Other themes

Here you can find information on topics that go beyond the eight major thematic areas. If you are interested in acting as theme coordinator for an additional topic, please contact the BiomassNet administrator.

Adeyemo, T.A., Abass, A., Amaza, P., Okoruwa, V., Akinyosoye, V. & Salman, K.K.. 2015. Increasing smallholders’ intensity in cassava value web: effect on household food security in Southwest Nigeria. Conference on international research on food security, natural resource management and rural development (NA): NA pp.

Although cassava production and processing is on the increase in Nigeria, there is still a large gap to be filled in meeting the food and raw material need of the country in terms of cassava products and by-products. The reported increase in area cultivated with cassava has not been translated to higher resource use efficiency or productivity, thus cassava smallholders have low physical and economic returns on their activities. This has serious implications for their well-being attributes, chiefly food security. A value web system, involving multiple enterprises within interconnected value chains, has been proposed as a strategy for smallholders to increase resource use efficiency and financial benefits. This study examined the levels of intensity by which cassava smallholders utilise the cassava biomass using available resources. It also isolated the determinants of the different levels of participation in the cassava biomass value web. The study further investigated the effect of higher intensity of cassava biomass utilisation by smallholders on the food security status of their households with respect to their calorie intake and dietary diversity. The study also profiled the different risks to food security based on the level of intensity of the smallholders’ participation in the cassava value web. The research used data from a survey of 150 cassava smallholders, from 7 local government areas in Ogun state Nigeria. The results revealed that food security status of households using the cost of calorie index generally increased with increasing intensity of participation in the cassava value web. Dietary diversity of households also increased with an increase in the intensity of participation in the cassava web. Smallholders who are multitasking are also less vulnerable to food insecurity. The study also found that smallholders are rational and respond to changes in market conditions for their products and are willing to take more active roles in the cassava value web. Policy thrust should thus focus on increasing market opportunities for smallholders which will serve as incentives to take more active roles in the cassava value web, with consequence for their productivity, income and hence food security.

Show details Posted by : Temitayo A. Adeyemo

K. Amakwah, A. Shtaltovna, G. Kelboro and A.K. Hornidge. 2016. A critical Review of the Follow-the-Innovation approach: Stakeholder Collaboration and Agricultural Innovation Development. African Journal of Rural Development (Vol. 1, No. 1): 35-49 pp.

Technological innovations have driven economic development and improvement in living conditions
throughout history. However, the majority of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa have seldom adopted
or used science-based technological innovations. Consequently, several scholars have been persistently
questioning the effectiveness of intervention models in smallholder agriculture. Following the agricultural
innovation systems framework (AIS), this paper reviews a participatory framework known as the ‘Follow
the Innovation’ (FTI) approach, which was developed in the research project ‘Economic and Ecological
Restructuring of Land and Water Use in Khorezm’ (2001 – 2012) and employed in an ongoing BiomassWeb
project ‘Improving food security in Africa through increased system productivity of biomass-based value
webs’ (2013 – 2018). The review shows a need for a broader definition of innovation as an outcome of
collaborative or collegiate participation of multi-stakeholders processes requiring scientists, extensionists,
local communities and other stakeholders to perform five key tasks jointly. Salient implications of this
review are highlighted for transdisciplinary research (such as in the BiomassWeb project) aiming at
agricultural innovation development in complex environments.

Show details Posted by : Dr. Girma Kelboro

O. A. Amoakoh, D. D. N. Nortey, F. Sagoe, P. K. Amoako and C. K. Jallah. 2017. Effects of pre-sowing treatments on the germination and early growth performance of Pouteria campachiana. FOREST SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (VOL. 13, NO. 2, ): 83–86 pp.

