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Tropentag, September 14 - 16, 2022, Prague

"Can agroecological farming feed the world? Farmers' and academia's views."


Potential challenges to precision agriculture technologies development in Ghana: Farmers’ and extension officers’ perspectives

Justice Owusu Domfeh

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Dept. of Geography and Rural Development, Ghana


Abstract


This study investigated the opportunities and challenges of adopting precision agriculture technologies (PATs), specifically Internet of Things (IoTs) among rice farmers and agric extension officers in the Ejisu-Juabeng municipality of Ghana. A survey of 55 rice farmers and 10 extension officers in the municipality was conducted. The random sampling technique was used during the selection of farmers whereas the extension officers were selected on purpose for the study. Results from reliability analysis showed that Cronbach’s alpha coefficients ranged from 0.750 to 0.980 for farmers’ questionnaires and 0.8390.948 for that of the extension officers. Instruments used, thus, showed very good reliability. Quantitative methods of data analysis were used. IBM SPSS version 22.0 was used to generate descriptive statistics and independent sample t-test to analyze the data. Farmers' demographic traits, environmental issues, educational obstacles, economic challenges, and technical challenges were identified as five main challenges to the creation and implementation of future PATs. Also, farmers' age, poor level of education, lack of computer experience, and subsistence farmers with low income were the primary farmer-demographic factors that were projected to pose serious difficulties to precision agriculture development and acceptance in the municipality. The lack of accessible roads to farms, vegetation (mostly forest/trees) posing a challenge to the movement of some precision agriculture (PA) machinery, and the undulating nature of rice field topography were found to be the most significant environmental challenges expected to pose serious challenges to PAT development and adoption. PATs development and implementation in Ghana would face significant hurdles, according to both farmers and extension personnel. There were no significant differences between farmers' and extension officers' perceptions of problems in developing and implementing PATs. This suggests that the municipality's overall chances of developing and implementing PA in rice production were considered to be low. The study recommended, that stakeholders establish a research unit specifically to develop PA technologies and methods that take into account farmers' socioeconomic and demographic circumstances, as well as environmental factors such as soil type, vegetation, and topography of arable rice lands in Ghana. PAT trials on-station should start with these research units, and then on-farm trials should be reproduced on farmlands. Furthermore, early farmer training should be geared at literate farmers, who are more likely to understand and utilize PATs. As a result, while propagating innovations to small-farm holders in Ghana and other developing nations with similar features, these aspects should be considered.


Keywords: Agricultural sustainable development, challenges, information technology, modern agriculture, precision agriculture


Contact Address: Justice Owusu Domfeh, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Dept. of Geography and Rural Development, Ak-621-8048, AK-039-5028 Kumasi, Ghana, e-mail: owusudomfeh730@gmail.com


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