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University of Western Ontario (2022)

Aspects of food security and climate change resilience in Semi-arid Northern Ghana

Saaka, Sulemana A

Titre : Aspects of food security and climate change resilience in Semi-arid Northern Ghana

Auteur : Saaka, Sulemana A

Université de soutenance : University of Western Ontario

Grade : Master of Arts (MA) 2022

Résumé partiel
With increasing climate change and variability, agricultural productivity continues to decline causing global food insecurity to rise particularly in the Global South. In the predominantly rain-fed agricultural context of semi-arid Northern Ghana, farmers continue to contend with worsening and increasingly unpredictable climatic conditions. Within the context of rising climatic stressors, concerns of post-harvest food loss in smallholder farming communities in Northern Ghana is on the rise. Though existing literature shows that post-harvest loss (PHL) in the Global South is a major challenge to achieving food security, little is known about the determinants of PHL outcomes in smallholder farming communities. Moreover, the complexities of climate change impacts on smallholders have prompted attention to examine other existing resilience building strategies in smallholder contexts. Backyard gardening has emerged as one such resilience building strategies given its potential of meeting the food and nutritional requirement of smallholder households.

Using data from a cross sectional survey of 1100 smallholder farmers in the Upper West Region (UWR) of Ghana, this study first examined the determinants of PHL within the context of climate change and food security. Results from a multiple linear regression model showed a significant association between PHL and a number of variables including demographic and household socio-economic factors. Female primary farmers (α=-1.063 ; p≤0.05), household size, specifically households with 8-11 members (α=-1.880 ; p≤0.05), joint decision-making (α=-1.257 ; p≤0.05), as well as financial remittance (α=-2.622 ; p≤0.05) were all significantly associated with lower likelihood of PHL. On the contrary, being single in marital status (α= 2.081 ; p≤0.05), farmers belonging to the poorer (α=1.67 ; p≤0.05) and poorest (α=2.859 ; p<0.001) households, livestock rearing (α=1.851 ; p≤0.05), and mold infestation (α=6.340 ; p≤0.05), were significantly associated with higher likelihood of PHL. These findings demonstrate the need for agricultural policies to begin prioritizing household socio-economic challenges such as access to agricultural credit, as well as the promotion of joint household decision-making arrangements in the study context. The creation of participatory learning spaces for male and female farmers may also be a viable way of promoting gendered knowledge transfer for PHL prevention in this context.


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