Linking Programme Planning Approaches to Livelihood Outcomes of Farmers: a Case Study of Agricultural Extension Services in Ghana



This study aimed to find out the effect of linking programme planning approaches to livelihood outcomes of farmers and verify which approach is likely to reduce poverty among farmers. The research problem confronting us is that livelihood outcomes of rural farmers have not been improved over the years despite several planning approaches used by Agriculture Extension Services to deliver programmes to farmers. The population of study was Agricultural Extension Agents of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and farmers they provide services to. A multi-stage stratified sampling technique was used to randomly select eight districts out of a total of two hundred and sixteen (216) districts from the ten (10) regions of Ghana based on the four climatic and vegetation zones of the country. Two districts were randomly selected from each zone. A total of eighty-six (86) Agricultural Extension Agents and four hundred and two (402) farmers were interviewed. Districts were categorised into three as having (1) high, (2) medium and (3) low characteristics of the use of outcome logic model in programme delivery. Survey interview  questionnaires  were  usedcotollect  information  from  Agricultural  Extension Agents (AEAs) and their farmers. Data collected were coded and analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Descriptive statistics, Kruskal-Wallis H Test and Mann-Whitney U Test were used to describe and analyse data. Farmers operating in districts with high characteristics of OLM approach of planning of programmes received high training, practised more extension packages, had better access to financial and physical assets and achieved high overall livelihood outcomes The study showed that programmes delivered by agricultural extension services which all stakeholders were involved in the initial planning process that identified the outcomes to be achieved and ensured that the needed resources were provided to carry out planned activities improved the performance and livelihood outcomes of farmers. It is recommended that the Outcome Logic Model approach should be the tool for planning pro-poor programmes by Agricultural Extension Services in Ghana since it has the potential of improving the performance and livelihood outcomes of farmers.




Agricultural extension and advisory services play an important role in agricultural development and can contribute to improving the welfare of farmers and other people living in rural areas (Waddington et al. 2010). Agriculture has been observed to hold the key to poverty reduction and improvement in livelihoods of rural people engaged in farming in many developing countries (GRASP, 2009: IFPRI, 2010) with Ghana as no exception. This chapter examines the global concern of improving livelihoods of farmers, the concern area, effect of agricultural strategies on poverty reduction, the research problem, research questions research hypotheses, objectives, the significance of the study as well as operational definitions of terms used in the study are covered.


1.0              Global focus on improving livelihoods of farmers


The development goal of improving the livelihoods of farmers has been the concern of both the developed and developing countries and it has become an issue which has been set out to be implemented by all countries especially the developing countries. In the 21st century, agriculture continues to be a fundamental instrument for sustainable development and poverty reduction. It is estimated that three out of every four poor people in developing countries live in rural areas—2.1 billion living on less than $2 a day and 880 million on less than $1 a day— and most depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Given, where they are and what they do best, promoting agriculture is imperative for meeting the Millennium Development Goal


(MDG) of halving poverty and hunger by 2015 and reducing poverty and hunger for several decades thereafter (World Bank, 2007).


The World Development Report (WDR) 2004 focused on those services that have the most direct link with human development. These included education, health, water, sanitation, electricity and explored the many dimensions of poverty, through outcomes of service delivery for poor people. It stipulated that access to affordable services  was low especially  for poor people in addition to a wide range of failures in quality. It suggested that the complexity of accountability must be established, as well as instruments for reforming institutions to improve services both in developing, and developed countries (World Bank, 2003).


Earlier, the World Development Report (2000/2001) with the theme “Attacking Poverty” argued that major reductions in all dimensions of poverty are possible–that the interaction of markets, state institutions, and civil societies can harness the forces of economic integration and technological change to serve the interests of poor people and increase their share of society’s prosperity. In another development, in the year 2000, because of the importance attached to improvement in the livelihoods of the poor, 189 nations made a promise to free people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations. This pledge became the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be achieved by 2015 (UN, 2000). The eight Millennium Development Goals sought to


  • Eradicate extreme poverty and


  • Achieve universal primary


  • Promote gender equality and empower


  • Reduce child


  • Improve maternal


  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other


  • Ensure environmental


  • Develop a global partnership for


Recognizing the importance of agriculture to the economies of its member states and the many challenges faced in reducing poverty and enhancing food security on the continent by the African Union (AU), its New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), created an agricultural initiative called the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in 2003. African governments committed through the Maputo Declaration to increase public investment in agriculture to a minimum of 10 per cent of their national budgets and to raise sector growth by at least 6 per cent by 2008. The CAADP was to become a common framework for accelerating long term agricultural development and growth in order to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty through agriculture (GRASP, 2009; IFPRI, 2010).


