A Team of Researchers from the University of Development Studies has recommended that agricultural policies should include measures that promote non-farm work to increase market participation and commercialisation.
Dr Paul Kwame Nkegbe, the Team Lead for the Research, said non-farm work would increase farmers’ access to financial capital, education and infrastructure.
Dr Nkegbe was speaking at the National Policy Conference on encouraging non-farm work to increase agricultural commercialisation in Ghana.
The event was on the theme: “Complementing Commercial Agriculture through Non-Farm Engagement.”
The research was done with support from the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP), a non-profit, international organization that links institutions and researchers globally to strengthen policy research and analysis in developing countries.
He said under the PEP grants activities, researchers were made to undergo a capacity building in Community-based monitoring systems, Macro-micro development policy modelling, Impact evaluations and Microeconomic analysis of poverty, gender and inequality.
He said agricultural policies should seek to increase access to productivity, enhance inputs such as chemical fertilizer and improve seeds, especially in Northern Ghana.
“We concluded that non-farm engagement by farmers boosts market participation and commercialization in Ghana, implying that non-farm engagement and agricultural commercialization are complementary,” he added.
He said developing the agricultural sector required the government to create the conditions necessary to stimulate farmers’ participation in non-farm activities.
Dr Nkegbe said the research also find out that farmers, who engage in non-farm work have a higher likelihood of selling their agricultural products and in greater quantities.
Mr Benjamin Musah Abu, a Member of the Research Team, said non-farm engagement increased the probability of selling crops by 16.9 per cent, while increasing the quality of the crops being sold by 156.5 per cent.
He said Commercialisation has been found to vary across the ecological zones and households in localities.
He said farmers from the forest zones commercialised more than, those from either the forest and coastal zones or the savannah zones.
Mr Abu said “more specifically, farms from rural forest and coastal zones (Southern Ghana) Commercialise more than, farms from rural Savannah zones (Northern Ghana).
The Lecturer said efforts to encourage non-farm work alongside agricultural Commercialisation should be integrated into new policies.
He called on policy makers to redesign policies that were adapted to different localities and ecological zones.
“Specifically, we recommend that the One District, One Factory (1D1F) development agenda currently under consideration be used as an opportunity to provide farm households with opportunities for non-farm work,” he added.