a1 Associate Professor, Department of Business and Social Sciences, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, PO Box 550, Truro, Nova Scotia, B2N 5E3, Canada.
a2 Research Scientist, Socio-Economics Division, Crops Research Institute, PO Box 3785, Kumasi, Ghana.
There is limited documented scientific information on garden production systems managed in developing countries, partly because both researchers and research administrators have, until recently, ignored them as legitimate areas of study, and because such production systems have been regarded as informal production activities, managed outside conventional market and economic channels. Yet in a developing country such as Ghana, these production systems are potentially able to contribute substantially to the food security and health needs of households. This study was aimed primarily at providing critical scientific information for understanding the complex web of production and management factors associated with garden production systems. A total of 300 survey responses, representing the Sudan savannah, Guinea savannah and moist deciduous forest agro-ecological zones of Ghana, were analyzed (27% of respondents were females and 73% were males). Several hypotheses from the field agriculture literature were tested to determine their relevance in garden production systems. Although, for the country as a whole, a variety of garden crops are cultivated, each agro-ecological zone concentrated on a set of four major crops, with the actual food crops differing across agro-ecological zones. The type of protective fencing used was not statistically associated with land tenure (i.e., own versus rented land) status of the gardener (χ2=3.285, P=0.4501). Gender responsibilities in garden production and management tended to be more equally shared in the forest agro-ecology, where garden crops are cultivated for household consumption and for generating family income. In contrast, in the two savannah zones, adult males undertook a disproportionate share of activities to produce garden crops that were primarily for marketing. Valuable information on production and management exist within the traditional garden production systems studied, and range from socio-economic, agronomic and medicinal considerations in selecting garden crops and fruit trees, to ecological monitoring systems and strategies for garden management.
(Accepted March 15 2005)