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Enhancing food security and poverty reduction in Ghana through non-timber forest products farming: Case study of Sefwi Wiawso District

von Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Boon (Autor) Albert Ahenkan (Autor)

Projektarbeit 2008 33 Seiten

Forstwirtschaft / Forstwissenschaft


Table of Contents


1. Introduction

2. Food Security and Poverty
2.1 What is Poverty?
2.2 OECD’s View on Poverty
2.3 Poverty Trends in the World

3. Poverty and Food Insecurity in Ghana
3.1 The Link between Poverty and the Environment

4. Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) Farming
4.1 What are NTFPs?
4.2 NTFPs and Poverty Reduction
4.3 The Need for NTFPs Farming

5. Case Study of Sefwi Wiawso District in the Western Region of Ghana
5.1 The Study Location
5.2 Impacts of NTFPs Harvesting in Sefwi Wiawso District
5.3 NTFPs Farming in Ghana
5.4 Impacts of NTFPs Farming
5.4.1 Empowerment and Income Effects
5.4.2 Education and Health
5.4.3 Food Security
5.4.4 Environmental Benefits of NTFPs Farming

6. Challenges and Prospects of NTFPs Farming
6.1 Policy Vacuum
6.2 Inadequate Finance
6.3 Lack of Inputs and Farm Construction Materials
6.4 Lack of Awareness Creation
6.5 Limited Capacity Building Opportunities
6.6 Marketing Constraints

7. Recommendations for Enhancing the Development and Promotion
of NTFPs
7.1 Formulation of a Visible National NTFPs Policy
7.1.1 Prevention of Deforestation
7.1.2 Sustainable Forest Management
7.2 Provision of Financial Support to NTFPs Farmers
7.3 Supply of Construction Materials
7.4 Need for an Effective Awareness Creation Programme on NTFPs
7.4.1 Vigorous Environmental Education
7.5 Strengthening the Capacity of NTFPs Farmers and Relevant Stakeholders
7.5.1 Establising NTFPs Demonstration Farms
7.5.2 Provision of Technical and Extension Services
7.6 Facilitating Processing and Marketing of NTFPs

8. Conclusions

9. Bibliography


Food insecurity and poverty are the greatest global challenges facing the world today. Their redress is an indispensable requirement for sustainable development in developing countries, particularly in Africa. Poverty continues to be pervasive, intractable and inexcusable in the developing world particularly Sub-Saharan Africa. Extreme poverty ravages the lives of one in every four in the developing world (i.e. 1.2 billion people). The farming of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) is being promoted as a potential solution to the current high rates of malnutrition and poor health of the rural population, the degradation of tropical forests and the spread and intensification of poverty. However, the role of NTFPs in rural development in Ghana remains largely undervalued and understudied. This paper examines the contribution of NTFPs farming in enhancing poverty reduction, food security, sustainable forest management, and livelihoods improvement in the Sefwi Wiawso District (SWD) of the Western Region of Ghana. An exhaustive literature review and analysis of field data collected through administration of questionnaires, interviews and stakeholder consultations indicate that NTFPs are an important tool for addressing poverty amongst marginalised, forest-dependant communities in Ghana. 86% of farmers in SWD depend on NTFPs for income, food and medicine. The results of the study support the call on decision makers and development actors to put NTFPs management on national, regional and district development agendas.

Key Words: Biodiversity, conservation, forest reserves, food security, livelihoods improvement, non-timber forest products, malnutrition, poverty reduction, sustainable forest management.

1. Introduction

Poverty eradication and food security have moved to the centre stage of the global development agenda. They are the greatest global challenges facing the world today. They are indispensable requirements for sustainable development, particularly for developing countries (WSSD, 2002).The world’s leaders pledged their commitment to eliminate hunger, malnutrition and to halt global poverty by 2015 at the World Food Summit in 1996 and the Millennium Summit in 2006 (WFS, 1996). At the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg in 2002, the international community reaffirmed its commitment to develop national and local programmes for sustainable development, poverty eradication and food security was agreed upon. Despite these commitments, the last decade has witness an increased poverty level, especially in developing and transition countries. (OECD, 2001).

Although the proportion of people living in extreme poverty in developing and transition countries fell slightly over the past decade from (42% to 28%), the numbers of poor people steadily increased in most regions except for East Asia (Boon, E.K, 2005). Ten years after the World Food Summit (WFS), the number of undernourished people in the world remains stubbornly high (FAO 2006). Worldwide, 854 million people still remain hungry and undernourished. 820 million of this figure is found in the developing countries (FAO, 2006; USDA, 2007). Today, extreme poverty ravages the lives of one in every four in the developing world (Boon, 2004). Of the estimated 20 per cent of the world’s population (i.e., 1.2 billion people) trapped in severe poverty with less than US$1 per day, 26 per cent are in sub-Saharan Africa (Sackey, 2005).

