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Citation Information

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master of Philosophy
Title Road transport and agriculture: A comparative study of the implications of road access for subsistence agriculture in the northern Ghana
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
URL https://bora.uib.no/bitstream/handle/1956/7979/119647475.pdf?sequence=1
Subsistence agriculture that evolves around the production of staples like maize, groundnuts, yams remains the paramount livelihood for most people in the northern region of Ghana. A starting point in improving productivity and profitability has been the construction of roads. The dominant literature on the road- agriculture relation argues that, with road access farmers can access farm inputs and the market at lower cost. This will allow farmers produce more for themselves and the market. Some even argue with road access farmers will turn to cultivate cash crops. This line of argument visible in most literatures and government documents present subsistence agriculture as if it is an economic activity geared towards market or economic gains. Thus as government provide roads, the assumption is that subsistence communities with roads (accessible throughout the whole year by motorized transport) will produce more for themselves and the market becoming better offs in terms of agricultural production and marketing than communities without roads (inaccessible or accessible with difficult for at least part of the year).
This study examines the implications of road access for subsistence agriculture by comparing two subsistence communities, one with road and the other without road in the same district with the same market town. This research investigated specific objectives of (a) the influence of road access on subsistence agricultural production and (b) the influence of road on the marketing of subsistence agricultural produce. The structuration theories (Giddens, 1984) provided a frame work to explain how subsistence farmers employ both allocative (rain and road) and authoritative resources (norms and statuses) available to them for their agricultural production and marketing. This study relied on interviews and informal conversations. A total of 60 subsistence farmers were interviewed - 30 from each community. In addition, I had 7 informal conversations with informants who were not farmers.
Findings from this research include the following. Subsistence agriculture hinges on rain, thus subsistence farmers in communities with roads are those who can access farm inputs on time and at lower cost taking advantage of the rains to promote productivity. There is the general need for marketing subsistence produce because of modernization but subsistence agriculture marketing is first and foremost about status, role, honour and food security. It is therefore the conclusion of the study that, with road access farmers can promote agricultural production but the market ideals of government does not necessary work with subsistence farmers in the northern Ghana

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