Advanced

The Ecological Limits of Poverty Alleviation in an African Forest-Agriculture Landscape

Morel, Alexandra C. ; Hirons, M. ; Adu Sasu, Michael ; Quaye, Marvin ; Ashley Asare, Rebecca ; Mason, John ; Adu-Bredu, Stephen ; Boyd, Emily LU ; McDermott, Constance L. and Robinson, Elizabeth J.Z. , et al. (2019) In Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 3.
Abstract

Cocoa yields in Ghana remain low. This has variously been attributed to low rates of fertilizer application, pollinator limitation, and particularly dry growing conditions. In this paper we use an African forest-agriculture landscape dominated by cocoa (Theobroma cacao) to develop an ecological production function, allowing us to identify key ecological and management limits acting on cocoa yields simultaneously. These included more consistent application of fertilizers inter-annually, distributing rotting biomass throughout the farm and reducing the incidence of capsid attacks. By relaxing these limits, we estimate plausible increases in yields and, by extension, farm incomes. Our analysis reveals that resulting increases in cocoa... (More)

Cocoa yields in Ghana remain low. This has variously been attributed to low rates of fertilizer application, pollinator limitation, and particularly dry growing conditions. In this paper we use an African forest-agriculture landscape dominated by cocoa (Theobroma cacao) to develop an ecological production function, allowing us to identify key ecological and management limits acting on cocoa yields simultaneously. These included more consistent application of fertilizers inter-annually, distributing rotting biomass throughout the farm and reducing the incidence of capsid attacks. By relaxing these limits, we estimate plausible increases in yields and, by extension, farm incomes. Our analysis reveals that resulting increases in cocoa yields requiring both ecological and intensive management interventions could be significant (113 ± 60%); however, benefits are disproportionately realized by the wealthiest households. We found that wealthier households benefited proportionally more from ecological intensification methods (e.g., leaving more rotting biomass in their farms) and the poorest households benefited proportionally more from capital-intensive intensification methods (e.g., pesticide and fertilizer applications). We treated poverty as multi-dimensional, and show that only certain dimensions of poverty (school attendance, assets, and food security) are significantly related to cocoa incomes, while several other dimensions (access to clean water, sanitation and electricity, and infant mortality) are not. We explore how increased household cocoa incomes could impact different dimensions of poverty. Our findings suggest, that if all households adopted the optimal level of each of these management options, and in so doing had similar poverty profiles to those households already managing optimally, we would see the community-averaged probability: a child of a household misses school decrease from 47 to 31%, a household would be able to acquire assets increase from 40 to 59% and a household would have access to an adequate amount of food increase from 62 to 79%.

(Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
, et al. (More)
(Less)
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
agroforestry, cocoa, ecological production function, ecosystem services, poverty alleviation
in
Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems
volume
3
article number
57
publisher
Frontiers Research Foundation
external identifiers
  • scopus:85077527112
ISSN
2571-581X
DOI
10.3389/fsufs.2019.00057
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0640e601-ef0d-47b5-9eca-18e3da05e8ae
date added to LUP
2020-01-27 12:45:24
date last changed
2020-08-12 09:00:44
@article{0640e601-ef0d-47b5-9eca-18e3da05e8ae,
  abstract     = {<p>Cocoa yields in Ghana remain low. This has variously been attributed to low rates of fertilizer application, pollinator limitation, and particularly dry growing conditions. In this paper we use an African forest-agriculture landscape dominated by cocoa (Theobroma cacao) to develop an ecological production function, allowing us to identify key ecological and management limits acting on cocoa yields simultaneously. These included more consistent application of fertilizers inter-annually, distributing rotting biomass throughout the farm and reducing the incidence of capsid attacks. By relaxing these limits, we estimate plausible increases in yields and, by extension, farm incomes. Our analysis reveals that resulting increases in cocoa yields requiring both ecological and intensive management interventions could be significant (113 ± 60%); however, benefits are disproportionately realized by the wealthiest households. We found that wealthier households benefited proportionally more from ecological intensification methods (e.g., leaving more rotting biomass in their farms) and the poorest households benefited proportionally more from capital-intensive intensification methods (e.g., pesticide and fertilizer applications). We treated poverty as multi-dimensional, and show that only certain dimensions of poverty (school attendance, assets, and food security) are significantly related to cocoa incomes, while several other dimensions (access to clean water, sanitation and electricity, and infant mortality) are not. We explore how increased household cocoa incomes could impact different dimensions of poverty. Our findings suggest, that if all households adopted the optimal level of each of these management options, and in so doing had similar poverty profiles to those households already managing optimally, we would see the community-averaged probability: a child of a household misses school decrease from 47 to 31%, a household would be able to acquire assets increase from 40 to 59% and a household would have access to an adequate amount of food increase from 62 to 79%.</p>},
  author       = {Morel, Alexandra C. and Hirons, M. and Adu Sasu, Michael and Quaye, Marvin and Ashley Asare, Rebecca and Mason, John and Adu-Bredu, Stephen and Boyd, Emily and McDermott, Constance L. and Robinson, Elizabeth J.Z. and Straser, Robert and Malhi, Yadvinder and Norris, Ken},
  issn         = {2571-581X},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {07},
  publisher    = {Frontiers Research Foundation},
  series       = {Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems},
  title        = {The Ecological Limits of Poverty Alleviation in an African Forest-Agriculture Landscape},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2019.00057},
  doi          = {10.3389/fsufs.2019.00057},
  volume       = {3},
  year         = {2019},
}