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Cropping practices and labor requirements in field operations for major crops in Ghana: What needs to be mechanized?

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  • Ngeleza, Guyslain K.
  • Owusua, Rebecca
  • Jimah, Kipo
  • Kolavalli, Shashidhara

Abstract

This study is to examine the labor requirements associated with different cropping systems in Ghana in order to guide the prioritization of investments in mechanization in the country. First, major cropping systems are identified in the country by adopting the cropping pattern approach of Ruthenberg (1983), who defined farming systems according to the leading crop activities. Second, labor requirements and costs of production of crops in the various systems are examined at various levels of substitution of either herbicides or animal and mechanical traction for labor. We found that the total labor requirements varied among cropping systems. The requirements were particularly high in the two cocoa cropping systems in the forest zones. The requirements were particularly high for land preparation and crop maintenance. Looking across crops, land preparation and crop maintenance took the largest share of labor for cassava, yam, and maize. Rice, on the other hand, required large shares of labor for land preparation and harvesting. When all the systems are considered together, however, crop maintenance required more labor than land preparation. In response to apparent unavailability and cost of labor, farmers are increasingly demanding mechanical traction for land preparation in Ghana. The benefits of mechanizing land preparation depend on both the system and the type of crop cultivated. Mechanization of land preparation for cassava in the vegetable belt, for instance, is more labor saving and cost effective than m Mechanization of land preparation for cassava in cereals belt. Within systems, there is also variation across crops. Where mechanization is not feasible for land preparation or not yet adopted for other field operations such as weeding, an alternative and common substitution for labor in crop production is herbicides. Herbicides are used to clear land for planting as well as to control weeds in standing crops. We found that where herbicide was used, its application reduced labor requirements for land preparation significantly. Selective herbicides were used to control weeds in all the crops examined and in all the belts except the vegetable belt. They also reduced labor use for weeding drastically.

Suggested Citation

  • Ngeleza, Guyslain K. & Owusua, Rebecca & Jimah, Kipo & Kolavalli, Shashidhara, 2011. "Cropping practices and labor requirements in field operations for major crops in Ghana: What needs to be mechanized?," IFPRI discussion papers 1074, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1074
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    File URL: http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/ifpridp01074.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Binswanger, Hans, 1986. "Agricultural Mechanization: A Comparative Historical Perspective," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 1(1), pages 27-56, January.
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    1. repec:eee:wdevel:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:430-446 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Müller, Marc & Sanfo, Safietou & Laube, Wolfram, 2013. "Impact of Changing Seasonal Rainfall Patterns on Rainy-Season Crop Production in the Guinea Savannah of West Africa," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151208, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Müller, Marc & Sanfo, Safietou & Laube, Wolfram, 2013. "Impact of Changing Seasonal Rainfall Patterns on Rainy-Season Crop Production in the Guinea Savannah of West Africa," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150412, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Diao, Xinshen & Silver, Jed & Takeshima, Hiroyuki, 2016. "Agricultural mechanization and agricultural transformation:," IFPRI discussion papers 1527, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Takeshima, Hiroyuki, 2014. "Importance of rice research and development in rice seed policies: Insights from Nigeria:," IFPRI discussion papers 1343, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Diao, Xinshen & Cossar, Frances & Houssou, Nazaire & Kolavalli, Shashidhara, 2014. "Mechanization in Ghana: Emerging demand, and the search for alternative supply models," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 168-181.
    7. repec:fpr:export:1343 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Houssou, Nazaire & Chapoto, Antony, 2014. "The changing landscape of agriculture in Ghana: Drivers of farm mechanization and its impacts on cropland expansion and intensification:," IFPRI discussion papers 1392, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Grabowski, Philip & Jayne, Thom, 2016. "Analyzing Trends in Herbicide Use in Sub-Saharan Africa," Food Security International Development Working Papers 245909, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    10. Takeshima, Hiroyuki & Nin-Pratt, Alejandro & Diao, Xinshen, 2013. "Agricultural mechanization patterns in Nigeria: Insights from farm household typology and agricultural household model simulation:," IFPRI discussion papers 1291, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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    Keywords

    Cropping systems; labor requirements; mechanization; seasonal labor; Development strategies;

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