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Climate Change and Seed Security Among Smallholder Farmers in Northern Ghana

Authors: Michael Madin*, University of Denver
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Africa, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: Climate change, Conflict, Seed, Smallholder, Households
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Adequate access to adaptable and desired seeds at all times among smallholder households is considered critical for sustainable livelihood outcomes. However, evidence shows that smallholder farmers in Africa are less likely to adopt improved seed varieties amid climate stress compared to other parts of the world. This situation has received recent scholarly attention toward understanding factors such as socio-cultural characteristics of the farmers, economic status, ecological conditions, climate variability, and politics affecting seed security in Africa. Yet, only a very few of these studies have investigated climate change and its intersection with other factors in influencing the farmers seed security. This approach has resulted in an analysis that often failed to account for the multifaceted context of seed networks, access, and security. Given this knowledge gap, this study adopted a mixed-methods approach to assess the experiences of seed insecurity among smallholder farmers in northern Ghana using a political ecology framework. A total random sample of 429 households was surveyed, with 189 in Buma village and 240 in Makayili. This was followed by data from 20 in-depth interviews, three institutional data records, and two separate focus group discussions with men and women. It emerged from the analysis that perceived climate change impacts serve as the main factor influencing farmers' decisions on seeds selection and cropping type. The result also shows that even the most experienced farmers are admitting to the inability of their longtime gained indigenous knowledge to help effectively adapt amid the intersection of the factors affecting their seed security.

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