Factors influencing the adoption of cocoa agroforestry systems in mitigating climate change in Ghana: The case of the Sefwi Wiawso district in Western Region

Nunoo, Isaac; Fromm, Ingrid; Fimpong, Benedicta Nsiah (2020). Factors influencing the adoption of cocoa agroforestry systems in mitigating climate change in Ghana: The case of the Sefwi Wiawso district in Western Region Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change, 2(1), pp. 1-4. Research Open World

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Climate change is having great impact on agricultural productivity worldwide. Agriculture is strongly influenced by weather and climate [1,2]. Climate change and variability adversely affect environmental resources such as soil and water upon which agricultural production depends, which poses a serious threat to sustainable agricultural production [2]. In Ghana climate variability and change is expected to have an adversely effect on the agriculture sector. According to the NIC, (2009) by 2030 temperature are projected to rise by 0.5 °C. This situation would result in fewer rainy days and more extreme weather conditions like prolonged droughts. The impacts of a changing climate will have direct and indirect effects on global and domestic food systems [3,4]. Rioux [5] reported that climate change has affected yields in food crop production in many Africa countries. If the issues of climate change and variability are not addressed incomes and food security of rural households in Ghana would be undermined because there would be increased incidence of diseases and pest as well as prolonged variable rainfall patterns. Cocoa production employs over 15 million people worldwide with over 10.5 million workers in West Africa [6]. Cocoa, in addition to cereals and other root and tuber crops contribute largely to food security in Ghana. In Ghana cocoa production is an essential component of rural livelihoods and its cultivation is considered a ‘way of life’ in many production communities [7]. The cocoa sub sector cocoa employs about 800,000 farm families spread across the cocoa growing regions of Ghana and generating about $2 billion in foreign exchange annually [8,9]. The expansion of cocoa production is replacing substantial areas of primary forest. It’s of no surprise that the total area under cocoa cultivation increased by 50,000 hectares between 2012 and 2013 and there is no indication that the rate is slowing down. According to Anim Kwapong et al. [10] the government of Ghana recognizes that climate change is already negatively affecting Ghana’s cocoa sector in myriad ways and that, it is likely to continue hampering Ghana’s environmental and socio-economic prospects in the coming decades. Cocoa agroforestry system has been identified as is an important strategy that can ameliorate climate change [11]. This system can play a dual role of mitigation and adaptation, which makes it one of the best responses to climate change. It is noted that agroforestry has multi-functional purposes which makes it one of the most promising strategies for climate change adaptation [11,12]. The use of trees and shrubs in agricultural systems help to tackle the triple challenge of securing food security, mitigation and reducing the vulnerability and increasing the adaptability of agricultural systems to climate change [13,14]. With this view, serious attention must be given to cocoa agroforestry which is capable of reducing temperatures and enhancing the growing of cocoa thus sustaining livelihood of many households in this climate changing pattern. According to previous studies [11,13,15] agroforestry as an adaptation strategy could sustain agricultural production and enhance farmers’ ability to improve livelihoods and will minimize the impacts of climate change which include drought, variable rainfall and extreme temperatures. Agroforestry as a forest-based system plays a significant role in conserving existing carbons, thereby limiting carbon emissions and also absorbing carbons that are released into the atmosphere [16]. Nair [17] also indicated that agroforestry has received international attention as an effective strategy for carbon sequestration and greenhouse mitigation. Cocoa agroforestry can increase farmers’ resilience and position them strategically to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate. This system of cocoa production can be very useful because it generates quite substantial benefits on arable lands in diverse ways; trees in agricultural fields improve soil fertility through control of erosion, improve nitrogen content of the soil and increase organic matter of the soil [18,19]. Agroforestry can also transform degraded lands into productive agricultural lands and improves productive capacities of soils [18]. Although agroforestry is not new in Ghana, it is quite optimistic that effective adoption to climate change will contribute towards the achievement of sustainable development and to a large extent, the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite the immeasurable benefits of cocoa agroforestry system, adoption is not widespread and for that matter success stories are found in isolated cocoa farming areas among few adapters of cocoa agroforestry system initiatives. Aidoo and Fromm [20] report that although cocoa farmers are aware about sustainability issues, they hardly adopt sustainable production practices. It is quite not always the case that policies are implemented as they were intended and so the need to assess farmers’ perspectives on cocoa agroforestry adoption and implementation especially when climate change has become a serious constraint to cocoa production in Ghana. Traditional coping mechanisms to the impact of climate change in the Western Region of Ghana include mixed cropping, non-farm activities and traditional agroforestry practices by some individual cocoa farmers. However, non-shade cocoa production systems, bush burning, slash and burn farming methods expose the cocoa communities to further impacts of climate change. This calls for swift attention from all, especially cocoa farmers in the study communities to tackle the problem. Despite the economic, environmental and sustainable cocoa production potential via agroforestry systems, farmers have not adopted cocoa agroforestry practices entirely especially in Sefwi Wiawso District. Understanding cocoa farmers decision making processes in ensuring sustainable food supply and cocoa yield in cocoa agroforestry system is critical. Research frontiers in cocoa agroforestry systems need to be identified and better understand barriers to adoption and the development of strategies to support cocoa agroforestry that enhance food security in climate changing conditions. The objectives of this study are therefore to empirically assess the factors that affect farmers’ decision to adopt cocoa agroforestry systems and determine cocoa farmers’ perception on cocoa agroforestry as an adaptation strategy to climate change.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL
School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > HAFL Hugo P. Cecchini Institute

Name:

Nunoo, Isaac;
Fromm, Ingridhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-1509-5746 and
Fimpong, Benedicta Nsiah

Subjects:

S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SD Forestry

Publisher:

Research Open World

Language:

English

Submitter:

Ingrid Fromm

Date Deposited:

09 Nov 2020 09:35

Last Modified:

09 Nov 2020 09:35

ARBOR DOI:

10.24451/arbor.12269

URI:

https://arbor.bfh.ch/id/eprint/12269

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