Clearly, poverty continues to be pervasive, intractable and inexcusable in the developing world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (Boon E.K, 2004). Poverty and hunger are inseparable in developing countries and are the most common triggers for the downward slide in poverty. Poverty is a major cause of food insecurity and sustainable progress in poverty eradication is critical for improving access to food (FAO, 2006). A food paradox exists in contemporary world. Enough food is produced world-wide for satisfying every person. However, while poor health in developing countries is often linked to inadequate food and chronic disease in the rich industrialized countries it is tied to too much food.

2. Food Security and Poverty

Food security is a multi-faceted and flexible concept as is reflected by the many attempts at defining and interpreting it by different organizations and individuals (Maxwell et al, 1992). The most recent definition of food security is that negotiated in the process of international consultation leading to the World Food Summit (WFS) in November 1996 which defines food security as “a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (WFS, 1996; FAO, 2002).

2.1 What is Poverty?

It is generally agreed that there is no universally accepted definition of poverty (Boon E.K, 2005). However, several attempts have been made by different authors and international institutions to find an “acceptable norm” for defining poverty. It is expressed in terms of the income that a household or individual would require to purchase goods and services deemed necessary to sustain his or her physical and social existence. The World Bank Development Report (1990) used $370 per person per year (or US$1 a day) as the absolute poverty line in developing countries and estimated that 1,116 billion people or 33 percent of the population in the developing world are poor (World Bank, 1990).

2.2 OECD’s View on Poverty

The OECD (2001) describes poverty as an unacceptable human deprivation in terms of economic opportunity, education, health and nutrition, lack of empowerment and security. In general, poverty is the inability of people to meet economic, social and other standards of well-being. It covers measures of absolute poverty such as child and infant mortality rates, and relative poverty as defined by the differing standards of each society. Figure 1 depicts a broader framework of the concept of poverty developed by the OECD. It includes all the most important areas in which people of either gender are deprived and perceived as incapacitated in different societies and local contexts. The framework encompasses the casual links between the core dimensions of poverty and the central importance of gender and environmentally sustainable development.

Figure 1: Interactive Dimensions of Poverty and Well-being

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Source: OECD, 2001

Poverty is a multi-dimensional and dynamic construct. The dimensions of poverty can be categorized into five main facets: economic, human, social-cultural, political and protective. The economic dimension of poverty implies ability to earn income, levels of income or low levels of consumption that are socially unacceptable and ability to have assets which are all key to food security, material well-being and social status. The human dimension of poverty includes lack of access to health-care, education, good drinking water, decent housing, and healthy sanitation meant to improve livelihood (Boon E.K., 2005). The socio-cultural dimension includes the ability to participate as a valued member of a community. The political dimension includes lack of voice and political rights. People who lack the ability to participate in decisions that affect their lives directly consider this as a sense of helplessness and a fundamental characteristic of poverty. The protective dimension includes the ability of the people to withstand external shocks such as hunger and food insecurity, natural disasters, economic crises etc.

2.3 Poverty Trends in the World

The World Bank estimates that 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty (World Bank, 2004). This number is growing steadily as civil wars, loss of employment and restructuring of societies are creating newly poor groups (UNESCO, 2002). Extreme poverty ravages the lives of one in every four in the developing world. Of the estimated 20 per cent of the world’s population (i.e., 1.2 billion people) trapped in severe poverty with less than US$1 per day, 26 per cent were in sub-Saharan Africa (World Bank, 2002).

Figure 2: Trends of World Poverty (1981-2001)

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: World Development Indicators 2004

It is clear from Figure 2 that poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to remain crushingly high in contrast to progress made in East Asia and South Asia. Although Asia leads in terms of the numbers of poor people, Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest proportion; nearly half of its population lives in extreme poverty. In fact Africa is the only region in the world where the number of poor people has doubled in the last twenty years. While the situation with respect to poverty reduction has gotten better in the rest of the World, in Africa it has gotten worse! The plight of Africa has been described by Carol Bellamy, head of UNICEF, as the perfect storm of human deprivation, one that brings together impoverishment, the AIDS pandemic and the long standing burdens of malaria, and other diseases (Ofosu-Appiah, 2005).



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Enhancing Ghana Case Sefwi Wiawso District Human Ecology




Titel: Enhancing food security and poverty reduction in Ghana through non-timber forest products farming: Case study of Sefwi Wiawso District