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Accepted Paper:

Farming under COVID-19 crisis, emerging challenges and decision-making strategies of vegetable farmers in Ghana  

Author:

Rebecca Sarku (Wageningen University and Research & University for Development)

Paper short abstract:

Despite a late arrival, the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 crises including existing and emerging socio-environmental challenges affected rural life and livelihood development. This paper examines the effects of interconnecting factors, and the decision response strategies adopted by farmers.

Paper long abstract:

Despite a late arrival, the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 crises including existing and emerging socio-environmental challenges affected rural life and livelihood development. This paper examines the effects of interconnecting factors, and the decision response strategies adopted by farmers. A qualitative study was carried out in the coastal savanna agroecological farming communities near Accra, Ghana. Findings of the study show that farming was constrained by interconnecting factors such as variable rainfall conditions, the infestation of pests and diseases, increase prices of farm inputs, limited access to the market, and the effects of the COVID-19 measures. Despite these challenges, farmers devised innovative responses to deal with the interconnecting socio-environmental conditions which challenged farming. Albeit; the effects of the COVID-19 situation and other interconnecting socio-environmental effects exacerbated the living conditions of farmers, thereby pushing some groups of people further into the poverty continuum. It also affected the kind of adaption strategies that were adopted by farmers ranging from maladaptation, negative coping, no decision response, positive coping and adaptation. The findings suggest that while resource ownership and access influenced decision-making in response to the interconnecting challenges, socio-cognitive factors such as perceived capacity, personal motivations to carry out decision-making strategies interacted with socioeconomic, weather, and environmental conditions to mediate farmers’ responses. This paper provides findings that are worth reflecting on the complex and interconnecting factors which affected the socio-economic status of farmers and it is relevant for decision-making by researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to develop policies and interventions in Ghana and other developing context.

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COVID-19 and global development challenges: 'unsettling' multidimensional poverty? I