Document Type: Regular articles


Faculty of Mathematical Sciences, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana. Email:;; Tel: +233 243077584.


Crop production diversification into indigenous and neglected food crops could result in increased access by farm households to diverse food nutrients. This paper identifies the determinants of the decisions by farm households in northern Ghana to produce indigenous food crops using a double hurdle model estimation technique. The data show that producer households are relatively larger, with more young children and adult women than non-producer households. Producer households have larger farms that are dispersed in different locations, and are farther away from market centres compared to non-producer households. Decisions on crop choice and farm income utilization are made by women or jointly with men in producer households compared to their non-producer counterparts. Econometric results show that women’s utilization of crop income, farm size, being aware of the nutritional importance of indigenous crops, participation in food security projects, access to credit and distance to a market place significantly influence households decisions to produce indigenous food crops. Also, women’s utilization of crop income, farm size, having multiple land parcels, household size and having a bicycle tend to increase the diversity of neglected/underutilized crops while education, having more children and adult women constrain indigenous crop production diversity. The study recommends, for promoting the production of indigenous crops, strategies including provision of credit, empowerment of women, targeting distant communities relative to market centres and raising awareness about the nutritional relevance of indigenous food crops.


Main Subjects

  1. Aboagye, L., Obirih-Opareh, N., Amissah, L.and Adu-Dapaah, H. (2007). Underutilsed species policies and strategies: analysis of existing national policies and legislation that enable or inhibit the wider use of underutilized plant species for food and agriculture in Ghana. Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species (GFU) Via dei Tre Denari, 472.
  2. Ahn, C. Y., Singh, I.and Squire, L. (1981). A model of an agricultural household in a multi-crop economy: the case of Korea. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 520-525.
  3. Alders, R. G., Ratanawongprasat, N., Schönfeldt, H.and Stellmach, D. (2018). A planetary health approach to secure, safe, sustainable food systems: workshop report.
  4. Ayodele, O.and Shittu, O. (2013). Cost-benefit analysis of melon (egusi) seed and seed-oil yield responses to phosphorus fertilizer application. International Research Journal of Agricultural Science and Soil Science, 3(5): 152-155.
  5. Ayodele, V., Makaleka, M., Chaminuka, P.and Nchabeleng, L. (2011). Potential role of indigenous vegetable production in household food security: A case study in the Limporo Province of South Africa. Acta horticulturae.
  6. Benin, S., Smale, M., Pender, J., Gebremedhin, B.and Ehui, S. (2004). The economic determinants of cereal crop diversity on farms in the Ethiopian highlands. Agricultural Economics, 31(2&3): 197-208.
  7. Carletto, C., Ruel, M., Winters, P.and Zezza, A. (2015). Farm-Level Pathways to Improved Nutritional Status: Introduction to the Special Issue. Journal of Development Studies, 51(8), 945-957.
  8. Chivenge, P., Mabhaudhi, T., Modi, A. T.and Mafongoya, P. (2015). The potential role of neglected and underutilised crop species as future crops under water scarce conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa. International journal of environmental research and public health, 12(6): 5685-5711.
  9. Choa, A., Oob, A. T.and Speelmanc, S. (2016). Assessment of Household Food Security through Crop Diversification in Natmauk Township, Magway Region, Myanmar. Paper presented at the Tropentag 2016: conference on international research on food security, natural resource management and rural development.

10. Cloete, P.and Idsardi, E. (2013). Consumption of indigenous and traditional food crops: Perceptions and realities from South Africa. Agroecology and sustainable food systems, 37(8): 902-914.

11. Cragg, J. G. (1971). Some statistical models for limited dependent variables with application to the demand for durable goods. Econometrica: Journal of the Econometric Society, 829-844.

12. De, U. K.and Chattopadhyay, M. (2010). Crop diversification by poor peasants and role of infrastructure: Evidence from West Bengal. Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics, 2(10), 340-350.

13. Dillon, A., McGee, K.and Oseni, G. (2015). Agricultural production, dietary diversity and climate variability. The journal of development studies, 51(8): 976-995.

