Female farmers are less likely to leave their crop residues to decompose.
Indeed, they are more likely to use their residues as cooking fuel than their male counterparts.
That is one of the findings of a research by the Environmental Science Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
The research sought to find out the trade-offs in crop residue utilization among smallholder farmers and implications for soil management in the face of climate change risks by small-holder farmers in the transitional and Savannah agro ecological zones of Northern Ghana.
The researchers collected data involving 1,061 households from October 2020 to October 2021.
“We collected data using a mixed method approach in October to December 2020, February to March, and August to October 2021.
“The households were in nine communities selected from the Kintampo South District, Savelugu District and the Lambussie-Karni district,” lead researcher, Prof. Phillip Antwi-Agyei stated.
The scientists found that the major challenges facing farmers in their use of crop residues included; high cost of labour, high labour intensity required to sustain utilized crop residues and cost of transport for collecting and storing crop residues.
They also found that social influence decreases the likelihood of using crop residues as livestock feed but increases the likelihood of burning crop residues.
These findings were made known at a workshop on climate-smart agriculture and climate information for resilient food systems in Kumasi.
The workshop aimed at assessing how climate-smart agriculture and climate information can be mainstreamed to strengthen the resilience of agricultural systems in Ghana.
Prof. Philip Antwi-Agyei therefore wants the design of environmental and agricultural policy to take cognizance of socio-psychological factors to enhance the sustainable management of crop residues.
He also stressed the need to empower farmers through the provision of technical knowledge and the machinery needed for the sustainable utilization of crop residues.
The research was supported by the Future Leaders-African Independent Research (FLAIR) Fellowship funded by the Royal Society, London and the University of York through the GCRF & Newton Fund Consolidation Award.
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