Livelihood Sustainability Under Environmental Change: Exploring the Dynamics of Local Knowledge in Crop Farming and Implications for Development Planning in Ghana
The relationship between environmental change, local knowledge systems and livelihood sustainability has received increased scholarly attention over the past few decades. However, the inter-linkages and emerging dynamics of knowledge systems in response to environmental change is still a grey area. This paper explores the dynamics of local knowledge systems for adapting crop farming to environmental change in the Wa Municipality, northern Ghana. The study employed a mixed methods research approach to collect data from four farming communities. Qualitative data was collected through in-depth interviews of Key Informants and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with women, men and youth groups involved in farming. This was complemented by a household survey that targeted 200 farmers. The results show that farmers have resorted to integration of indigenous and new external knowledge systems for diversifying crop varieties and soil and water conservation strategies for adapting crop farming to environmental change, particularly, climate change and soil degradation. Drawing on the results, the paper advocates that Development Planning (DP) should emphasize an Endogenous Development (ED) approach and promote pro-poor approaches to crop diversification and integrated soil and water conservation for achieving inclusive environmental and livelihood sustainability in smallholder agriculture in the Wa Municipality and country at large.