Agriculture is taking different procedures from the traditional to a more modernized system over the globe. Agriculture employs over 60% of Ghana labour force which demands that it must be abreast with increasing and current technology to make use of the limited resources such as land, water and nutrients. Greenhouse technology (GT) is one of the wheels on which modern agriculture runs. It offers a positive environmental condition favouring plant growth leading to high yields plus good quality produce with limited damages caused by biotic (pests, insects, and pathogens) and abiotic stresses (drought, salinity and temperature extremes). Thus, greenhouse technology provides conducive environmental conditions that encourage the growth and development of crops.
THE NEED FOR GREENHOUSE TECHNOLOGY
The greenhouse technology has been promoted and redefine the production of vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet pepper, cucumber, lettuce, especially among the youth.
The major reasons for practising controlled environment agriculture (CEA) in Africa, including Ghana, are managing pests and diseases, drought, ensuring all-season farming, increasing yield and quality of vegetables. Also, there is an increase in the stability and security of vegetables as the external conditions have no or little impact on the vegetables planted minimizing production risks and maximizing profits. The CEA makes farming attractive to the youth. For instance, it has led to establishing the Youth in Greenhouse Enterprise Project (YuGEP) between Agri-Impact Consult (AIC) and the Ghana EXIM Bank to promote investment in greenhouse vegetable production to reduce imports from neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso and to generate employment for Ghanaians. Countries such as Netherlands, Canada, America, China, Japan and Egypt are already taking advantage of GT and Ghana is open for companies that are willing to do business out of it.
Adoption of Greenhouse Technology in Ghana
Companies such as Dizengoff Ghana and AIC promoted the adoption of GT in Ghana. Donor organizations such as World Bank through West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), West and Central African Council for agricultural research and development (CORF/WECARD) promote the adoption of GT. Farmers’ decisions about the adoption of GT are usually grounded on the technology itself, input availability, its benefits and cost, social network and learning about the technology. The determinant of agricultural technology adoption, such as greenhouse, are into several categories: economic, social, institutional, ecological, resources, production and policy. However, there is no well-defined distinctive feature between variables in each category.
Challenges Associated with Greenhouse Technology Adoption in Ghana
The GT require some budgets connected to equipment’s acquisition and investments, learning duration, evolving markets and coaching labour. Farmers’ adoption rate is related to their learning experiences, and they must see an advantage or anticipate to attain better utility before accepting GT. Notwithstanding GT financial worth, farmers who are willing to adopt GT are mainly subsistence and smallholders who are often resourced poor and may not afford it. Although the majority still has patronised modern commercial farming, the full potential of GT has not been fully utilized. The persistence of smaller holder farming makes it difficult for Ghana to achieve food sufficiency and security, making it difficult to contribute to feed feeding the growing world population projected to 9.7 billion by 2050.
In conclusion, the government of Ghana should empower farmers through training, an institution of cost-sharing programs, increase access to extension and credit services to enable them to take full advantage of greenhouse technology. As a result, it will reduce youth unemployment, improve the food security and livelihoods of Ghanaians.