Assessing the factors influencing the adoption of bio-pesticidesiIn vegetable production in the Ashanti Region of Ghana

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The massive use of inorganic agrochemicals in vegetable production in Ghana that often leads to health and environmental hazards, demands bio-intensive as an alternative strategy. This study assessed the profitability, and examined factors that affect the adoption of bio-pesticides in vegetable production. Semi-structured questionnaire was used to elicit primary information from 300 vegetable farmers in the Offinso District and Mampong Municipality in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The study employed both descriptive and inferential tools to analyse the data. Whereas gross margin analysis was conducted to assess the profitability of bio-pesticide adoption, a logistic regression model was used to determine the factors that influence adoption of bio-pesticides in the study areas. From the study, the over reliance of vegetable farmers on chemical pesticides as the major pest management strategy can be attributed to the relatively less profitable nature of bio-pesticide adoption. The gross margin analysis indicated that the adoption of bio-pesticide as pest management strategy in tomato production was less profitable compared to the conventional method. This situation vein, non-adoption of bio-pesticide was relatively profitable in cabbage and carrot production. The proportion of vegetable farmers in the studied districts who have adopted bio-pesticides was found to be fourteen percent irrespective of the positive perception and high awareness of the practice. The key bio-pesticides used by vegetable farmers were found to be neem, neem plus pepper and cinnamon. Neem adoption relative to cinnamon was found to be positively influenced by household size, education, experience, extension visitation, membership of FBOs, the less ill effect of bio-pesticide on human health, the accessibility of bio-pesticide; but negatively influenced by age, farm size and the specificity of bio-pesticide. With the exception of education, extension visitation, the less ill effect of bio-pesticide on human health, and the specificity of bio-pesticide; the factors that influenced neem adoption also influence neem plus pepper adoption relative cinnamon. The study recommends commercialization of bio-pesticides to make them readily available in packaged forms and training of farmers in preparation of bio-pesticides. It further recommends segmentation of the Ghanaian vegetable market to allow for price premiums to compensate adopters for the relatively lower yields associated with bio-pesticide adoption.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Agricultural Economics, Agribusiness and Extension, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy