Agriculture plays a vital role in the Ghanaian economy, employing about 60% of the population and contributing to over 19% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Ghana is well-endowed with natural resources that support agriculture, including fertile soil, favorable climate, and abundant water resources.
In this article, we will explore 25 agriculture facts in Ghana that highlight the sector’s importance, challenges, and opportunities.
From crops and livestock to exports and imports, we will delve into the fascinating world of agriculture in Ghana and the critical role it plays in shaping the country’s economy and livelihoods of its people.
25 Agriculture Facts In Ghana
Agriculture is an important sector in Ghana, and it plays a significant role in providing food, employment, and income for its citizens. In this article, we will look at 25 interesting facts about agriculture in Ghana.
Here are 25 interesting facts about agriculture in Ghana that you should know. From the types of crops grown to the challenges facing farmers, these facts will give you a better understanding of how agriculture works in Ghana.
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Fact 1: Cocoa is Ghana’s Main Agricultural Export
Cocoa is Ghana’s main agricultural export and has been a significant contributor to the country’s economy for over a century.
Ghanaian cocoa beans are known for their high quality and are in high demand in global markets, particularly in Europe and the United States.
The cocoa industry in Ghana employs millions of people, from smallholder farmers to traders, processors, and exporters. The sector has also played a vital role in improving the livelihoods of rural communities by providing employment opportunities, generating income, and supporting social development programs.
Fact 2: Ghana is the Second-Largest Cocoa Producer in the World
After Ivory Coast, Ghana is the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, accounting for approximately 20% of global cocoa production.
The country’s cocoa industry is highly organized and regulated, with the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) overseeing the production, marketing, and processing of cocoa beans.
Fact 3: Other Major Crops in Ghana
In addition to cocoa, Ghana is also a significant producer of other crops, including maize, yam, cassava, plantain, and rice.
These crops are grown by smallholder farmers across the country and provide food and income for millions of people.
Maize, for example, is a staple crop in Ghana and is used in the production of several food products, including banku, kenkey, and porridge. Yam is also an important crop and is exported to countries in West Africa.
Fact 4: Agriculture Employs about 60% of Ghana’s Population
Agriculture is the largest employer in Ghana, employing approximately 60% of the country’s population. Smallholder farmers make up the majority of the sector, with an estimated 80% of farmers operating on less than two hectares of land.
Fact 5: Livestock Farming in Ghana
In addition to crop farming, livestock farming is also a significant aspect of Ghana’s agriculture sector. Poultry farming is particularly popular, with broiler and layer production being the most common types of poultry farming in the country.
Ghana also has a growing cattle and sheep industry, with a significant portion of the livestock raised in the northern regions of the country.
Livestock farming provides income and employment opportunities for farmers and helps to diversify the country’s agriculture sector.
Fact 6: Ghana’s Arable Land
Ghana has approximately 25 million hectares of arable land, but only about 2 million hectares are currently being utilized for agriculture.
This low level of land utilization is due to several factors, including limited access to finance, inadequate infrastructure, and limited use of modern agricultural techniques.
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Fact 7: Climate Change and Agriculture in Ghana
Climate change poses a significant threat to Ghana’s agriculture sector, with changing weather patterns affecting crop yields, livestock production, and fisheries.
The country has experienced increased frequency and intensity of flooding, droughts, and other extreme weather events, which have resulted in reduced crop yields and loss of livestock.
The government of Ghana is working to mitigate the impact of climate change on the agriculture sector by implementing policies and programs that promote climate-smart agriculture, including the Climate-Smart Agriculture and Food Security Action Plan.
Fact 8: Agro-Ecological Zones in Ghana
Ghana has several agro-ecological zones, including the Guinea savanna, Sudan savanna, and the coastal savanna.
Each of these zones has unique soil types, weather patterns, and vegetation, which affect the types of crops and livestock that can be grown in the region.
For example, the Guinea savanna is known for its production of maize, yam, and cowpea, while the coastal savanna is ideal for the cultivation of crops such as cassava and plantain.
Fact 9: Smallholder Farmers in Ghana
Smallholder farmers are the backbone of Ghana’s agriculture sector, with an estimated 2.5 million farmers operating on less than two hectares of land.
