Assessing the role of community-based organizations in agricultural development in the Ashanti Region

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The Agricultural sector has been one of the highest employers of the labour force and a significant contributor to the GDP of the entire economy. In their annual progress report for 2008, for instance, the NDPC confirmed that the agricultural sector alone engaged 60 per cent of the country’s labour force and also contributed 33.6 per cent to GDP for the 7.3 per cent growth rate achievement in 2008 (NDPC, 2009 : 45). This means that the rate of the country’s economic growth is intertwined with the performance of the agricultural sector. The Agricultural sector contributes substantially to government revenue. Hence, over the years, governments have made the necessary efforts to improve the agricultural sector of the economy. It is therefore not surprising that the nation’s medium and long term development strategies emphasize modernization of agriculture as the basis for industrialization and a driver of accelerated economic growth. The agricultural sector, undoubtedly, needs to be improved rigorously to complement the development of the industrial sector and others, hence the essence of the creation of an enabling environment by government for private sector and other organizations, including Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), to operate. However, many people are naïve about the roles of CBOs in the agricultural sector. This dissertation, therefore, assessed the roles of CBOs in agricultural development in Ghana. It further examined the operational environment of the CBOs and unveiled the challenges confronting their activities, especially, towards the development of agriculture. Geographically, the study focused on the Ashanti region owing to its vast agricultural land and potential labour for agricultural activities. Specifically, it was carried out using 25 CBOs in seven district assemblies. Descriptive research design was used for the study. Data, thus, was collected to answer research questions concerning the roles of CBOs and agricultural development in the Ashanti region. Both probability and non-probability sampling techniques were adopted for the study. The study revealed that CBOs play a major role in production, processing and marketing of agricultural goods. Education and training, as well as information dissemination, were also identified as part of the roles played by CBOs in the agricultural sector. Again, the findings highlighted weak financial base, poor external support and poor processing as issues of concern to CBOs in their operations in the region. The study concluded that the incapacity of the CBOs in the agricultural sector has a multi-factorial cause. It recommended that pragmatic intervention measures should be adopted by all stakeholders to build the capacity of CBOs and improve their method of operation towards agricultural development in Ghana as a whole and the Ashanti region in particular. These include the provision of frequent education and training, motivational packages, affordable modern equipment and loans to the members and the creation of conducive atmosphere to ensure effective networking, both internally and externally.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning.