Cropping Systems in Some Drought-Prone Communities of the Northern Region of Ghana: Factors Affecting the Introduction of Rice
Vincent Kodjo Avornyo*, Osamu Ito**,
Gordana Kranjac-Berisavljevic*, Osamu Saito**,
and Kazuhiko Takeuchi**
*Faculty of Agriculture, University for Development Studies (UDS), P.O. Box TL 1882, Tamale
**Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), United Nations University, 53-70, Jingumae 5-chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan
Despite the growing demand for rice in Ghana, domestic rice production remains low, resulting in the importation of about 70% of the rice consumed in Ghana. In spite of the fact that 39-47% of the 20-28% of Ghana’s total geographic area classified as inland valley wetlands is considered suitable for rice cultivation, less than 15% is presently being used. A household survey was therefore conducted in six communities, Fihini (F), Cheshegu (C), Dabogushei (D), Kpalgum (K), Zergua (Z), and Yoggu (Y), of the Tolon district in northern Ghana in order to identify factors affecting the introduction of rice into the cropping system. Maize, groundnut, rice, and yam were found to be the four major crops grown in the communities. Overall, 64% of respondents cultivate rice, but this figure is particularly low (30%) in F and Y communities. Rice is usually combined with two other major crops, most frequently maize and yam. In C, D, and K communities, about 90% of households cultivate at least, three out of the four major crops. The interview with farmers revealed that rice yield is 0.73 t/ha on average and significantly higher in K and C (1.06 t/ha and 0.93 t/ha, respectively) than in D (0.37 t/ha). The average distance from compound houses to rice and maize fields is significantly shorter in C, D, and K. Similarly, the rate of rice introduction in C, D, and K is higher than in F, Z, and Y, suggesting that distance to inland valleys may be one of the factors that influence the incorporation of rice into the cropping systems of these communities. Principal component analysis of crop yields and cattle number for the Y community revealed that rice growers tend to have higher crop productivity while cattle production is higher among non-rice growers. Within the community, the productivity of upland crops and balance between crop production and cattle production may be important factors that influence the incorporation of rice into the cropping system.
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