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Impact of Bioenergy Crop Adoption on Total Crop Incomes of Farmers in Northern Ghana: The Case of Jatropha Curcas (lay summary)

This is a lay summary of the article published under the DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-76222-7_6

Published onApr 19, 2023
Impact of Bioenergy Crop Adoption on Total Crop Incomes of Farmers in Northern Ghana: The Case of Jatropha Curcas (lay summary)

Farmers in northern Ghana make less money from Jatropha than from other crops

This study reports that farmers in northern Ghana actually make less money if they plant Jatropha compared to staple crops, and this might make them even poorer.

Jatropha, also called the ‘physic nut’, is a shrub that people in western Africa often used as a hedge to fence their homes. In some countries like Ghana, the plant can also be used to make fuel. 

However, some scientists are against farming this crop, saying the land used for Jatropha could instead be used for food crops.Others say farmers can use the money they make from selling physic nuts to buy food for themselves.

In this study, the researchers wanted to know if it was actually profitable to grow Jatropha. They estimated how much money the farmers in northern Ghana could make if they planted Jatropha.

The researchers asked community leaders about the number of Jatropha farmers and the size of their plots. They then used questionnaires to collect information they needed from farmers.

They found that most farmers planted Jatropha in less than half a hectare. They also found that 85.5% of the farmers were males, 64% had livestock and only 2% of the farmers irrigated their farms.


[The present study examines the adoption of Jatropha Curcas as a bioenergy crop in West Mamprusi and Mion districts of Northern Ghana. A gender analysis is also undertaken. Using data from 400 farmers, the study employs a propensity score matching method to analyze the impact of the adoption of Jatropha Curcas on total crop incomes of farmers. The study concludes that Jatropha adoption significantly reduces the level of crop income per hectare of farmers. The reduction is worse for women-headed households compared to men. Specifically, the Average Treatment effect on the Treated (ATT) estimate is GHC −385.23 per hectare for the whole sample. The study recommends the development of appropriate strategies and a regulatory framework to harness the potential economic opportunities from Jatropha cultivation.


This summary is a free resource intended to make African research and research that affects Africa, more accessible to non-expert global audiences. It was compiled by ScienceLink's team of professional African science communicators as part of the Masakhane MT: Decolonise Science project. ScienceLink has taken every precaution possible during the writing, editing, and fact-checking process to ensure that this summary is easy to read and understand, while accurately reporting on the facts presented in the original research paper. Note, however, that this summary has not been fact-checked or approved by the authors of the original research paper, so this summary should be used as a secondary resource. Therefore, before using, citing or republishing this summary, please verify the information presented with the original authors of the research paper, or email [email protected] for more information.

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