Full Length Research Paper
There is paucity of knowledge about the current socioeconomic status and farm management practices of cocoa farmers in Ghana. And not up-to-date an accurate knowledge of socioeconomic profile and farm management practices of cocoa farmers is necessary to ensure sustainable cocoa production. In this study, we assessed socioeconomic profile and farm management practices of smallholder cocoa farmers in three cocoa producing districts in Southwestern Ghana. The study was conducted using a multi-stage sampling technique to select farmer households for interviews. In total, 180 farmer households were interviewed on socioeconomic characteristics and 60 of them were interviewed about their farm management practices. Statistical analyses were carried out through chi-square and regression analyses. Most (73.9%) of the farmers interviewed were males and 76.7% of them were above 40 years. The age and sex groups of farmers were significantly different among districts. 28.9% of farmers have no formal education, while 66.7% have up to basic education. Majority of the farmers (53.3%) have household size within the range of 6 to 10 persons. Ethnic backgrounds of farmers were mostly locals and migrants in the three districts. About 78.3% cultivate hybrid type of cocoa. The methods of land acquisition as well as farmers experience in cocoa farming were different in the three districts. On farm management practices, about 75% applied fertilizer on their farms, 73.3% adopted manual means of weeds control, and over 80% of farmers applied insecticides against pest. The present study has revealed significant differences in factors of socioeconomic characteristics and farm management practices of smallholder farmers in cocoa-growing areas of Ghana and has implications for achieving sustainable cocoa production.
Key words: Cocoa, socioeconomic factors, farm maintenance, West Africa.
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