Creating space for innovation: the case of cocoa production in the Suhum-Kraboa-Coalter district of Ghana

E.N.A. Dormon, C. Leeuwis, F.Y. Fiadjoe, O. Sakyi-Dawson, A. van Huis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Most cocoa farmers in Ghana do not adopt research recommendations because they cannot afford the cost, therefore, yields are low. Integrated pest management (IPM) technologies that rely on low external inputs were tried with a group of farmers. The technologies included using aqueous neem seed extracts to control capsids; removing diseased pods to reduce blackpod incidence; controlling mistletoes, epiphytes, weeds; and managing shade. Although yields increased significantly, adoption was constrained by technical, social and economic factors. The objective of this action research was to organize relevant social and technical arrangements necessary to overcome the constraints. The study concludes, that an IPM package which is labour-intensive and also requires some capital, can only be adopted by resource-poor farmers when the necessary economic, social, and organizational `space¿ is enlarged to develop them into complete innovations. On the basis of the findings, it is suggested that regular innovations can be realized at farmers' level and may be disseminated through extension agents, while system innovations require co-designing with other stakeholders to suit network-specific circumstances. Therefore, the role of extension agents, which currently emphasize technology transfer, must be broadened to include facilitation of social and economic network building around such technological packages to address the constraints to adoption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-246
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Issue number2&3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • integrated pest management
  • innovations
  • networking
  • cocoa
  • ghana
  • innovation adoption
  • action research


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