Population and food crop production in male- and female-headed households in Ghana
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the population-food crop production nexus, and within it assesses the differences between male- and female-headed households. Design/methodology/approach - The paper uses the demographic pressure, market price incentives theories and other mediating conditions, namely: environmental, techno-managerial, political economic and institutional. In addition, information from a household survey undertaken in 2002 among 196 and 56 male- and female-headed households, respectively, in 12 randomly selected localities. A multiple regression model is used to examine the role of population and other determinants in food crop production. Findings - Population predicts food crop production in male-headed households. In addition, contrary to some research findings that agricultural output remains low as a result of access to land, labour, farm equipment and information in female-headed households, this paper shows otherwise. Research limitations/implications - Female-headed households in the transitional agro-ecological zone produced more maize, owned more land, earned more from sale of maize, allowed for more years of land to fallow, used more inorganic fertiliser on their farms, cropped more agricultural land and cropped maize on soils with better water absorption capacity, compared to male-headed households. Future research is needed in the savannah and forest zones of Ghana, to ascertain whether these scenarios also pertain to those agro-ecological zones. Practical implications - Female subsistence farmers should be supported, since that could go a long way in helping Ghana achieve its goal of attaining a middle-income status in the shortest possible time. Originality/value - The paper contributes to the debate on the increasing role of women in agriculture.
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Volume (Year): 9 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
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