Various models and approaches are implemented to provide technical assistance and support to improve cocoa farmers' welfare in Ghana. The Farmer Business School (FBS), which is analogous to Farmer Field School (FFS), is one of the few initiatives of GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD). The main aim of the initiative is to train smallholder cocoa farmers to perceive cocoa production as a business. However, there is limited or conflicting evidence as to the effect of FBS on productivity and food security, especially in Ghana. This study assessed FBS participation and the participation's impact on productivity and food security of cocoa farmers.
The study used primary data collected from 542 cocoa farmers in Central and Western North regions of Ghana and employed descriptive statistics, perception index and Endogenous Switching Regression (ESR) as analytical tools.
The results, which reported an overall perception index of 0.7, indicated that the farmers had a strong positive perception on the FBS program. The results also showed that sex of a farmer, number of years of formal education, farm size, extension contact, perception, distance to extension outlet and membership of farmer-based organizations (FBOs) significantly influenced the decision to participate in FBS program. Also off-farm income, years of education and household size significantly influenced farm productivity and household food security. The results further showed that participation in FBS improved productivity and food security of cocoa farmers.
The study used data from two regions of Ghana, namely the Central region and the Western North region. Findings from studies using data covering all cocoa growing areas of Ghana could be more informative in formulating policies aimed at encouraging participation in FBS and consequently help improve cocoa productivity and food security.
This article offers insights into the welfare effects of FBS on cocoa farmers as previous similar studies are without this information.
Owiredu, P., Wongnaa, C.A., Acheampong, P.P., Addison, M., Agyei Adu, K. and Awunyo-Vitor, D. (2022), "Farmer Business School participation and its impact on cocoa productivity and food security in Ghana", Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JADEE-05-2022-0102
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