A comparison of farm typology approaches in northern Ghana

K. Kuivanen, M. Michalscheck, S. Alvarez, J.C.J. Groot, K.K.E. Descheemaeker, S. Adjei-Nsi, S.M. Bedi

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic

Abstract

Acknowledging the complex, multi-facetted nature of smallholder farming systems is a pre-requisite
to successfully promoting activities leading towards sustainable intensification. Typologies are used
as tools for navigating and making sense of farming system diversity by the Africa RISING project
(Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation). This is achieved by classifying
farms into groups according to their structural and functional features. The resulting ‘farm types’
may then be considered to constitute ‘recommendation domains’, to which project support may be
targeted, thus maximizing the efficiency and scalability of interventions. Such a grouping exercise
may be performed using various methods, depending on the purpose of the research and the
underlying theoretical approach. Where quantitative techniques can provide reproducible and
generalizable results, qualitative methods provide greater depth of understanding and are useful for
contextualizing heterogeneity within the rural landscape. Because it is important that typologies
meet the standards of science in which accuracy and objectivity are central, as well as the
standards of project outcomes, which are dependent on the different needs and perceptions of
stakeholders, assessing the value and (non-) complementarity of typology approaches is a vital step
in ensuring that future work in the field remains both reliable and relevant. Therefore, this study
aims to compare approaches to typifying the diversity of smallholder farming systems in northern
Ghana, drawing on the results of an etic, researcher-defined classification and an emic, farmerdefined
classification. The former was developed for Africa RISING ‘intervention communities’ in
Ghana’s Northern Region. The types were statistically generated using multivariate analysis, based
on selected variables extracted from recent (2013) survey data. Results suggest six clusters, with
farmers categorized on the basis of resource endowment and production strategies among other
factors. The resulting farm types were validated in the field and compared to a second typology
developed through joint analysis with local farmers. Participatory methods were used to ensure that
the sense-making process was grounded in the perceptions and interests of the farmers and the
resulting categories of farmers a recognizable reflection of local reality.

Conference

ConferenceInternational Conference on Integrated Systems Research
CountryNigeria
CityIbadan
Period3/03/156/03/15

Fingerprint

typology
farming system
smallholder
farm
rural landscape
complementarity
multivariate analysis
resource
comparison
method
Africa
project

Cite this

Kuivanen, K., Michalscheck, M., Alvarez, S., Groot, J. C. J., Descheemaeker, K. K. E., Adjei-Nsi, S., & Bedi, S. M. (2015). A comparison of farm typology approaches in northern Ghana. 32. Abstract from International Conference on Integrated Systems Research, Ibadan, Nigeria.
Kuivanen, K. ; Michalscheck, M. ; Alvarez, S. ; Groot, J.C.J. ; Descheemaeker, K.K.E. ; Adjei-Nsi, S. ; Bedi, S.M. / A comparison of farm typology approaches in northern Ghana. Abstract from International Conference on Integrated Systems Research, Ibadan, Nigeria.
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title = "A comparison of farm typology approaches in northern Ghana",
abstract = "Acknowledging the complex, multi-facetted nature of smallholder farming systems is a pre-requisiteto successfully promoting activities leading towards sustainable intensification. Typologies are usedas tools for navigating and making sense of farming system diversity by the Africa RISING project(Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation). This is achieved by classifyingfarms into groups according to their structural and functional features. The resulting ‘farm types’may then be considered to constitute ‘recommendation domains’, to which project support may betargeted, thus maximizing the efficiency and scalability of interventions. Such a grouping exercisemay be performed using various methods, depending on the purpose of the research and theunderlying theoretical approach. Where quantitative techniques can provide reproducible andgeneralizable results, qualitative methods provide greater depth of understanding and are useful forcontextualizing heterogeneity within the rural landscape. Because it is important that typologiesmeet the standards of science in which accuracy and objectivity are central, as well as thestandards of project outcomes, which are dependent on the different needs and perceptions ofstakeholders, assessing the value and (non-) complementarity of typology approaches is a vital stepin ensuring that future work in the field remains both reliable and relevant. Therefore, this studyaims to compare approaches to typifying the diversity of smallholder farming systems in northernGhana, drawing on the results of an etic, researcher-defined classification and an emic, farmerdefinedclassification. The former was developed for Africa RISING ‘intervention communities’ inGhana’s Northern Region. The types were statistically generated using multivariate analysis, basedon selected variables extracted from recent (2013) survey data. Results suggest six clusters, withfarmers categorized on the basis of resource endowment and production strategies among otherfactors. The resulting farm types were validated in the field and compared to a second typologydeveloped through joint analysis with local farmers. Participatory methods were used to ensure thatthe sense-making process was grounded in the perceptions and interests of the farmers and theresulting categories of farmers a recognizable reflection of local reality.",
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language = "English",
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Kuivanen, K, Michalscheck, M, Alvarez, S, Groot, JCJ, Descheemaeker, KKE, Adjei-Nsi, S & Bedi, SM 2015, 'A comparison of farm typology approaches in northern Ghana' International Conference on Integrated Systems Research, Ibadan, Nigeria, 3/03/15 - 6/03/15, pp. 32.

