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.
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