Sustainability of commercial farms in Ghana - analysis of performance and future prospects of a selected farm

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Commercial food farming has become a viable and sustainable venture worldwide with the generation of adequate income and profit as the motivating factor. Sustainable farming means systems of farming which are capable of maintaining productivity, income and usefulness to society indefinitely. The study proposes that commercial farming is, and can be a viable and sustainable venture. Farming in Ghana has been predominantly small scale and at the subsistence level. Commercial farming, which developed in the 1950’s and 1960’s, had been in the area of cash crops. A few, which engaged in food crop production, were in the form of state and co-operative farms but they were not profitable and so collapsed. With encouragement from successive Ghana governments, a few commercial food crop farms were established, but the indications are that some of the farms collapsed and the sustainability of the few which remained are even in doubt. Against the background that several bottlenecks beset commercial food farming, questions which need to be investigated are: whether commercial food and livestock farming are viable and profitable, and if not the reasons; the indicators to use for measuring the viability and sustainability in the Ghanaian context; and the measures required to improve the viability and sustainability. Through literature review, the researcher has developed indicators, which were used to assess a farm as case study to ascertain its viability and sustainability. In the assessment, the following criteria were used: producing necessary quantity of farm produce; profitability to the grower, conserving non-renewable resources; and sustainability with biological, physical and social environment. Findings from the case study, in general, satisfied the above criteria. The farm could, therefore, be sustained. Since viability and sustainability of the case study has been established, when the above criteria are met other commercial food farming enterprises can be viable and sustainable. The government, farmers and other stakeholders, however, have a part to play. Their interventionist role could serve as the policy framework for the development of commercial food farming in Ghana.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science degree in Development Policy and Planning, 2002