The impact of the modified taungya system on the standard of living of forest fringe communities in the sub-humid forest zone of Ghana

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Ghana’s forest has decreased from 8.2 million ha from the 1900 to 4.94 million ha in 2000 due to high rate of deforestation. This is attributed to factors including excessive and illegal logging, unsustainable agricultural practices, bush burning, mining and quarrying, settlement and related infrastructural construction and urbanization. Widespread poverty in the forest fringe communities has been identified as a consequence of forest degradation. The Modified Taungya System (MTS) was introduced as a means to arrest the rate of deforestation in the country and to enhance the socio-economic livelihoods of the forest fringe communities.The study evaluated the impact of the modified taungya system on the livelihood of participating forest fringe communities in the National Forest Plantation Development Programme (NFPDP) of the Forestry Commission. It also evaluated the degree of success of this system as means of afforestation, and increasing food production in the sub-humid forest zone of Ghana. An interview survey was conducted in which data was collected from 360 randomly selected farmers in four forest districts: Offinso, Kumawu, Nkawie and Bekwai in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. A total of twenty communities were randomly selected with eighteen respondents from each community. The farmers were predominantly illiterate, within the age of 35-54 years and with small farm holdings. About 81% relied totally on food from the forest reserve for their livelihood, while 71% also had farm holdings in off reserve areas. Land within the reserve was allocated to farmers free of charge but compensation is paid to landlords on land from off reserve. A statistically significant difference (p<0.05) was observed between produce from the two sources of farmland i.e. from the Off Reserve and the Forest reserve for the households. The study confirmed the modified taungya system has been able to achieve its stated objectives in the area by: increasing food supplies, evident by 69% of respondent being able to meet family food needs at least 10 months in a year, employment as it offered about 900 jobs in the study area, and Improvement in livelihood 67% reported being able to afford household assets, and Poverty reduction, as about 60% of the respondent is able to send their children to school
Thesis submitted to the Department of Agroforestry of the faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for award of Master of Philosophy degree in Agroforestry.