Economic assessment of the trials and adoption of selected Soil Fertility Management (SFM) technologies among grain legume farmers in the Northern and Upper West Regions of Ghana.

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In the face of high prices of existing mineral fertilizers, farmers in Ghana need cost effective Soil Fertility Management (SFM) technologies to address the problem of low crop yields, which are particularly pronounced in grain legumes. This study assessed the financial returns associated with different SFM trials conducted on grain legumes (soybean, cowpea and groundnuts) in northern Ghana in order to examine farmers’ adoption decision ex-ante and willingness to pay for the most financially rewarding technologies. Benefit-cost ratio analysis based on experimental data identified bio -fertilizer technologies (Biofix, BR3267 and Legumefix) as the most financially viable SFM technologies for grain legumes (soybean, cowpea and groundnut respectively) production. The study elicited primary data from 400 grain legume farmers randomly selected from Northern (200) and Upper West (200) Regions to evaluate adoption decisions and willingness to pay for the three selected SFM technologies. Evidence from the study shows that a significant proportion of farmers (>50%) were willing to adopt each of the three selected biofertilizer packages when they are made available on the market. A multivariate probit model identified farming experience, membership of Farmer Based Organizations (FBOs), farm income, amount of credit used and distance to extension office as critical variables influencing farmers’ adoption decision. Generally, legume farmers in Northern Region were willing to pay higher for the three biofertilizer packages as compared to their counterparts in Upper West Region. For 0.2 kg each of Biofix, BR3267 and Legumefix, farmers in Northern Region were willing to pay approximately GHC 17.00, GHC 12.00 and GHC 23.00 respectively whereas those in Upper West Region were willing to pay GHC 14.00, GHC 9.00 and GHC 11.00 for the same quantity of each SFM technology respectively. The study has revealed that farming experience, FBO membership, awareness and use of biofertilizers are the significant determinants of farmers’ willingness to pay for biofertilizers. The most critical constraints hindering adoption of SFM technologies among grain legume farmers were identified to be high cost of technologies, unavailability and inadequacy of information on potentials of SFM technologies. Even though, biofertilizer technolog ies present key opportunity in resolving soil fertility deficiencies, they are quite new and most farmers are unaware of their use in grain legume production. The study therefore recommended sustained awareness creation through periodic education and sensitization by using FBOs as vii leverage points. This and other recommendations from the study are expected to improve the future adoption of biofertilizers to improve the productivity and profitability of grain legume production in northern Ghana.
This thesis is submitted to the Department of Agricultural Economics, Agribusiness and Extension Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for Masters of Philosophy Degree in Agricultural Economics,