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NGO grassroots participatory approaches to promoting sustainable agriculture: reality or Myth in Ghana's Upper-West Region?

  • Alexis Beyuo (a1)

Many NGOs pride themselves with their ability to use grassroots participatory approaches when working with economically disadvantaged farmers. I asked whether current participatory approaches could be relied on to promote sustainable agriculture among subsistence farmers in Ghana's Upper-West Region. To ascertain this, I employed Arnstein's (2015) ladder of citizen participation as a theoretical basis. A two-phase exploratory sequential mixed method design was also used. Phase one consisted of a qualitative comparative analysis of the various participatory approaches of two purposively sampled NGOs using FGDs and in-depth interviews. In phase two, themes from phase one guided the formulation of a structured questionnaire, which ascertained the differences in grassroots participatory approaches between the two identified NGOs and how these differences influenced the likelihood of their respective beneficiary farmers adopting sustainable agronomic practices using chi-square and logistic regression. Findings show statistically significant associations between grassroots participation and farmers’ adoption of sustainable agronomic practices. The findings suggest that farmers who were engaged in higher levels of Arnstein's (2015) typology of participation were more likely to adopt sustainable agronomic practices than those who minimally participated. This suggests that development interventions can be most beneficial to the grassroots when intended beneficiaries fully participate in them.

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