Groundnuts/Peanuts are an important crop throughout Sub-Saharan Africa which comprises 40% of the world’s groundnut harvested area, but only contributes 26% of the world’s groundnut production (ICRISAT 2012).
Groundnuts are a versatile crop that can be consumed raw or cooked and can be used to make oil.
It serves as a nutritious component of diets in developing countries and as a cash crop to provide income for developing country farmers (Carlberg, 2008)
An FAO research in 2013 showed that in Ghana, Groundnuts are an important crop for both household consumption and cash crop purposes in Ghana.
Groundnut plays a major role in the Ghanaian diet as one of the main sources of vegetable protein.
Almost half of the production of groundnuts is concentrated in the Northern region of Ghana which is made up of three separate administrative regions (Northern, Upper East and West regions) which altogether account for 94% of groundnuts production in Ghana.
The region is located in the Guinea Savannah agro-ecological zone.
The rainy season is mono-modal, starting in April/May and ending in September/October with an annual rainfall varying between 900 and 1,100 mm.
In 1997, MOFA conducted a research which showed that the majority of groundnut production is made by small-scale farmers with less than two hectares of arable land.
The Northern region of Ghana is one of the main groundnuts production areas in West Africa together with the area expanding from Cameroon to northern Benin through to central Nigeria; Guinea and part of Casamance; .Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and the western part of Burkina Faso.
These areas show similar productivity patterns with yields per hectare of around 1 ton on average.
Groundnuts are considered as a strategic crop given the positive effects that growth of this sub-sector generates in terms of poverty reduction in the Northern region of Ghana.
They are mainly produced in the northern regions of Ghana and consumed in urban areas in the south.
Groundnuts play an important dietary role in most developing countries, especially Ghana, where they provide high-quality cooking oil and an important source of protein for both humans and animals.
Domestic prices for groundnuts are characterized by a significant fluctuation within the year but also across years.
This might be attributable to the high seasonality of groundnuts production and the high dependency of groundnuts production from rainfall patterns being groundnuts a rain fed crop.
Moreover, price transmission between central markets in producing areas in the North and consuming areas in the south is very low due to the poor road network between the north and south markets as well as poor information and communication technology.
Information on international trade flows is contradictory across sources of secondary data, FAOSTAT and UNComtrade.
Despite discrepancies, according to both FAOSTAT and UNComtrade, Ghana is a net exporter of groundnuts in all years under analysis.
The only exception is year 2010 when according to UNComtrade Ghana is a net importer.
However, the data from UNComtrade could not be considered reliable as unit values of both imports and exports in 2010 are clearly outliers.
According to MOFA, in 2010 Ghana had a 187k metric ton production surplus, equal to 39% of total production.
This evidence corroborates the hypothesis that Ghana can be considered as a net exporter of groundnuts for the whole period under analysis, including year 2010.