Agriculture in sustainable rural development : effects of the growth and poverty reduction strategy 11 (GRPS 11) on livelihoods and coping strategies of smallholder farming households: context of the Ejisu-Juaben municipality in the Ashanti region of Ghana
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The Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) approach championed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund lies at the centre of development assistance, debt relief, and development planning in many developing countries, including Ghana. Ghana has implemented a PRS (Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy I, 2003-2005) and a second generation of PRS (Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy II, 2006-2009) had just passed its implementation phase in 2009. This study focuses on the second PRS – that is the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy II (GPRS II). The study also selectively reviews major literature on the role of agriculture in sustainable rural development and offers critical perspectives on realising the potential multiplier effects of sustainable agriculture in sustainable rural development promotion. In Ghana, agriculture continues to be one of the dominant sectors of the economy, in terms of its contributions to output, employment, revenue generation, and foreign exchange earnings, and yet many of the poorest in Ghana, like in many developing countries, are farmers usually practising smallholder rain-fed systems which are highly vulnerable to shocks. Meanwhile, the specific nature of thematic areas of the GPRS II such as improving agricultural productivity and its effects on livelihoods of poor and vulnerable groups such as food crop farmers has received little academic attention. This study responds to this gap by offering a theoretically informed empirical research directed towards the better understanding of the effects that the agricultural productivity sub-sector of the GPRS II has had on smallholder farmers’ ability to develop sustainable livelihoods. Often, variability in climatic conditions interacts with adverse socio-economic conditions such as disadvantageous terms of trade and poor agricultural infrastructure to undermine agricultural productivity and by extension, farmers’ livelihoods (Sagoe, 2006). The study adopted an analycentric approach to policy analysis of the GPRS II focusing on the micro-scale of typically farming communities in the Ejisu-Juaben municipality of the Ashanti region of Ghana. Livelihood analysis conceptual and methodological frameworks were also employed to assess the livelihood resilience building capabilities of local smallholder farmers due to effects of the GPRS II. It was revealed that although many of the interventions in the municipality’s action plan seemed to conform to the most critical empirical needs of local farmers for resilient livelihood development, the GPRS II has not duly benefited the greater majority of farmers in the municipality, and thus been slow in its poverty reduction processes. A livelihood resilience analysis for instance revealed that although a few smallholder farmers were able to develop productive capital assets and to build viable and sustainable livelihoods through the activities of the GPRS II, a greater majority of smallholder farmers in the municipality have not been able to adequately develop capital assets for more productivity, hence maintaining extremely poor and vulnerable livelihoods.
Master thesis in development management- University of Agder 2011