Pouteria campachiana is a multipurpose fruit tree with diverse economic and medicinal significance. However, seed dormancy and low germination are problems for its use in agro-forestry practices. Investigations were carried out on the effect of pre-treatment on the germination and early seedling growth of P. campachiana. Germination was observed in seeds pre-treated with soaking and mechanical scarification in the 5th week after sowing, while untreated seeds germinated in the 7th week. Comparison between mechanically scarified and unscarified P. campachiana seeds showed no significant difference (P > 0.05). The study showed that soaking P. campachina seeds in cold water was not good for its germination, with a significant difference between soaked seeds and non soaked seeds. Percentage germination of seeds not soaked was 62.2% compared to 26.7% and 24.4% recorded for seeds soaked for 24 h and 48 h, respectively. The application of different pre-treatments, however, had no significant (P > 0.05) influence on the mean shoot length, collar diameter, and the number of leaves of P. campachiana. The study concludes that mechanical scarification improves germination of P. campachiana while soaking with cold water has a negative influence on seed germination.

Show details Posted by : Alex Owusu Amoakoh

John-Baptist S. N. Naah. 2015. Evaluating impacts of distributed solar home systems in rural communities: Lessons learnt from Ghana Energy Development and Access Project in the Upper West Region of Ghana. Journal of Energy and Narural Resources Management (2): 24-29 pp.

This article made a modest impact assessment of isolated solar home systems (SHSs) installed via recently ended five-year flagship Ghana Energy Development and Access Project (GEDAP) on the livelihoods of rural households in the Upper West Region. A total of 250 solar users in both private households and rural clinics in 65 rural communities across 6 districts were interviewed. Lessons learned in the aspects of energy services provision, financial model, local energy preference and practical setbacks facing installed SHSs through GEDAP are discussed. For instance, in terms of energy preference, majority of rural solar users (50%) preferred grid-tied electricity, although they were not connected to the grid yet as compared to 35% who preferred both grid-tied and off-grid forms of electrification while 15% preferred off-grid solar technology. This then suggests that although off-grid SHSs are a viable alternative energy generation option, they may not necessarily be a panacea for the energy poverty situation in rural Ghana due to setbacks. For off-grid solar electrification to achieve parity with conventional energy sources, a combination of increased system capacity, investment and political will is needed to make SHSs more competitive and deliver sustained quality energy services for deprived rural communities where such place-based energy services are needed most for sustainable rural development.

Show details Posted by : Dr. John-Baptist Naah

John-Baptist S. N. Naah, Johannes Hamhaber. 2015. Lighting up the villages: livelihood impacts of decentralized stand-alone solar photovoltaic electrification in rural northern Ghana. Journal of Natural Resources and Development (5): 1 - 13 pp.

The dynamics of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology dissemination and utilization has taken center stage in recent years on a global scale, aiming to partly address prevailing rampant energy poverty situations particularly in developing countries. This paper evaluates a flagship electrification project called Ghana Energy Development and Access Project (GEDAP). We purposively sampled 250 solar users in 65 villages across 6 districts in the Upper West region which has the country’s lowest level of electricity access and possibly the highest proportion of abject poverty among its inhabitants compared to the rest of the country. Based on the survey, it can be said that the overall impact assessment of the GEDAP-sponsored off-grid solar PV systems on the quality of life of the local beneficiaries was found to be positively marginal. Among all livelihood assets considered, social capital was markedly enhanced by the provision of modern energy services via isolated solar PV systems. Bottlenecks were identified, including limited system wattage capacity, slight dysfunction of some balance of components, higher interest rates, low technical know-how and inadequate monitoring, all of which are negatively affecting the sustainability of the project. Our findings also indicate that satisfaction derived from solar PV electricity supply among local solar customers differed for varied reasons as follows: moderately satisfied (43%), satisfied (52%), and dissatisfied (5%). For a decisive enhancement of rural livelihoods, we strongly recommend up-scaling system wattage capacity and coverage to build up new or improve upon existing livelihood assets through diversification of the income sources of the local inhabitants.

Show details Posted by : Dr. John-Baptist Naah