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Title: Agricultural development, mechanization, and rental markets : theory and empirics from Ghana
Author: Cossar, Frances Ruth
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 3367
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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The subject of this thesis is the process of agricultural mechanization in the tropical farming systems of Ghana. Three original research papers are presented which explore separate research questions with different methodological approaches. All three papers draw upon detailed empirical analysis of the decisions by farm households over the use of tractor plowing in cereal-producing farming systems of Ghana. This empirical analysis informs our theoretical understandings of mechanization, its use, and its impacts. The questions considered are: (i) to what extent can the patterns of agricultural mechanization be explained by changes in population, urbanization, and agro-ecological conditions? (ii) Given the heterogeneity of conditions and farming systems, is it right to assume that mechanization will reduce the labour requirements for production? What is the impact of mechanization on other farming decisions and productivity? And (iii) what role do informal institutions and social capital play in facilitating access to more productive technologies by farmers of all scales? By revisiting the theories of mechanization developed in the1960s through to the 1980s, the first paper argues that farmers' technology adoption decisions continue to be linked to system-wide drivers such as population change and urbanization. The second paper argues that farmers are taking up tractor plowing in this production system in large part because of the advantage it confers in shortening the required time for land preparation, even as mechanization has little impact on post-planting farm practices, which remain highly labour intensive. The final paper examines the market for tractor plowing services, which is the primary mode of access to mechanized technology for farmers in Ghana. I argue that the social embeddedness of farmers in rural Ghana is key to the functioning of the market for tractor services, allowing communities to manage spatial externalities and time constraints.
Supervisor: Gollin, Douglas ; Fu, Xiaolan Sponsor: International Growth Centre
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Agriculture--Economic aspects