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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5374
Vol. 10, No. 9, 2010, pp. 4060-4078
Bioline Code: nd10096
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 10, No. 9, 2010, pp. 4060-4078

 en Socioeconomic survey of traditional commercial production of cocoyam and cocoyam leaf
Quaye, W.; Adofo, K.; Agyeman, K. O. & Nimoh, F.

Abstract

Cocoyam, Xanthosoma sagittifolium, is cultivated for human nutrition, animal feed, and cash income for both farmers and traders. As food for humans, its nutritional value includes carbohydrate, minerals and vitamins . Despite its socioeconomic importance, cocoyam production in Ghana is beset with challenges such as lack of improved varieties for commercial production and post-harvest losses of cocoyam leaves. To address these challenges, a socioeconomic baseline survey was conducted to provide benchmark information on commercial cocoyam and cocoyam leaf production for further research under the Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP). A total of 110 randomly selected cocoyam farmers were interviewed in Fanteakwa District of the Eastern region of Ghana. Survey findings showed that cocoyam production levels were very low with an average acreage of 0.8 hectares per farmer and yield of 6.2mt per hectare as compared to achievable yields of 8.0mt per hectare. Majority (92%) of the farmers interviewed cultivated cocoyam for both cormels and leaves. However, harvesting of cocoyam leaves was only undertaken when cormels were matured. Cocoyam production in the Fanteakwa District was profitable. For a hectare of cocoyam farm, total cost of production, total revenue and net revenue were $669, $1426 and $757 respectively. Some of the problems besetting the cocoyam industry enumerated by the farmers interviewed include high cost of planting material, lack of knowledge on improved varieties and limited access to credit. Availability of harvestable cocoyam leaves was seasonal. In order to stimulate supply response to high market demand in the dry season, intensive mono cropping management practices under irrigation is recommended. Development of a comprehensive cocoyam/cocoyam leaf production and marketing strategy in Ghana and dissemination of existing improved cocoyam varieties through effective extension activities is also recommended. Farmers interviewed suggested that varietal improvement research should focus on superior qualities such as early maturing, high yielding and resistance to disease and pest.

Keywords
cocoyam, production, profitability, constraints, Ghana

 
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