Characterization of Farmers and the Effect of Fertilization on Maize Yields in the Guinea Savannah, Sudan Savannah, and Transitional Agroecological Zones of Ghana

The aim of this study was to understand the impact of fertilizer use on maize yields in Ghana based on a survey among 1,363 farmers. Farmers were grouped into four typologies using Principal Component Analysis and stepwise regression to analyze the effects of fertilizer and other factors on yield and nutrient use efficiency (NUE). A partial factor productivity of 9.8–12.1 kg grain/kg fertilizer and an agronomic efficiency of 1.2–3.7 kg grain/kg N were found among the typologies. While use of NPK with sulfur and magnesium, are necessary for yield increase, the low NUE may hamper agricultural intensification. A targeted learning pathway for the farmers with most suitable characteristics for attaining highest maize productivity could serve as an example for less well performing farmers. Policies and programs in Ghana, such as Planting for Food and Jobs program that promote fertilizer application, must be redesigned to include measures that increase NUE.
Maize, Nutrient use efficiency, Food security