These farmers produce the majority of the country’s food crops, including maize, yam, cassava, and plantain.
Smallholder farmers face several challenges, including limited access to credit, inputs, and markets.
Fact 10: Ghana’s Food Imports
Despite being an agricultural country, Ghana imports significant amounts of rice, wheat, and poultry to meet domestic demand.
The country’s imports of these food products have increased in recent years due to changing dietary habits and population growth.
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Fact 11: Technology in Ghana’s Agriculture Sector
The use of modern technologies, such as precision agriculture and drone technology, is becoming increasingly prevalent in Ghana’s agriculture sector.
Precision agriculture involves the use of sensors and GPS technology to optimize crop production and reduce waste.
Drone technology is also being used for crop monitoring and yield estimation, particularly in large-scale commercial farming operations. The government of Ghana is promoting the adoption of these technologies through programs like the Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Program, which provides financing for agricultural technology companies.
Fact 12: Ghana’s Fisheries Sector
Ghana’s fisheries sector is also significant, contributing to over 5% of the country’s GDP. The sector employs over 10% of the country’s population and is an important source of protein and foreign exchange.
Ghana’s fisheries face several challenges, including overfishing and illegal fishing, which have led to declining fish stocks.
Fact 13: Smallholder Farmers in Ghana
Smallholder farmers play a critical role in Ghana’s agriculture sector, with an estimated 2.5 million farmers operating on less than two hectares of land.
They produce a diverse range of crops, including maize, cassava, yam, and plantain, and are responsible for a significant portion of the country’s food production.
However, smallholder farmers face numerous challenges, such as limited access to credit, markets, and infrastructure, which hinder their productivity and profitability.
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Fact 14: Ghana’s Food Imports
Ghana is one of the largest importers of rice, wheat, and poultry in Africa, with these products accounting for a significant portion of the country’s food imports.
The increasing demand for these products is due to the growing population, changing dietary habits, and the limited capacity of local producers to meet demand.
However, the government of Ghana is taking steps to reduce the country’s dependence on food imports through initiatives aimed at promoting domestic production, such as the One District, One Factory policy, which seeks to establish agro-processing factories in every district of the country.
Fact 15: Technology in Ghana’s Agriculture Sector
The adoption of modern technologies, such as precision agriculture and drone technology, is transforming Ghana’s agriculture sector.
Precision agriculture involves the use of sensors and GPS technology to monitor crop growth, optimize fertilization and irrigation, and reduce waste.
Similarly, drone technology is being used for crop monitoring, disease detection, and yield estimation, particularly in large-scale commercial farming operations.
These technologies are helping to improve productivity, reduce costs, and enhance the resilience of Ghana’s agriculture sector in the face of climate change and other challenges.
Fact 16: Ghana’s Fisheries Sector
Ghana’s fisheries sector is an important source of food, employment, and foreign exchange. The sector employs over 10% of the country’s population and contributes to over 5% of the country’s GDP.
Ghana’s fisheries are diverse, with over 550 fish species found in the country’s marine and freshwater ecosystems.
Fact 17: Ghana’s Agricultural Research Institutions
Ghana’s Agricultural Research Institutions play a crucial role in driving innovation and advancements in the sector.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, for example, focuses on research in areas such as crop science, animal science, and biotechnology, while the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute specializes in research related to the development of crops and livestock suited to the region’s arid climate.
Fact 18: Agriculture Show in Ghana
The National Food and Agriculture Show in Ghana is an annual event that showcases the latest technologies, equipment, and innovations in Ghana’s agriculture sector.
The show provides a platform for farmers, researchers, and other stakeholders to share knowledge, network, and explore new business opportunities.
Fact 19: Agricultural Extension Agents program in Ghana
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s Agricultural Extension Agents program is an essential service that provides farmers with training, advice, and access to resources to help improve their crop yields and overall farming practices.
The extension agents work closely with smallholder farmers to promote sustainable and profitable agriculture.
Fact 20: Shear Butter Export
Shea butter, a natural fat extracted from the nuts of the shea tree, is a major non-traditional export for Ghana.
