|Agricultural Expansion and Pioneer Settlements in the Humid Tropics (UNU, 1988, 305 pages)|
|14. The land Tenure and agrarian system in the new cocoa frontier of Ghana: Wassa Akropong case study|
Due to the luxuriant forest vegetation the cost of establishing a new farm is high. Thus the farm size would, to some extent, depend on the capital available for employing labour for clearing and preparing the virgin forest land for cultivation or on the amount of family labour or the type of technology used for farming. Of the heads of household interviewed, 43.6 per cent (109) had obtained credit. The vast majority, 66 (60.5%), used the loans for production, while 12 (11.0%) borrowed the money for consumption.
Only 3 farmers (2.7%) had used land as collateral. The majority of the farmers had obtained their loans from the Rural Bank, which was established three years ago at Wassa Akropong, although a significant number had borrowed money from money lenders and kinsmen.
TABLE 1. Types of tenure of farmers interviewed in Wassa Akropong
1st parcel of land
2nd parcel of land
3rd parcel of land
Most of the farmers (193, or 77.2%) used hired labour on their holdings. At the same time, 148 (59.2%) respondents depended on members of their family as a source of labour. Few farmers (28) had permanent labourers; 15 employed one labourer each.
The main tools used for tillage were simple: machete, hoe, axe, and the earth chisel, and for harvesting, cutlass, knives, and cocoa picker. In a few cases a chain saw was hired for felling trees if petrol could be obtained. There have not been any significant changes in technology in the last twenty years.
Pesticides, especially Gamallin 20, are used for spraying cocoa trees, but with the increasing high cost and the scarcity of fuel and lubricants, its use is becoming less and less popular, to the detriment of the cocoa trees. For instance, 46 per cent of the farmers used pesticides 20 years ago. This increased to 72 per cent in the 1970s and dropped to as low as 40.8 per cent at the time of the interviews.
Fertilizers have only recently been introduced in the area, applied mainly with oil palm seedlings. Only 20, 12.8, and 5.2 per cent of the respondents claimed that they had applied chemical fertilizer on their first, second, and third parcels of land respectively.