Land tenure arrangements, soil conservation measures and productivity in Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana

This study analyzes the impact of land tenure arrangements on farmers’ investment decisions in soil conservation measures at plot-level, while also determining the influence of social networks and income diversification of farms using cross-sectional data from 400 farmers in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana. Tenure arrangements’ influence on the decision of farmers to invest in soil conservation measures is estimated by employing a multivariate probit model, while endogeneity of land tenure arrangements, social capital and off-farm activities are controlled for. The effect of investment on productivity is, unlike tenure arrangements by means of a productivity analysis, examined by propensity score matching which accounts for possible selectivity bias. A dynamic framework examines the relationship between diverse tenure arrangements, social networks and farmer’s investment in productivity enhancing and soil conservation measures. The empirical results show the influence of tenure arrangements, social capital and off-farm activities on farmers’ investment decisions. Farmers who rent land are less likely to invest in manure, a soil improving investment with positive long-term effects. Farmers on sharecropping contracts and under fixed-rentership are more likely to invest in fertilizer, a short-term investment option which decreases soil quality over time. The number of years the plot is under use by the cultivator is positively associated with all investment options, supporting the notion of tenure security as an important factor in investment in soil conservation measures. Investment is driven by social networks. Being part of information networks as well as networks related to other types of assistance is positively related to most investment options. Results using PSM for the impact of investment on productivity reveal that investment in ditches, fertilizer and multiple cropping significantly increases revenue per acre on plot.


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