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Population and food crop production in male- and female-headed households in Ghana


  • Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe, 2010. "Population and food crop production in male- and female-headed households in Ghana," International Journal of Development Issues, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 9(1), pages 68-85, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijdipp:v:9:y:2010:i:1:p:68-85

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Saito, K.A. & Spurling, D., 1992. "Developing Agricultural Extension for Women Farmers," World Bank - Discussion Papers 156, World Bank.
    2. J.M. Njuki & V.B.M. Kihiyo & A. O'Ktingati & F. Place, 2004. "Male vs. female labour in an agroforestry system in the central highlands of Kenya: correcting the misconception," International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 3(1/2), pages 154-170.
    3. Barrientos, Stephanie & Dolan, Catherine & Tallontire, Anne, 2003. "A Gendered Value Chain Approach to Codes of Conduct in African Horticulture," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 1511-1526, September.
    4. V Meier, 1999. "Cut-flower production in Colombia -- a major development success story for women?," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 31(2), pages 273-289, February.
    5. Zhao, Fengkun & Hitzhusen, Fred & Chern, Wen S., 1991. "Impact and implications of price policy and land degradation on agricultural growth in developing countries," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 5(4), August.
    6. Burger, C.P.J. & Gunning, J.W., 1991. "Gender issues in African agriculture : evidence from Kenya, Tanzania and Côte D'Ivoire," Serie Research Memoranda 0036, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
    7. Grown, Caren & Elson, Diane & Cagatay, Nilufer, 2000. "Introduction," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 1145-1156, July.
    8. zhao, Fengkun & Hitzhusen, Fred & Chern, Wen S., 1991. "Impact and implications of price policy and land degradation on agricultural growth in developing countries," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 5(4), pages 311-324, August.
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    Population; Food crops; Family roles; Breadwinners; Ghana;


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