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Tropentag, September 14 - 16, 2022, Prague

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

Pest risk information, agricultural outcomes and household welfare: Evidence from Ghana

Justice Tambo

CABI, Justice Tambo, Switzerland


Crop pests are a major challenge to agricultural productivity, environmental sustainability and food security worldwide. To address this challenge, farmers need timely alerts on pest outbreaks and information on how to sustainably manage crop pests. In this study, we assess the impact of an information intervention that leverages space-age technology to provide early warning pest alerts and integrated pest management (IPM)-based advice to smallholder farmers. In particular, we analyse the short-term effects of pest risk information on outcomes ranging from farmer knowledge to household welfare using survey data from 888 farm households and 1305 maize plots in Ghana. Regression results show that exposure to the pest risk information campaign is significantly associated with increases in farmers’ knowledge on how to identify and sustainably control the highly destructive fall armyworm pest using agroecological approaches. We also find evidence that the receipt of pest risk information increases the likelihood of pest control at the optimal timeframe and the adoption of IPM practices, resulting in a 4.5% gain in maize productivity. Results further show that the recipients of pest risk information significantly improve their household income per adult equivalent by 3% and have a 22 percentage points lower probability of experiencing hunger. However, the intervention is negatively associated with household dietary diversity. Finally, a gender disaggregated analysis shows that both female and male recipient households achieve some positive outcomes from the information intervention, but the effects are generally greater for households where the information is jointly received by both spouses. Overall, our findings imply that the dissemination of early warning pest alerts in combination with actionable IPM information to smallholder farmers can play an essential role in boosting the adoption of sustainable crop protection technologies, and ultimately improve the standard of living of farm households.

Keywords: Agricultural extension, food security, gender, household welfare, integrated pest management

Contact Address: Justice Tambo, CABI, Justice Tambo, Rue des grillons 1, 2800 Delémont, Switzerland, e-mail: j.tambo@cabi.org

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