Different options of enhancing household financial status are explored by farmers in Ghana in order to cope with fast changing economic conditions. These include intensification of traditional crop production, diversification into new high value crops and off-farm activities. This paper examines small-farmer commercialisation (SFC) activities in the forest and transition zones of Ghana. Participatory appraisal methods including wealth ranking, livelihood analysis and interview of key informants and opinion leaders were used. The wealth ranking exercise resulted in the identification of three household categories as rich, intermediate and poor. Vegetable production was found to be an important commercialisation activity and pepper production was very successful in one subsidiary village in the forest zone, where the farmers formed a group for production and marketing of the produce. Adopters of SFC are motivated by profitability, regular flow of income from quick maturing crops, and important for women was the desire for financial independence and change in social status. A major barrier to participation in SFC is lack of credit as the adoption is both labour and capital intensive though large land holdings may not be required.
Key words: Women farmers and gender equality, farming systems, wealth ranking, small-scale farmer commercialization, participatory appraisal methods.
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