Accepted 11th January, 2021.
The contribution of agriculture to rural livelihoods in many parts of Ghana has declined due to increasing small-scale mining activities. This trend may continue in the foreseeable future if rural livelihoods, which are basically agrarian, are not streamlined to coexist with small-scale mining. The study was conducted in four regions of Ghana (Ashanti, Eastern, Western and Central Regions) covering six out of the seven zones in Ghana exclusively blocked for small-scale mining by Minerals Commission of Ghana. The six blocked-out areas for small-scale mining covered in the study are Assin Fosu, Asankrangwa, Bibiani, Dunkwa, Tarkwa and Akim Oda. A three-stage sampling technique was used to randomly select 432 agrarian households from six small-scale mining communities in each of the six zones. The characteristics of respondents were summarized using descriptive statistics including arithmetic mean, standard deviation, minimum, maximum, frequencies and percentages. Carefully constructed statements were rated on a five-point Likert-scale to examine households’ perception on the implementation of the institutional framework for small-scale mining in the country. Household Livelihood Vulnerability (HLV) Index, Household Livelihood Security (HLS) Index and Household Livelihood Diversity (HLD) Index were computed based on primary data from the field. The determinants of these three interrelated household livelihood parameters were estimated simultaneously in a system of structural equations using the three-stage least squares approach. This was done to account for cross-correlation among household livelihood vulnerability, security and diversity and bridge the gap of research inefficiency of using single-regression equation models in separately predicting the dimensions which are interrelated. The study provides results that are relevant to livelihood development in small-scale-mining communities which are also consistent with findings from other studies. Livelihood assets describing the socioeconomic characteristics of agrarian households in the form of human, social, natural, physical and financial capital were poorly developed. Agrarian households have negative perception about the implementation of the institutional framework for small-scale mining in rural communities in Ghana. Livelihoods and assets of agrarian households are vulnerable to small-scale mining. Characterized with moderately low livelihood security and diversity, agrarian households do not diversify livelihood portfolios to supplement income from on-farm activities. Through the system of structural equations, the study identified a number of socio-economic and institutional factors that can interact to simultaneously improve the three dimensions of livelihoods in small-scale mining communities. Based on the empirical results, the study provides practical recommendations to improve livelihoods of agrarian households in rural communities affected by small-scale mining.
Keywords: Livelihood vulnerability index, livelihood security index, livelihood diversity index, small-scale mining, system of structural equations, three-stage least square