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Title: Farmers’ perception on climate change its manifestations in smallholder cocoa systems and shifts in cropping pattern in the forest-savannah transitional zone of Ghana
Authors: Yaw Kyere, Edward
Issue Date: 27-Sep-2016
Abstract: The current and projected climatic conditions show a rise in temperature and decrease in mean annual rainfall in all the agro-ecological zones of Ghana, including cocoa growing areas in the forest-savanna transitional zone. Cocoa systems are therefore expected to be impacted on negatively, with its resultant effect on rural livelihood. However, there are indications that farmers in the study areas are massively converting croplands to cocoa farming in spite of the climatic effects on cocoa. The study therefore explored farmers’ perception on changes in climatic parameters (rainfall and temperature) and the effects of farmers’ perceived manifestations and impacts of climate changes on shifts in smallholder cocoa farming systems in the forest-savannah transitional ecological zone of Ghana. The study was situated in three epochs (pre-fire, post fire and the current epoch) to give respondents a better reference to the relativity of climate change and its impacts on cocoa over a forty year period. Also, in order to have a better understanding of the historical perspective of climate impacts on cocoa, farmers aged 45 years and above formed the sample population for the study. A multistage sampling technique was employed in selecting a sample size of 270 cocoa farmers from nine communities in the Berekum, Wenchi and Techiman Municipalities of Brong Ahafo Region. Results show that farmers have perceived changes in rainfall and temperature over the forty year period, which contributed to the prolonged dryness hence the seasonal bushfire destroying cocoa farms. It was also perceived that the changes in climate and its impacts contributed to shifts in cropping systems from cocoa to annual crops (maize dominant), which became the major livelihood of farmers in the post-fire economy. The study brought to the fore evidences that show that although climate change is impacting negatively on crop production, there are indications of massive shifts to cocoa production, with farmers indicating that current value chain challenges with cereal production makes cocoa cultivation a better livelihood option. Thus, in the face of perceived climate impacts on cocoa, farmers are increasingly converting annual crops (mostly cereals) into cocoa systems by adopting some on-farm measures such as planting more plantain suckers at least inches away from cocoa seedlings as shade for the young cocoa. Also the adoption by farmers irregular planting of seedlings for the purposes of insurance and creating good micro environment. The use of shade trees is also becoming a common practice by farmers and other on-farm practices to protect their farms against bushfires. It can be concluded that farmers have shifted their sources of livelihood from cocoa in the pre-fire epoch to cereals in the post-fire epoch and are now increasingly converting annuals croplands to cocoa systems, in spite of current and projected impacts of climate on cocoa. The study holds implications for the sustenance of farmer livelihood in the forest-savanna transitional zone within the context of perceived climate impacts.
Description: A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Master of Philosophy Degree in Sustainable and Integrated Rural Development June, 2016
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/8938
Appears in Collections:College of Agric and Natural Resources

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