The country is one of the world’s leading producers of the product, which is used in cosmetics and skincare products due to its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties.
Pineapple production is an important industry in Ghana, with the fruit being grown in several regions of the country. The country is one of the world’s largest producers of pineapples, and the crop is an essential source of income for many smallholder farmers.
Fact 21: Beekeeping in Ghana
Beekeeping is a growing industry in Ghana, with honey production increasing in recent years. Honey is used in a range of products, including food, cosmetics, and medicines, and is highly valued for its health benefits and nutritional properties.
Fact 22: Hibiscus Cultivation
The cultivation of hibiscus, also known as bissap, is a popular and lucrative crop for farmers in Ghana. The plant is used to make a popular drink, known as hibiscus tea or bissap, which is known for its refreshing taste and health benefits.
Fact 23: Home to several Indigenous Livestock Breeds
Ghana is home to several indigenous livestock breeds, including the West African Dwarf Goat and the N’dama cattle. These breeds are well adapted to the local climate and are an important source of income and food for many smallholder farmers.
Fact 24: Sorghum is the Widely Cultivated Cereal in Ghana
Sorghum, a cereal crop, is widely cultivated in Ghana and is used in the production of porridge, beer, and animal feed.
The crop is well-suited to the country’s hot and dry climate, making it an important staple food for many communities.
Fact 25: Use of Organic Farming in Ghana
The use of organic farming practices, such as composting and crop rotation, is becoming more common in Ghana’s agriculture sector.
Organic farming is seen as a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to agriculture that can help improve soil fertility and reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Benefits of farming in Ghana
- Employment Opportunities: Agriculture employs about 60% of Ghana’s population, making it a significant contributor to the country’s economy.
- Food Security: Farming plays a critical role in ensuring that Ghana has enough food to feed its growing population.
- Income Generation: Farming provides a source of income for farmers and their families, helping to reduce poverty levels in the country.
- Export Earnings: Ghana’s agriculture sector generates significant export earnings, with crops such as cocoa, coffee, and tea being major exports.
- Environmental Benefits: Farming practices such as crop rotation, composting, and agroforestry can help to improve soil health, reduce erosion, and conserve water resources.
Challenges of farming in Ghana
- Climate Change: Ghana is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including erratic rainfall patterns, droughts, and floods, which can negatively impact crop yields and livestock production.
- Lack of Access to Credit: Many farmers in Ghana have limited access to credit, making it difficult for them to invest in their farms and improve productivity.
- Poor Infrastructure: Inadequate infrastructure, such as roads and irrigation systems, can make it challenging for farmers to transport their products to markets and access water resources.
- Pest and Disease Outbreaks: Pest and disease outbreaks can significantly impact crop yields and livestock production, leading to losses for farmers.
- Limited Market Access: Farmers in Ghana often have limited access to markets, making it difficult for them to sell their products at fair prices.
Best farming Practices in Ghana
- Crop Rotation: Crop rotation involves alternating the crops planted in a particular field to improve soil health and reduce the build-up of pests and diseases.
- Conservation Agriculture: Conservation agriculture practices, such as minimum tillage, cover cropping, and mulching, can help to improve soil health, conserve water resources, and reduce erosion.
- Agroforestry: Agroforestry involves planting trees alongside crops and livestock to improve soil health, provide shade, and generate additional income.
- Integrated Pest Management: Integrated pest management involves using a combination of methods to control pests and diseases, including biological control, cultural practices, and chemical treatments.
- Irrigation: Irrigation can help to ensure that crops have access to water throughout the growing season, improving yields and reducing crop losses due to droughts.
Best Crops to Plant in Ghana
- Cocoa: Cocoa is Ghana’s main agricultural export, accounting for over 40% of the country’s total export earnings.
- Maize: Maize is a staple food crop in Ghana, and is widely grown across the country.
- Cassava: Cassava is a drought-resistant crop that is well-suited to Ghana’s climate, and is used to produce a variety of food products, including fufu and cassava chips.
- Plantain: Plantain is a staple food crop in Ghana, and is used to make a variety of dishes, including kelewele and banku.
- Pineapple: Pineapple is a lucrative export crop for Ghana, with the fruit being grown in several regions of the country.