Together, these show that poverty reduction and enhancing livelihoods of the actors especially the smallholder in agriculture has taken centre stage of the development agenda. Since agriculture is Ghana’s most important economic sector, employing more than half the population on a formal and informal basis and accounting for almost half of GDP and export earnings (Asafo-Adjei, 2011), Ghana has actively supported and implemented such global poverty reduction strategies through planned public sector agricultural programmes carried out by the Department of Agricultural Extension Services of the Ministry of Food and


Agriculture at the National and Regional levels and the District Agricultural Development Units (DADU) of the Municipal/District Assemblies.


1.1              Geographic and demographic background of Ghana


The Republic of Ghana has Accra as its capital and has a population of 24.22 Million. It has population growth of 2.4% per annum. The country lies Latitude 4o 44’N and 11 11’N; and Longitude 3 o 11’ W and 1 o 11’E with a coastline of 550 km long. The principal agricultural exports include Cocoa, Timber, Horticultural Products, Fish/Sea Foods, Game & Wildlife while the principal mineral resources are Gold, Bauxite, Manganese and Diamond (MoFA, 2010).


  • Agro-Ecological Zones


There are 5 main agro-ecological zones defined on the basis of climate, reflected by the natural vegetation and influenced by the soils. These are Rain Forest, Deciduous Forest, Transitional Zone, Coastal Savanna and Northern Savanna (Guinea and Sudan Savanna) (MoFA, 2010).


  • Climate


The climatic condition of the country consists of warm and comparatively drier tropical eastern coastal belt, hot and humid south west corner is and hot and dry northern section. The temperatures ranges from an annual average of 26.10 C in places near the coast to 28.90 C in the extreme north however temperatures can move into the 40s. The highest temperatures are recorded in the Upper East Region, specifically at Navrongo (MoFA, 2010).





1.2.3        Topography


The topography is predominantly undulating, with slopes less than 1%. Even though the slopes are gentle, about 70% of the country is subject to moderate to severe sheet and gully erosion (MoFA, 2010).


1.2.4          Soils


The soils have predominantly light textured surface horizons in which sandy loams and loams are common. Lower soil horizons have slightly heavier textures varying from coarse sandy loams to clays. Heavier textured soils occur in many valley bottoms and in parts of the Accra Plains. Many soils contain abundant coarse material either gravel and stone, or concretionary materials which affect their physical properties, particularly their water holding capacity (MoFA, 2010).


1.2.5          Farming Systems


Agriculture is predominantly on a smallholder basis in Ghana. About 90% of farm holdings are less than 2 hectares in size, although there are some large farms and plantations, particularly for rubber, oil palm and coconut and to a lesser extent, rice, maize and pineapples. Main system of farming is traditional. The hoe and cutlass are the main farming tools. There is little mechanized farming, but bullock farming is practiced in some places, especially in the North. Agricultural production varies with the amount and distribution of rainfall. Soil factors are also important. Most food crop farms are intercropped. Mono cropping is mostly associated with larger-scale commercial farms (MoFA, 2010).


1.2.6          Political Boundaries


Ghana is   divided   into   ten regions (capitals in   parentheses).   These   are   Ashanti   Region (Kumasi), Brong –Ahafo (Sunyani), Central Region (Cape Coast), Eastern Region (Koforidua), Greater Accra (Accra), Northern Region (Tamale), Upper East Region (Bolgatanga), Upper West Region (Wa), Volta Region (Ho) and Western Region (Sekondi- Takoradi)


1.2.7          The study area


The study was carried out in eight (8) districts in the ten regions of the country. They are:


  • West Mamprusi District- Northern Region,


  • Talensi Nabdam- District-Upper East Region,


  • Manpong Municipal-Ashanti Region,


  • Suhum Municipal-Eastern Region,


  • Twifo Ati-Morkwa-Central Region,


  • Kpando Municipal-Volta Region,


  • Tano North District-Brong Ahafo Region and


  • Shama District-Western


Apart from the two districts representing the three northern regions of the country which have uni-modal rainy season, the remaining six (6) districts have bi-modal rainy season. Land tenure system comprises of stool lands, leasehold and share cropping. There is also the possibility of outright sale of land to large scale commercial farmers.

The major crops grown are maize, cassava, plantain,vegetables (tomatoes, garden eggs, pepper, okro, onion), cocoyam, yam, cocoa, oil palm and citrus whilst poultry, sheep and


goats are the major animals reared. With regard to the northern districts, the predominant crops grown are maize, sorghum, millet rice, vegetable (tomatoes, pepper, okro, garden eggs), tubers (sweet potatoes, frafra potatoes and yams).


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