Daniel Ninson

Factors Affecting Biochar Technology - Adoption by Vegetable Farmers in the Kwahu East District of Ghana

Biochar is a type of charcoal that can be used to condition agricultural soils. The application of Biochar to agricultural soils as a conditioner can improve soil fertility and crop productivity. The agricultural sector of Ghana is characterized by low productivity and low level of technology use. The study sought to assess the factors that influence Biochar technology adoption in amending soils for vegetable production in the Kwahu East district of Ghana. Primary data was collected over the 2011 and 2012 seasons based on a Biochar pilot study carried out in 2011 by Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), Adventist Development and Relieve Agency (ADRA), and Crop Research Institute. The Purposive sampling technique was used to select three communities (Aduamoa, Akwasiho and Suminakese) within the study area where Biochar was introduced in 2011. Respondents were subsequently selected at random yielding a sample size of 156 farmers in 2011 and 89 farmers in 2012. Survey data was analysed using Net Farm Income, Double-hurdle regression model and Garret ranking technique. The study concludes that vegetable production under Biochar adoption was more profitable in Akwasiho in both 2011 and 2012 seasons compared to vegetable production not under Biochar adoption. The profitability associated with vegetable production under Biochar adoption by farmers in Aduamoa was mixed and that of farmers in Suminakese was not statistically significant. The most consistent determinants of adoption were Farmer Based Organization (FBO) membership, access to credit and forum participation. The most consistent determinant of intensity of Biochar adoption was FBO membership. The pressing constraints facing farmers in vegetable production and adoption of Biochar were lack of credit and workload associated with Biochar production respectively. The study recommends that farmers in Akwasiho should continue to use and intensify vegetable production under Biochar since results from that community indicated that this is more profitable than vegetable production without the use of Biochar. Project implementers must intensify training on Biochar use especially for farmers in Aduamoa and Suminakese. More agribusinesses must be encouraged to increase the production and commercialization of Biochar in the study area. Credit institutions must be encouraged to supply farmers with more credit.