Farmer perspectives on the use of indigenous fruit tree species in cocoa growing systems in Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar District of Ghana
Indigenous fruit trees are known to provide nutrition and income for rural households. Chrysophyllum albidum, which is used as a shade tree in cocoa farms in some parts of Ghana, is one of those multi-purpose trees. The objective of the survey was to explore farmers’ knowledge and perceptions on the interactions between C. albidum and cocoa trees, its management and challenges faced. The study was undertaken in the Eastern Region of Ghana in which a structured questionnaire was used and 70 farmers participated. The study demonstrated that the use of C. albidum as a shade tree for cocoa is widespread in the area and that farm-owners were more likely to plant it than farm caretakers. The C. albidum trees provide economic gain to the farmer through the sale of fruits and so enable income diversification when cocoa yield is low. The study revealed farmers’ perceptions on above- and below-ground interactions between cocoa and C. albidum trees. Most farmers in the study had technical problems and needed assistance in their agroforestry practice, particularly in seed and vegetative propagation. The results of the survey show the importance of a baseline study prior to drawing up a research programme to address the concerns of farmers.
Original scientific paper. Received 23 Sep 14; revised 23 Apr 15.
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