Profitable Livestock to Rear in Ghana
- Poultry: Poultry farming is a lucrative business in Ghana, with chicken and eggs being in high demand.
- Cattle: Cattle rearing is another profitable livestock business in Ghana, with beef being a popular meat in the country.
- Sheep and Goats: Sheep and goats are well-suited to Ghana’s climate and can be reared for meat and milk production.
- Pigs: Pig farming is a growing industry in Ghana, with demand for pork increasing in urban areas.
Five Importance Of Farming In Ghana
Five Importance of Farming in Ghana
#1. Food Security
Farming is crucial to ensure food security in Ghana. It provides the majority of the food consumed in the country, reducing the dependence on imported food and promoting self-sufficiency.
Agriculture is the largest employer in Ghana, providing jobs for over 60% of the population. It is particularly important in rural areas, where other employment opportunities are scarce.
#3. Economic Development
Agriculture is a significant contributor to Ghana’s economy, accounting for around 20% of the country’s GDP. It is also a major source of export earnings, with cocoa being the most important export crop.
#4. Environmental Sustainability
Farming in Ghana is typically small-scale and often uses traditional methods, which are less damaging to the environment than large-scale, intensive agriculture.
Additionally, farmers in Ghana are increasingly adopting sustainable farming practices, such as organic farming and agroforestry, to promote soil health and prevent erosion.
#5. Cultural Heritage
Farming in Ghana is deeply rooted in the country’s cultural heritage, with traditional methods and practices passed down through generations.
Farming is an important part of the social fabric of many communities in Ghana, and the sector plays a key role in preserving traditional knowledge and customs.
Agriculture in Ghana Facts and Figures
- Agriculture is the mainstay of Ghana’s economy, employing over 60% of the population and contributing around 20% of the country’s GDP.
- Cocoa is Ghana’s main agricultural export, accounting for over 40% of the country’s total export earnings. Following Ivory Coast, Ghana is the second-largest cocoa producer in the world.
- Other major crops in Ghana include maize, yam, cassava, plantain, and rice.
- Ghana has about 25 million hectares of arable land, of which only about 2 million hectares are currently being used for agriculture.
- Smallholder farmers make up the majority of Ghana’s agriculture sector, with an estimated 2.5 million farmers operating on less than two hectares of land.
- Ghana imports significant amounts of rice, wheat, and poultry to meet domestic demand.
- The use of modern technologies, such as precision agriculture and drone technology, is becoming increasingly prevalent in Ghana’s agriculture sector.
- Ghana’s fisheries sector is also significant, contributing to over 5% of the country’s GDP.
Types of Farming in Ghana
#1. Crop Farming
This is the most common type of farming in Ghana and involves the cultivation of crops such as maize, yam, cassava, plantain, and rice.
#2. Livestock Farming
This includes the rearing of animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, and poultry.
#3. Fish Farming
Also known as aquaculture, this involves the breeding and cultivation of fish in ponds or tanks.
Beekeeping is a growing industry in Ghana, with honey production increasing in recent years.
This involves the integration of trees into farming systems to promote soil health, prevent erosion, and provide additional sources of income through the sale of timber and non-timber forest products.
Farming in Ghana Today
Farming in Ghana has come a long way since the country gained independence in 1957. Today, the agriculture sector remains a vital part of the country’s economy, with significant investments being made in the sector to improve productivity and sustainability.
Modern technologies, such as precision agriculture, irrigation systems, and drone technology, are increasingly being adopted by farmers to improve crop yields and reduce production costs.
The government is also implementing several initiatives aimed at improving the agricultural sector, including the Planting for Food and Jobs program, which provides farmers with subsidized inputs, equipment, and training.
Despite these efforts, challenges such as climate change, inadequate access to credit and markets, and limited infrastructure continue to hamper the growth of the agricultural sector in Ghana.
However, with continued investment and support, farming in Ghana has the potential to play an even more significant role in the country’s economic development.
From our discourse above, we have provided you with 25 interesting facts about agriculture in Ghana that you should know. From the types of crops grown to the challenges facing farmers, these facts will give you a better understanding of how agriculture works in Ghana.