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Environmental and Sustainability Indicators
Volume 70, 2021, 102325

Sustainability performance of organic and conventional cocoa farming systems in Atwima Mponua District of Ghana

Joseph Bandanaaa, Isaac K. Asante, etl.,

Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.


The potential of organic agriculture to contribute to sustainable development in Ghana is unclear. This article assesses the sustainability performance of organic and conventional cocoa farming systems in Ghana. Data was collected from 398 organic and conventional cocoa farmers using the SMART-Farm tool. Compared to conventional cocoa farming systems, we found a higher environmental sustainability performance in organic cocoa farming systems regarding water withdrawal (+29%), species diversity (+26%), land degradation (+24%), genetic diversity (+24%) and greenhouse gases (+22%). The organic farming systems performed better compared to conventional in profitability (+20%) due to market premiums, gender equity (+27%), and verbally committed to sustainability topics (+25%). Agronomic practices had a strong influence on the observed sustainability performance, especially the environmental performance. Typical organic cocoa farming system has small farm sizes, spends more hours weeding manually since chemical weedicides are prohibited and has more diverse crops. Measures to improve performance is paramount for farming systems sustainability.

Keywords: Sustainability, Farming systems, Organic, Cocoa, Ghana.

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