Analysing the determinants, constraints and opportunities of smallholder farmers access to input markets: evidence from northern Ghana
Smallholder farmers face multiple constraints in accessing input markets. This study seeks to understand the dynamics that influence input markets in northern Ghana and the opportunities that exist for smallholder farmers to increase their productivity and welfare. Using a random sample of 448 households, the study applied the probit and non-parametric methods in identifying the factors that influence farmers’ access to input markets and the key constraints faced by them. The results show that access to extension services, access to finance, distance to the nearest input market, and input source are significant factors that would be likely to influence farmers’ access to input markets. Lack of finance, poor road network, and low prices of output are the main critically ranked constraints limiting farmers’ access to input markets. Policy initiatives should be geared toward strengthening extension service delivery, farmer education on inputs, improving feeder roads, and encouraging private sector participation in input markets. Available opportunities to leverage on and improve farmers’ access to input markets include the governments’ input subsidy programmes, existing large-scale agricultural projects, private agricultural companies with contract farming models, and extensive network of input dealers and aggregators in the communities. These findings are relevant for farmers, input dealers and policy makers working to improve farmers’ access to input markets.
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