Essay: Are stakeholders willing to pay towards shea tree conservation and production?

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  • Are stakeholders willing to pay towards shea tree conservation and production?
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Non-timber forest products are crucial to the sustenance of rural livelihoods across all regions in Sub-Saharan Africa (CIFOR, 2005).They are major source of food and income for most rural people especially women in Africa (FAO, 2013).Women exploit wood, nuts, fruits, fibre and other resources to help sustain their families (Timbko et al., 2010). However, sustainable conservation of these resources has over the years witnessed if any, little efforts towards non-timber forest resources especially those found in the savanna zone.
In Ghana, though, the forest and wildlife policy makes provision for sustainable conservation of tree resources in the forest and savanna zones of the country, previous and current conservation programs appears to be concentrated in the forest zones neglecting tree resources especially shea trees found in the savanna zone (SheaNetworkghana, 2014). Typical examples of such conservation programs over the past decades include; Taugya System, Modified Taugya System, Voluntary Partnership Agreement and REDD (Ansong et al., 2014).
A typical important tree that contributes significantly to the economy of Ghana, yet is often neglected among others in the savanna zones is the shea tree (SheaNetworkghana, 2014).. This tree is a major source of livelihood to most rural women and children (Carette et al., 2009). The neglect has made the tree vulnerable to a state of continuous decline due to challenges such as; ageing, bushfires, charcoal burning, construction, and agricultural activities (Bup et al., 2014)
In 2012, the Government of Ghana launched SADA to oversee the greening of the north, but the authority has still not been able to execute a pragmatic plan of conserving these tree towards achieving its objective of greening the north.
Several attempts have also been undertaken by non-governmental organizations and individuals to conserve and plant shea trees with the overall objective of halting shea tree decline in the savanna zones but have still not yet recorded the needed results. Notwithstanding, it is recognized that, sustainable conservation of tree resources depends on the support and collaboration of local communities (Ansong et al., 2014). This support depends largely on the values or utility they derived from the resources. These values can be measured using several valuation techniques such as stated and revealed preference methods depending on whether the good in question can be traded in the market or not.
For comprehensive measurement of non-market and market goods Carson et al (2001) recommends the use of contingent valuation method (CVM). According to Carson, CVM is the most widely used and accepted survey technique for eliciting people’s valuation of non-market goods and services. It is a method that brings out individuals willingness to pay (WTP) for an environmental benefit (e.g. to preserve the view of a beautiful landscape, improve air quality), or how much money the individual respondent would be willing to accept (WTA) for a change in environmental quality. It employs field interviews or questionnaire surveys to induce respondents to make a hypothetical market decision regarding the non-market goods such as forest (Carson et al., 2001).
Despite some criticism about the hypothetical nature of eliciting valuation for non-market goods and service, Carson indicates that, CVM is widely used among academics and other research and development practitioners. Various elicitation methods such as direct open-ended question, bidding games, referendum, payment card, contingent ranking and review and repeat procedures are usually employed. This method has been applied in the valuation of various environmental services in estimating individuals’ willingness to pay towards improvement of various ecosystems in other countries (Hadker et al., 1997; Angela et al., 2014).In Ghana, the method has been applied in the valuation of various natural resources. Notable studies include the study conducted by Ansong et al., (2014) to assess local communities willingness to pay for sustainable forest management in Subri forest reserve, assessment of visitors willingness to pay entrance fee to Kakum national park (Navrud and (Vondolia, 2005) and a study conducted by Acheampong and Marfo (2011) to estimate chainsaw operators’ perception of the availability of timber resources and the willingness of these operators to pay for timber harvesting rights. This method has also been used to investigate farmer’s willingness to pay for improved irrigation services as well agricultural improvement (Alhassan et al., 2014; Baidoo and Amoatey, 2012). Despite the importance of understanding the TEV of environmental goods in policy making, previous studies have not assessed total economic value of savanna tree resources especially shea trees. This current study seeks to fill this knowledge gap by estimating the monetary value that local people are willing to pay towards sustainable shea tree production and conservation to reduce shea tree decline. The study specifically seeks to assess the effects/influences of socio economic factors such as; age, gender, livelihood activity, marital status, income and educational level of respondents’ willingness to pay. The study also seeks to investigate institutional arrangements that can facilitate payment towards shea tree conservation.