14. Ebert, A. W. (2014). Potential of underutilized traditional vegetables and legume crops to contribute to food and nutritional security, income and more sustainable production systems. Sustainability, 6(1): 319-335.

15. Ecker, O. (2018). Agricultural transformation and food and nutrition security in Ghana: Does farm production diversity (still) matter for household dietary diversity? Food Policy, 79: 271-282.

16. Greene, W. H. (2000). Solutions Manual Econometric Analysis.

17. Greene, W. H. (2012). Econometric analysis; Seventh Edition: Pearson Education India.

18. Ghana Statistical Service (GSS). (2012). 2010 Population and Housing Census: Final Results.

19. Ghana Statistical Service (GSS). (2014). Ghana Living Standards Survey Round 6 (GLSS 6): Poverty Profile in Ghana-2005-2013. Accra.

20. Ghana Statistical Service(GSS). (2015). Ghana Demographic and Health Survey 2014. Accra.

21. Heywood, V., Fanzo, J.and Hunter, D. (2013). Overview of agricultural biodiversity and its contribution to nutrition and health. Diversifying Food and Diets: Using Agricultural Biodiversity to Improve Nutrition and Health, 35-67.

22. Ibrahim, H., Rahman, S., Envulus, E.and Oyewole, S. (2009). Income and crop diversification among farming households in a rural area of north central Nigeria. Journal of Tropical Agriculture, Food, Environment and Extension, 8(2): 84-89.

  1. 23.  Islam, A. H. M. S., von Braun, J., Thorne-Lyman, A. L.and Ahmed, A. U. (2018). Farm diversification and food and nutrition security in Bangladesh: empirical evidence from nationally representative household panel data. Food security, 1-20.

24. Jones, A. D. (2017). On-farm crop species richness is associated with household diet diversity and quality in subsistence-and market-oriented farming households in Malawi. The Journal of nutrition, 147(1), 86-96.

25. Jones, A. D., Shrinivas, A.and Bezner-Kerr, R. (2014). Farm production diversity is associated with greater household dietary diversity in Malawi: Findings from nationally representative data. Food Policy, 46: 1-12.

26. Kankwamba, H., Kadzamira, M.and Pauw, K. (2018). How diversified is cropping in Malawi? Patterns, determinants and policy implications. Food security, 10(2): 323-338.

27. Kankwamba, H., Mapila, M.and Pauw, K. (2012). Determinants and spatiotemporal dimensions of crop diversification in Malawi. Project Report produced under a co-financed research agreement between Irish Aid, USAID and IFPRI, Paper(3).

28. Keelan, C. D., Henchion, M. M.and Newman, C. F. (2009). A double-hurdle model of Irish Households' food service expenditure patterns. Journal of International Food & Agribusiness Marketing, 21(4): 269-285.

29. Keylock, C. (2005). Simpson diversity and the Shannon–Wiener index as special cases of a generalized entropy. Oikos, 109(1): 203-207.

30. Krause, H., Faße, A.and Grote, U. (2019). Welfare and food security-effects of commercializing African indigenous vegetables in Kenya. Cogent Food & Agriculture(just-accepted), 1700031.

31. Kumar, N., Harris, J.and Rawat, R. (2015). If they grow it, will they eat and grow? Evidence from Zambia on agricultural diversity and child undernutrition. The journal of development studies, 51(8), 1060-1077.

32. Mabhaudhi, T., Chibarabada, T. P., Chimonyo, V. G. P., Murugani, V. G., Pereira, L. M., Sobratee, N., Govender, L., Slotow, R.and Modi, A. T. (2019). Mainstreaming underutilized indigenous and traditional crops into food systems: a South African perspective. Sustainability, 11(1), 172.

33. Mabhaudhi, T., O’Reilly, P., Walker, S.and Mwale, S. (2016). Opportunities for underutilised crops in southern Africa’s post–2015 development agenda. Sustainability, 8(4): 302.

34. Makate, C., Wang, R., Makate, M.and Mango, N. (2016). Crop diversification and livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe: adaptive management for environmental change. Springer Plus, 5(1): 1-18.

