towards improved livelihoods. Random and purposive sampling techniques were used to collect data using semi structured questionnaire and focus group discussions. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 15.0 and Microsoft Excel. The findings show that most households in the study communities (79% of respondents) purchase most of their fuelwood; especially in Fiapre, where charcoal is consumed the most, with preferred species supplied from Wenchi, Kintampo and New Longoro districts. Respondents spent an average of GHc 1.22 on domestic fuelwood weekly. Fuel based income generation activities are constrained due to dwindling fuelwood supplies. The most preferred species of fuelwood were identified as Celtis zenkeri and Magaritaria discoidea whereas charcoal burners preferred Anogeissus leiocarpus and Senna siamea. Charcoal producers in Sunyani are not able to meet the local fuelwood demand and do not plant trees. Sawmill off cuts and dead teak pruning were frequently resorted to in time of shortages. Most respondents (67%) were found to have a fair knowledge of agroforestry and identified teak as a must have if planting trees to meet cash needs. High transportation cost was found to contribute to the rising cost of charcoal. Respondents were willing to adopt some agroforestry technologies to enhance fuelwood supply. Fragmentation of landholding, tenure constraints, slow growth and coppicing re-growth rate of tree species, and lack of requisite knowledge were identified as factors inhibiting the adoption of agroforestry technologies. The study concludes that though forest fringe communities may have access to free fuelwood, they are extremely constrained despite available forest resources and thus purchase fuelwood. It recommends that agroforestry technologies such as fast growing rotational woodlots, home gardens and live fences are adopted by households and farmers to help improve fuelwood supply and livelihoods.
A thesis submitted the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MASTER OF SCIENCE (Msc.) Degree in Agroforestry,