Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Yoko Kusunose

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Reed


The dissertation consists of three studies that seek to identify school caterer and women farmer constraints that have hindered the buy-local policy mandate of the Ghana School Lunch program, and to explore gendered agricultural technology adoption and contract participation strategies that could facilitate the policy mandate.

The first study documents the constraints that have minimized caterer purchases of school food items from local farmers. The study presents an overview of the Ghana School Lunch Program and the buy-local policy mandate issued to school caterers. Survey data and descriptive analysis are employed to document and discuss the constraints that prevent school caters from purchasing from local farmers as well as the constraints faced by smallholder women farmers in supplying to school caters. The study subsequently discusses school caterers’ compensating variation of a hypothetical policy that requires them to firstly provide recommended portions of vegetables and protein, and secondly include fruits in the lunch of the schoolchildren.

The second study analyses the factors underlying the probability that women smallholder farmers - compared to male farmers - adopt less a) improved seeds, b) fertilizer, c) herbicides and d) pesticides. The study further examines the sensitivity of gender differences in technology adoption to crop choice, particularly maize and legume, as well as the possible heterogeneity of technology adoption differences within rural and peri-urban communities. The adoption of these improved technologies is modeled using multivariate probit regressions. A gender gap is observed among legume farmers for improved seed and pesticide adoption. Moreover, the findings indicate that female maize farmers who have input into all cash crop production decisions are more likely to adopt improved seeds and pesticides. Among legume farmers, the results indicate that female farmers who are educated and have access to credit are more likely to adopt fertilizer, while female legume farmers who have a say in what the use of income generated from cash crop farming are more likely to adopt pesticides. These results imply that policy-makers and development practitioners in sub-Saharan Africa should consider strategies to target and increase educational, financial and productive assets of female farmers in order to close the gender technology gap and increase multiple technology adoption.

The third study examines the use of farm-to-school contracts as a means to provide access to credit for women farmers in rural and peri-urban areas and facilitate the buy-local policy mandate. In particular, the study examines the factors influencing male and female smallholder farmers’ minimum willingness to accept (WTA) farm-to-school-lunch contracts for maize and cowpea beans. The minimum WTA simultaneously measures the decision to participate as well as the minimum price at which the smallholder farmer accepts the contract. Using sex-disaggregated data from a field experiment, a Tobit model is applied to explain the underlying factors influencing male and female smallholder farmer’s minimum WTA for a set of hypothetical maize and cowpea beans contracts. The results for the pooled sample indicate that the delivery at harvest option increases farmers’ minimum willingness to accept both the maize and beans contracts. The study further examines heterogeneity in the minimum WTA among smallholder farmers. The results in the female specification indicate that, the advance pay option lowers the minimum WTA for maize contracts. Additionally, women farmers who own non-farm business, compared to a male with a non-farm business, have a lower minimum WTA for the maize and beans contracts. The results suggest that if the government considers contractual arrangements between school caterers and local farmers to facilitate the buy-local policy mandate, an advance pay option to women farmers may yield lower premiums for contracted food items.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

Feeding the Future in Rural Ghana: Opportunities for Women Smallholders, Legumes and Maize for School Feeding Programs, USDA Foreign Agriculture Service

Student Opportunity Grant, the University of Kentucky Food Connection

Professional Development Grant, University of Kentucky Center for Graduate and Professional Diversity Initiatives

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Food Security Commons