Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Elizabeth Hagens


In 2013, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture of the Republic of Ghana implemented a reformed food and agriculture sector development policy (FASDEP II) to reduce poverty among the poorest subsistence farmers in the nation. These extension efforts have been unsuccessful. The purpose of this ethnographic case study was to understand the perceptions of subsistence farmers in the Savelugu-Nanton District (SND) who participated in FASDEP II on how the program had affected their ability to meet their subsistence needs. The theoretical framework of collaborative advantage was used to analyze farmers' opinions of how the decentralized, pluralistic extension policy did or did not result in effective collaborations to benefit both farmers and support organizations. Data from unstructured interviews with 12 male farmers, selected through purposeful sampling, were analyzed by inductive coding and thematic analysis. Farmers' perspectives were confirmed through observations at a public farmers' meeting and a review of operations documents of Busaka, a FASDEP II agribusiness partner. Key findings indicated that the current pluralistic extension lacked the characteristics of collaborative advantage and farmers continued to face challenges in access to farming inputs, credit, climate change effects, and cronyism. Farmers perceived the system was more beneficial to large-scale farmers. Positive social change implications of this study include identifying factors to improve effective pluralistic extension for subsistence farmers, the poorest persons in SND; improving the financial conditions of these subsistence farmers through more sustained and equitable partner collaboration; and contributing to the economic development of SND.