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Farming systems and productivity gaps: Opportunities for improving smallholder performance in the Forest-Savannah transition zone of Ghana

Villano, Renato, Asante, Bright Owusu, Bravo-Ureta, Boris
Land use policy 2019 v.82 pp. 220-227
capital, farm income, farmers, farming systems, labor, livestock, market access, markets, risk, Ghana
This paper examines the productivity of diversified farming systems in the Forest-Savannah Transition zone of Ghana. Cross sectional data from 568 smallholder farmers and a metafrontier framework are used to investigate the opportunities for improving the performance of three types of farming systems: crop; livestock; and integrated crop-livestock. The results show that increasing farmers’ access to labour and capital improves the productivity of each of the three farming systems, whereas access to land increases the productivity of the livestock and integrated crop-livestock farming systems. The latter system is more productive because of its greater diversification. There are opportunities for improving productivity through enhancing farmers’ access to market information and promoting output diversification. Furthermore, policies designed to encourage the adoption of integrated crop-livestock farming systems as a way to enhance productivity, to spread production and market risk, and to promote more stable farm incomes are warranted.