DEVELOPMENT OF DESIGN CRITERIA AND OPTIONS FOR PROMOTING LAKE RESTORATION OF LAKE BOSOMTWE AND IMPROVED LIVELIHOODS FOR SMALLER-HOLDER FARMERS NEAR LAKE BOSOMTWE - GHANA, WEST AFRICA
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The Lake Bosomtwe impact crater is located in the Ashanti region of Ghana, West Africa. The impact crater diameter from rim to rim is approximately 10.5 km wide with a lake located at the center. Three different districts touch the lake containing 155,000 hectacres of land. There are approximately 7,500 people from 24 villages, and 12 of those villages reside within walking distance of the lake shore. Within the last ten years, the lake has been subjected to overfishing and environmental degradation. The health of the lake has declined due to overfishing and algae blooms caused by improper fertilization rates. Because of these factors, residents of the area have been forced to transition to subsidence farming as their main vocation. According to the Ghana Statistical Service group, 97.6% of the population participates in some form of rural crop farming (Ghana Statistical Service, 2010). Experience with common practices such as crop rotation, fertilizer use, and erosion control is extremely limited. The lake has not been recommended for recreational use due to the excess runoff in the form of agrochemicals, liquid, and organic waste. Caged aquaculture and traditional fishing within Lake Bosomtwe is currently illegal.
A comprehensive Institutional Review Board (IRB) survey was developed for the six primary research questions to be examined. From these six research questions, 147 specific questions were developed. Three of the 147 questions were to obtain Global Positioning System (GPS) data for community households, pit latrines, and water wells or boreholes. This study sought to interview 10-15 farmers per village, for each of the 12 villages located along the shore of Lake Bosomtwe of their perspective on land use change/cover in the Lake Bosomtwe area, current farming practices, current water sanitation and hygiene practices, and current fishing practices. These surveys were collected in the form of oral responses, for which 118 small-holder farmers were interviewed. Of the participants surveyed, 66% were qualified to answer all questions, and 100% of participants completed the survey.
Some specific statistical tests were conducted based of market assessment survey. It was determined that no association between gender and level of education existed. Meaning, that female participants interviewed have just as many opportunities as male participants to pursue education beyond Junior High School (JHS). Yield averages between the villages on the north side of the lake with road access and villages on the southern portion of the lake with limited to no road access were determined to be significantly different. It was determined that road access does affect village yield. When comparing average usable yields between villages located on the northern side of the lake with road access or between villages on the southern side of the lake with limited to no road access, these results were not statistically significant. No significant difference in the scores for villages with road access on the northern side of the lake and villages with limited to no road access on the southern side of the lake existed. Therefore, road access does not affect village usable yield. Through statistical analysis an association was determined between people who practice bathing and washing in the lake and those who practice fishing as a form of livelihood.
Four decision matrices were created to prioritize the following items: Farm Components, technologies to showcase at an appropriate technology center, improved farming practices to showcase through Demonstration Plots, and extension outreach topics. The top three results for the Farm Components were: Appropriate Technology Center (ATC), Demonstration Plots, and a Micro-Credit Union. The top three technologies to showcase as part of the ATC are: PICS Bags, Moisture Meters, and Above-Ground Aquaculture. The three demonstration plots recommended terracing/erosion control, crop rotation, and cover crops. The highest priority extension outreach topics were: basic home/farm finance, improving health through washing stations, and post-harvest loss prevention. The top three priorities of each decision matrix will be the focus of further study, so that these topics can be developed and programs focusing on these needs can be implemented in collaboration with the community partners.