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Dealing with weedy problems in agriculture: the role of three agricultural land use management practices in the forest-savanna ecological zone of Ghana

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Abstract:

An important limiting factor on labour-intensive small-scale agricultural production in Ghana is competition from weeds for environmental resources, such as soil nutrients, moisture and sunlight. This article combines primary social research based on surveys and in-depth interviews, and ecological research based on experiment and secondary research to explore the efficacy of three land use management practices, compared with their alternatives, in dealing with on-farm weed problems in Gyamfiase-Adenya-Obom, Ghana. The fallow management practice of >3 years of fallow showed significantly greater promise of suppressing weeds than ≤3 years of fallow. Mulching slashed vegetation, as a land preparation practice, was also consistently better at reducing weed densities than burning the slashed vegetation. The study indicated that while more frequent weeding was generally more effective in suppressing weed densities than less frequent weeding, the effect of weeding in significantly reducing weed densities was not associated with weeding frequency per se but with how carefully weeding was accomplished.

Keywords: Chromolaena odorata; Ghana; agricultural land use management; ecological experimental design; small-scale agriculture; social research

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4762.2008.00824.x

Affiliations: Luther College and Department of Geography, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4S 0A2, Email: Louis.Awanyo@uregina.ca

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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