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Title: Agroforestry as a sustainable landuse system in Ghana: a Case Study of Atwima and Offinso Districts
Authors: Derkyi, Mercy Afua Adutwumwaa
Issue Date: 22-Nov-2004
Series/Report no.: 3663;
Abstract: Agro forestry as a sustainable land use system has the potential to solve a variety of land use problems that affect developing countries, especially amongst the rural populace. Despite the sustainable nature of Agro forestry as land use system, it is less practice in Ghana. This is confirmed by studies and seminar reports from various regions in Ghana that clearly shows that Agro forestry is less intensively used in the country especially in the High Forest Zone (EPC, 1985). It is in view of this, that the study was conducted in Atwima and Offinso districts in the Ashanti Region of the High Forest Zone of Ghana to determine the various land use systems prevailing in the two districts. The study again examined the socio-economic factors that influence farmers’ decision to adopt Agro forestry as well as land use institutions perception of Agro forestry in the study area In this study, a total of 600 respondents were sampled from 20 communities in both study districts for in-depth study and analysis. A combination of structured questionnaire and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques were used in data collection. Semi-structured questionnaire and interviews were used to solicit information from the various land use institutions in the districts. Data was analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively. The study revealed that the major land use systems prevailing in the study area are agriculture, forestry, agro forestry, mining and sand winning. Among these, agriculture, which is predominantly by slash and bum, is the major land use system being practiced by majority of the respondents. Most of the respondents (27% in Offinso and 36.67% in Atwima districts) in the study area who practice agro forestry do so in the forest reserves under the Forest Services Division’s modified taungya system. It was also established that farmers of the study area have deep knowledge of indigenous trees and their uses. Their knowledge cuts across a wide spectrum of socio-economic attributes of trees (e.g. medicinal, spiritual, food, fallow management). Farmers have not yet deliberately planted most of the indigenous trees for intensive agro forestry purposes, however, the trees are common on their farmlands. This provides good opportunities for adoption and adaptation into the agro forestry systems. It was also found that farmers in the study area have been tending naturally growing trees and have even taken the steps to plant trees for varying reasons. Despite these efforts, 60.33% and 83 % of the respondents in Atwima and Offinso respectively were found not to be involved in tree planting. Some of the reasons given for not planting trees were several and varied amongst respondents were as follows; not important in the farming systems, land limitation, tree tenure issues and long period of tree maturity for one to enjoy benefits among others. This clearly indicate that the Forest Act 547 and its amendment 617 which gives right of ownership of trees to farmers or individuals who plant them have not been well publicized among the rural folks. The study again revealed that the adoption of agro forestry practices and technologies in the study districts are influenced by several socio-economic factors. The degree of importance of these factors varies among respondents in both districts. The unavailability of credit facilities to hire labour and to buy planting materials is a constraint to Agro forestry adoption by the farmers. Land and tree tenure systems, inadequate extension services and longer period of tree maturity are considered as factors that affect agro forestry adoption. The institutions, including Forest Services Division (FSD) and Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), perceived factors such as unavailability of land for the majority of the migrants, poor awareness creation and education and lack of agro forestry extension techniques for the low patronage and non-adoption of agro forestry practices and technologies among the farmers in the districts. Unfavorable land tenure systems, small land sizes , little access to credit facility, minimal knowledge in tree planting and almost no access to agro forestry extension were perceived to influence farmers and institutions adoption of Agro forestry in the study area. Despite the above factors, farmers have the zeal to adopt agro forestry when the packages are suitable and favorable in their farming system leading to increase and variety in production. In view of the perceptions of the farmers, appropriate recommendations such as the training of the field staff of both FSD and MOFA in participatory extension techniques and creating awareness and educating the farmers on the Forest Acts 617 which gives the farmers right to own trees on their farmlands among others, have been recommended for effective adoption of Agro forestry in the study area and Ghana as a whole.
Description: A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment for the award of the Master of Science degree in Agroforestry, 2004
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/1908
Appears in Collections:College of Agric and Natural Resources

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