While Conservation Agriculture (CA) provides the agricultural practices that offer a sustainable means to increase productivity, the drudgery in production will simply increase without effective mechanisation. This research project is formed on the premise that mapping the factors that affect farmers’ choice of machinery will aid in the development of a framework for promoting gender-transformative access to and control of machinery within farming communities. Focusing on smallholder farmers in Asutsuare, a local rice production community in Ghana, who do not have fully mechanised production, the project explores the factors influencing farmers’ choice of CA-compliant machinery or a particular mechanisation model, the effect of gender norms on the choice of machinery, and how the choice of machinery influences farm productivity and sustainability.
Data collection from the farmers is via a mixed-method approach, through questionnaires, focus-group discussions and key informant interviews. Data analysis is to be informed by the Theory of Planned Behaviour as a means of developing the ‘choice’ construct within the framework, with econometric models being employed to evaluate the impact on the productivity of the smallholder farmers’ (men, women, and youth) individual machinery choices.
Given the study’s gathering of relatively sensitive data – on smallholder farmers’ choices (which are underpinned by their attitudes and perceived norms) – emphasis is placed on ethical data management and safeguarding. The study will contribute towards promoting effective CA mechanisation in Ghana, to advance the United Nations sustainable development goals and support the attainment of national agricultural intensification targets.