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Title: Cocoa cultivation in Ghana : an analysis of farmers' information and knowledge systems and attitudes
Author: Baah, Francis.
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2006
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This study is about cocoa farmers of Ghana. The problem of poor extension support to farmers has come to the fore in recent times following structural changes in the cocoa sector including the merger of the cocoa extension services with mainstream ministry extension services. These changes have raised the question of whether interactive communication between fanners and other key stakeholders in the sector is functioning well to aid fam1ers in their decision-making processes. This study set out to investigate this problem guided by the objectives of identifying obstacles to the effectiveness of the cocoa-based agricultural knowledge and infonnation system and how it inf1uences farmers' attitudes towards cocoa; identifying the underlying beliefs of the attitude construct, and evaluating the farmer field school approach in promoting interactive communication between fanners and other stakeholders. Guided by the research questions, the study employed a mixed-method multistage approach using focus group discussions (n = 22), structured questionnaires (n = 278) and in-depth interviews (n = 15) to obtain data from farmers and other stakeholders in 10 communities in the Atwima and Amansie West districts of Ashanti region, Ghana between November 2004 and June 2005. Analysis ofthe data revealed that the state of cocoa extension was far from desirable. Over 80% of farmers interviewed have not met an extension officer in a year preceding the study, and farmers relied more on their informal social networks for information. There was little interactive communication between fanners and other stakeholders suggesting that the cocoa-based AKIS is malfunctioning. The study revealed that contrary to perceptions that farmers' attitudes arc a stumbling block to the efforts to move cocoa cultivation to a higher level, farmers hold a generally positive attitudinal disposition towards cocoa, and that this was critical to their social attachment to the crop. It emerged from discussions with women farmers in particular that inheritance practices my dissuade many from continued involvement in cocoa cultivation. It is concluded that the cocoa-based AKIS is malfunctioning and that radical changes are needed to promote interactive communication between and amongst stakeholders. In this context, the FFS approach offers the potential for enhancing fanner leaming and promoting interactive communication amongst fanners and between them and other partners in the cocoa sector.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available