The presidential special initiative on cassava: a bane or blessing to Ghana's smallholder farmers

  • Steve Tonah Department of Sociology, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana


This paper analyses the Presidential Special Initiative on Cassava, a Ghanaian government initiative that seeks to increase substantially the nation's foreign exchange earnings through the transformation of stallholder production methods and the processing of cassava for export. Research work was carried out in the Gomoa and the Awutu-Effutu-Senya Districts in Ghana's Central Region. Eighty (80) farmers, as well as members of the farmers' association and the staff and management of the Ayensu Starch Company were interviewed. The fundamental method used was participant observation. This was complemented with interviews, questionnaires and focus group discussions. The paper asserts that several bottlenecks are impeding attempts to increase smallholder cassava production. The morale of farmers is low and the starch factory is currently working well below its installed capacity. The paper questions the rationale behind successive governments' policy of radically transforming smallholder subsistence production and suggests the need for a gradual process through the formation of active out-grower cooperatives as well as the provision of extension support, credit and training to farmers.

Ghana Journal of Development Studies Vol. 3(1) 2006: 66-84

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