Exploring Perceptions of the Potential of Agricultural Insurance for Crop Risks Management Among Smallholder Farmers in Northern Ghana

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Sumani, John Bosco Baguri
Agricultural insurance; agricultural risks; crop risks management strategies; sustainable farming practice; climate change mitigation; smallholder farmers; Northern Ghana; Agricultural and Resource Economics; Environmental Studies
thesis / dissertation description
Smallholder farmers in Northern Ghana are exposed to multiple agricultural risks, which require various adaptation strategies to address. However, these strategies are only partially effective. Agricultural insurance has been promoted to assist smallholders in low-income countries to manage their key agricultural risks. The Ghanaian government and its collaborating partners introduced three agricultural insurance programs (AIPs) since 2009. In countries other than Ghana, some post-piloting evaluations of AIPs have revealed mixed outcomes, with some schemes resulting in unintended socio-ecological and maladaptive consequences. Despite these concerns, no study has explored the potential of agricultural insurance for smallholders’ crop risks management in Ghana. Thus, this research was undertaken to address this gap. It also investigates stakeholders’ perspectives of the potential of AIPs in promoting sustainable farming agricultural practices and climate change mitigation. I employed a convergent research design to address these issues using stratified, purposeful, and random sampling. Focus groups, informant interviews, and questionnaires were utilized to solicit responses. The resultant data and themes were analyzed using SPSS and Excel. This research revealed that agricultural risks, including those related and unrelated to weather and climate—have been adversely affecting smallholders, and have been addressed by farmers through food rationing, out-migration, and technology-based adaptation strategies. Some reported benefits of AIPs were the motivations to increase crop production, farm investments, and financial protection. This study provides scholarly, practical, regulatory, and policy-focused insight into agricultural insurance growth. My findings indicate that further attention and research are needed to building awareness about AIPs, the design of farmer-sensitive contracts, and their subsidization by government. I recommend future research focus on addressing issues of upstream and downstream agro-risks management and on replicating this study in other geographical locations where smallholder farmers struggle to survive.