A comparison of farm typology approaches in northern Ghana. / Kuivanen, K.; Michalscheck, M.; Alvarez, S.; Groot, J.C.J.; Descheemaeker, K.K.E.; Adjei-Nsi, S.; Bedi, S.M.

2015. 32 Abstract from International Conference on Integrated Systems Research, Ibadan, Nigeria.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic

TY - CONF

T1 - A comparison of farm typology approaches in northern Ghana

AU - Kuivanen, K.

AU - Michalscheck, M.

AU - Alvarez, S.

AU - Groot, J.C.J.

AU - Descheemaeker, K.K.E.

AU - Adjei-Nsi, S.

AU - Bedi, S.M.

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Acknowledging the complex, multi-facetted nature of smallholder farming systems is a pre-requisiteto successfully promoting activities leading towards sustainable intensification. Typologies are usedas tools for navigating and making sense of farming system diversity by the Africa RISING project(Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation). This is achieved by classifyingfarms into groups according to their structural and functional features. The resulting ‘farm types’may then be considered to constitute ‘recommendation domains’, to which project support may betargeted, thus maximizing the efficiency and scalability of interventions. Such a grouping exercisemay be performed using various methods, depending on the purpose of the research and theunderlying theoretical approach. Where quantitative techniques can provide reproducible andgeneralizable results, qualitative methods provide greater depth of understanding and are useful forcontextualizing heterogeneity within the rural landscape. Because it is important that typologiesmeet the standards of science in which accuracy and objectivity are central, as well as thestandards of project outcomes, which are dependent on the different needs and perceptions ofstakeholders, assessing the value and (non-) complementarity of typology approaches is a vital stepin ensuring that future work in the field remains both reliable and relevant. Therefore, this studyaims to compare approaches to typifying the diversity of smallholder farming systems in northernGhana, drawing on the results of an etic, researcher-defined classification and an emic, farmerdefinedclassification. The former was developed for Africa RISING ‘intervention communities’ inGhana’s Northern Region. The types were statistically generated using multivariate analysis, basedon selected variables extracted from recent (2013) survey data. Results suggest six clusters, withfarmers categorized on the basis of resource endowment and production strategies among otherfactors. The resulting farm types were validated in the field and compared to a second typologydeveloped through joint analysis with local farmers. Participatory methods were used to ensure thatthe sense-making process was grounded in the perceptions and interests of the farmers and theresulting categories of farmers a recognizable reflection of local reality.

AB - Acknowledging the complex, multi-facetted nature of smallholder farming systems is a pre-requisiteto successfully promoting activities leading towards sustainable intensification. Typologies are usedas tools for navigating and making sense of farming system diversity by the Africa RISING project(Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation). This is achieved by classifyingfarms into groups according to their structural and functional features. The resulting ‘farm types’may then be considered to constitute ‘recommendation domains’, to which project support may betargeted, thus maximizing the efficiency and scalability of interventions. Such a grouping exercisemay be performed using various methods, depending on the purpose of the research and theunderlying theoretical approach. Where quantitative techniques can provide reproducible andgeneralizable results, qualitative methods provide greater depth of understanding and are useful forcontextualizing heterogeneity within the rural landscape. Because it is important that typologiesmeet the standards of science in which accuracy and objectivity are central, as well as thestandards of project outcomes, which are dependent on the different needs and perceptions ofstakeholders, assessing the value and (non-) complementarity of typology approaches is a vital stepin ensuring that future work in the field remains both reliable and relevant. Therefore, this studyaims to compare approaches to typifying the diversity of smallholder farming systems in northernGhana, drawing on the results of an etic, researcher-defined classification and an emic, farmerdefinedclassification. The former was developed for Africa RISING ‘intervention communities’ inGhana’s Northern Region. The types were statistically generated using multivariate analysis, basedon selected variables extracted from recent (2013) survey data. Results suggest six clusters, withfarmers categorized on the basis of resource endowment and production strategies among otherfactors. The resulting farm types were validated in the field and compared to a second typologydeveloped through joint analysis with local farmers. Participatory methods were used to ensure thatthe sense-making process was grounded in the perceptions and interests of the farmers and theresulting categories of farmers a recognizable reflection of local reality.

M3 - Abstract

SP - 32

ER -

Kuivanen K, Michalscheck M, Alvarez S, Groot JCJ, Descheemaeker KKE, Adjei-Nsi S et al. A comparison of farm typology approaches in northern Ghana. 2015. Abstract from International Conference on Integrated Systems Research, Ibadan, Nigeria.