Logistic analysis of factors and perception of smallholder rubber farmers to intercrop: a case study involving rubber and plantain intercropping system in Ghana
Even though rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) is a major tree crop and is lucrative for small holder' farmers in Ghana, the 6 years waiting period to maturity constraints its establishment. Intercropping of rubber with food crops has been found to be a solution to this production constraint in most rubber producing countries. The objective of this study was to empirically assess farmers' perception on rubber/plantain intercropping and factors that directly affect rubber farmers' decision to intercrop rubber plantations with plantain. A multistage sampling technique was used to select 200 rubber farmers from the Central and Western regions of Ghana. Both descriptive and logistic regression models were used to analyze the data. About 83% of the rubber farmers were males. Based on the logit model analysis, gender, level of education, household size, farm size, member of association and experience in rubber farming were found to have significant influence on the adoption of rubber/plantain intercrop. Respondents see the potential adoption of rubber/plantain intercropping system as a means to improve food security, farmers' income and livelihood. Non-governmental organizations, Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL) and Government should focus on strengthening its extension arm to develop more interpersonal contacts with potential rubber farmers. Policy makers, researchers and extension providers should closely work together with rubber farmers in identifying suitable rubber/plantain spacing and varieties on a case by case basis to ensure effective adoption and scaling out.
Keywords: Food security, Ghana, GREL, Livelihood, Rubber and plantain intercropping