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Traditional agriculture in transition: examining the impacts of agricultural modernization on smallholder farming in Ghana under the new Green Revolution

Traditional agriculture in transition: examining the impacts of agricultural modernization on... Following the renewed effort at achieving a new green revolution for Africa, emphasis has been placed on modernizing smallholder agriculture through the deployment of improved inputs especially mechanized technologies. In Ghana, the government has in the last decade emphasized the provision of subsidized mechanized ploughing services to farmers alongside a rapidly growing private sector tractor service market. While mechanized technology adoption rates have increased rapidly, the deployment of these technologies has been without critical analysis of the impacts on production patterns and local agrarian systems. This paper examines the distributional impacts of agriculture mechanization on cropping patterns and farm sizes of smallholder farmers in northern Ghana using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques, and semi-structured interviews with smallholder farmers (n=60). Specifically, comparative analysis of the field sizes and cropping patterns of participant farmers prior to and after the adoption of mechanized technologies was conducted. In-depth interviews were used to contextualize the experiences of smallholder farmers toward understanding how mechanization may be impacting traditional agriculture. Our findings reveal a mechanization paradox in which farm sizes are expanding, while cropping patterns are shifting away from traditional staple crops (pearl millet and sorghum bicolor) to market-oriented crops (maize, rice and groundnuts). This transition we argue, has adverse implications on the cultural dimension of food security, the organization of social life, and climate change adaptation. We recommend a retooling of the current agricultural policy focus to ensure context sensitivity for a more robust battle against food insecurity. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology Taylor & Francis

Traditional agriculture in transition: examining the impacts of agricultural modernization on smallholder farming in Ghana under the new Green Revolution

Traditional agriculture in transition: examining the impacts of agricultural modernization on smallholder farming in Ghana under the new Green Revolution


Abstract

Following the renewed effort at achieving a new green revolution for Africa, emphasis has been placed on modernizing smallholder agriculture through the deployment of improved inputs especially mechanized technologies. In Ghana, the government has in the last decade emphasized the provision of subsidized mechanized ploughing services to farmers alongside a rapidly growing private sector tractor service market. While mechanized technology adoption rates have increased rapidly, the deployment of these technologies has been without critical analysis of the impacts on production patterns and local agrarian systems. This paper examines the distributional impacts of agriculture mechanization on cropping patterns and farm sizes of smallholder farmers in northern Ghana using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques, and semi-structured interviews with smallholder farmers (n=60). Specifically, comparative analysis of the field sizes and cropping patterns of participant farmers prior to and after the adoption of mechanized technologies was conducted. In-depth interviews were used to contextualize the experiences of smallholder farmers toward understanding how mechanization may be impacting traditional agriculture. Our findings reveal a mechanization paradox in which farm sizes are expanding, while cropping patterns are shifting away from traditional staple crops (pearl millet and sorghum bicolor) to market-oriented crops (maize, rice and groundnuts). This transition we argue, has adverse implications on the cultural dimension of food security, the organization of social life, and climate change adaptation. We recommend a retooling of the current agricultural policy focus to ensure context sensitivity for a more robust battle against food insecurity.

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References (70)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
ISSN
1745-2627
eISSN
1350-4509
DOI
10.1080/13504509.2018.1491429
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Following the renewed effort at achieving a new green revolution for Africa, emphasis has been placed on modernizing smallholder agriculture through the deployment of improved inputs especially mechanized technologies. In Ghana, the government has in the last decade emphasized the provision of subsidized mechanized ploughing services to farmers alongside a rapidly growing private sector tractor service market. While mechanized technology adoption rates have increased rapidly, the deployment of these technologies has been without critical analysis of the impacts on production patterns and local agrarian systems. This paper examines the distributional impacts of agriculture mechanization on cropping patterns and farm sizes of smallholder farmers in northern Ghana using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques, and semi-structured interviews with smallholder farmers (n=60). Specifically, comparative analysis of the field sizes and cropping patterns of participant farmers prior to and after the adoption of mechanized technologies was conducted. In-depth interviews were used to contextualize the experiences of smallholder farmers toward understanding how mechanization may be impacting traditional agriculture. Our findings reveal a mechanization paradox in which farm sizes are expanding, while cropping patterns are shifting away from traditional staple crops (pearl millet and sorghum bicolor) to market-oriented crops (maize, rice and groundnuts). This transition we argue, has adverse implications on the cultural dimension of food security, the organization of social life, and climate change adaptation. We recommend a retooling of the current agricultural policy focus to ensure context sensitivity for a more robust battle against food insecurity.

Journal

International Journal of Sustainable Development & World EcologyTaylor & Francis

Published: Jan 2, 2019

Keywords: Smallholder agriculture; new green revolution; mechanization; farm sizes; cropping patterns; climate change adaptation; food security; Ghana

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