35. Mal, P., Anik, A. R., Bauer, S.and Schmitz, P. M. (2012). Bt Cotton Adoption: A Double-hurdle Approach for North Indian Farmers. AgBioForum, 15(3): 294-302.

36. Maundu, P. M. (1997). The status of traditional vegetable utilization in Kenya. Promoting the Conservation and Use of Underutilized and Neglected Crops (IPGRI).

37. Mburu, S. W., Koskey, G., Kimiti, J. M., Ombori, O., Maingi, J. M.and Njeru, E. M. (2016). Agrobiodiversity conservation enhances food security in subsistence-based farming systems of Eastern Kenya. Agriculture & Food Security, 5(1): 19.

38. Muthoni, J.and Nyamongo, D. (2010). Traditional food crops and their role in food and nutritional security in Kenya. Journal of Agricultural & Food Information, 11(1):36-50.

39. Mwangi, J. K.and Crewett, W. (2019). The impact of irrigation on small-scale African indigenous vegetable growers’ market access in peri-urban Kenya. Agricultural water management, 212, 295-305.

40. Mwaura, S., Muluvi, A.and Mathenge, M. K. (2013). African leafy vegetables and household wellbeing in Kenya: A disaggregation by gender. Retrieved from

41. Nagarajan, L., Smale, M.and Glewwe, P. (2007). Determinants of millet diversity at the household farm and village community levels in the drylands of India: the role of local seed systems. Agricultural Economics, 36(2): 157-167.

  1. 42.  Ndenga, E., Achigan-Dako, E., Mbugua, G., Maye, D.and Ojanji, W. (2011). Agricultural diversification with indigenous vegetables for cash cropping and nutrition: examples from Rift Valley and Central Provinces in Kenya. Paper presented at the II International Symposium on Underutilized Plant Species: Crops for the Future-Beyond Food Security 979.

43. Padulosi, S., Thompson, J.and Rudebjer, P. (2013). Fighting poverty, hunger and malnutrition with neglected and underutilized species (NUS): needs, challenges and the way forward.

44. Pingali, P. (2015). Agricultural policy and nutrition outcomes–getting beyond the preoccupation with staple grains. Food security, 7(3): 583-591.

45. Pingali, P. L. (2012). Green Revolution: Impacts, limits, and the path ahead. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(31): 12302-12308.

46. Rahman, S. (2008). The economic determinants of crop diversity on farms in rural Bangladesh. Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, 5(1), 51-70.

47. Sadoulet, E.and De Janvry, A. (1995). Quantitative development policy analysis (Vol. 5): Johns Hopkins University Press Baltimore.

48. Senyolo, G. M., Wale, E.and Ortmann, G. F. (2018). The determinants of farmers’ decision to produce African leafy vegetables in the Limpopo province, South Africa. African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development, 10(7), 771-778.

49. Shively, G.and Sununtnasuk, C. (2015). Agricultural diversity and child stunting in Nepal. The journal of development studies, 51(8): 1078-1096.

50. Sibhatu, K. T., Krishna, V. V.and Qaim, M. (2015). Production diversity and dietary diversity in smallholder farm households. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(34):10657-10662.

51. 51. Sibhatu, K. T.and Qaim, M. (2018). Farm production diversity and dietary quality: linkages and measurement issues. Food security, 10(1):47-59.

52. Sichoongwe, K., Mapemba, L., Tembo, G.and Ng'ong'ola, D. (2014). The Determinants and Extent of Crop Diversification Among Smallholder Farmers: A Case Study of Southern Province Zambia. Journal of Agricultural Science (1916-9752), 6(11).

53. Tadele, Z. (2009). Role of orphan crops in enhancing and diversifying food production in Africa. Paper presented at the Afr. Techol. Develop. Forum Jour.

54. Taylor, J. E.and Adelman, I. (2003). Agricultural household models: genesis, evolution, and extensions. Review of Economics of the Household, 1(1): 33-58.

55. Van Dusen, M. E.and Taylor, J. E. (2005). Missing markets and crop diversity: evidence from Mexico. Environment and Development Economics, 10(4): 513-531.