Title: Combating desertification in the Bawku West District of Ghana: farmers' perception on desertification and project interventions

Author(s): Osman Fuseini
Final project
Year of publication:
Document URL: Link
Supervisors: Sjofn Vilhelmsdottir
desertification, land degradation, combating desertification, farmers’ perception, Ghana


Land degradation together with desertification is a growing threat in Ghana because of socioeconomic and climate factors. The Government of Ghana with the support of international development partners has since the 1980s designed and implemented a number of programmes and projects in the desert-prone areas of the country to reverse land degradation and combat desertification. The Bawku area in Northern Ghana is the most desert-prone region of the country and has therefore attracted extensive attention and development interventions. Yet the land in the area is continuously being degraded by the same causative factors the projects are trying to halt such as deforestation, unsustainable cultivation practices and bush fires. The study emphasizes the need to understand farmers’ perception of project interventions in reversing desertification and to shed more light on why the farmers still follow practices that are driving land degradation. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews with local farmers in two (2) communities within the Bawku West District. The study’s results revealed that the great majority of the farmers are aware of land degradation and threats of desertification in their communities. They are also aware of the benefits of the desertification control projects to their farms and communities, and the responses from the farmers suggested that the projects have led to greater awareness against bush burning and tree felling. Yet, the study’s findings support the proposition that people’s perceptions and attitudes do not always lead to behavioural change/action. The study concludes that it is important for project interventions to incorporate the needs and preferences of the target population at all stages of decision making and particularly to give special attention to people’s perceptions.

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