Shea tree formerly Butyrospernum paradoxa, now called Vitellaria paradoxa belongs to the family,Sapotacea (Masters, 2004). Historical evidence suggests that, shea cultivation started 4000 years in ancient Egypt. It was regarded as a high valued commodity tree in regional trade in 1352 by one Moroccan traveler, IBN Batuta and a European botanist; Mungo Park in 1799. There are two subspecies of the shea plant, Vitellaria paradoxa and Vitallaria nilotica (Ferris et al, 2001). The former does well in arid and semi-arid regions of West African countries whiles the later, Vitellaria nilotica is home to East African countries. The shea belt occurs around a band of 500-750 km wide stretching some 5000 km across 20 countries from Senegal in the west to Uganda and Ethiopia in the East (Ferris et al, 2001). The tree is absent from the forest, coastal areas and from highlands at altitudes above 1,600 m (Boffaet al., 1999; Boukoungou et al., 2002). It has also been estimated by Maranz and Wiesman (2003) that, productive shea trees amounts to about 500 million which represents 2.5 million tones of kennel per annum. The shea belt is grouped into three zones following their potentials for shea nut production per year. These zones include the; high production zone, average zone and low production zone (Bup, 2014).
Vitellaria, is a deciduous tree of medium size, with a pyramidal crown. Shea trees grow to 10-20 m in height, but on rare occasions, they have been recorded to grow up to 25 m (Nair et al., 2013). The cylindrical trunk has a circumference of between 0.5-2.5m, usually relative to the height of the tree and measures on average, 3-4 m before splitting into numerous branches with thick, fissured bark (Nair, 2013). It has a greenish/yellowish color and grows in groups of approximately 30-40 during the flowering season, which is between December and March (Moore, 2008). Its characteristics of thick, corky, and fissured barks enable it to withstand harsh environmental conditions such as bush fires, harmattan, wind, and drought (CRIG, 2002).
Globally, shea products are highly valued and demanded in huge quantities by various confectionary, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries for the manufacture of a variety of products (Ferris et al., 2001). For instance, the demand for shea butter in Europe, Japan, India, Canada and the United States has witnessed rising trend over the past few years (Carette et al., 2009).
In Ghana, it occurs in the wild over almost the entire Northern Ghana, covering 77, 670 square kilometers with some sparse shea trees covered in parts of Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern, and Volta regions to the south of Ghana (CRIG, 2002).
The shea industry though, still in its infantry stage of development, contributes 30 million US dollar to the economy of Ghana (Bup et al., 2014). Aside economic benefits, various parts of the tree have been utilized for medicinal purposes, hand tools, cooking utensils, poles for house construction, and charcoal production (Bonkougou et al., 2002; Carette et al., 2009; Dogbevi, 2007; Ferris et al., 2001; Hatskevich et al., 2011; Masters, 2004;)—
Despite the positive contribution of shea trees in improving livelihoods of people both locally and globally, sustainable production and conservation of shea trees to sustain the industry remains a challenge that stakeholders across the globe remained focused in finding solutions to boost its production and conservation.
This study therefore seeks to address these challenges by assessing farmers’ willingness to contribute towards an initiative to boost shea tree production and conservation as well as identifying institutional arrangements that would promote payment for sustainable production and conservation of shea trees.
Shea trees; the source of nuts that produce one of the world’s most sustainable and valuable vegetable fats, are declining in number and will get extinct if actions are not taken to protect the trees now and the future (Poudyal,2009). Studies have identified land tenure and security, bushfires, firewood/charcoal production, population growth, construction and parasites/pest as major challenges/constraints to shea tree conservation in the shea producing belts (CRIG, 2002: Ferris et al., 2001; Masters et al.,2004; Okullo et al., 2011)
However, previous literature has demonstrated extensive results on the ethno botany and economic botany of the shea tree (Boukoungo et al., 2002; Boffa et al., 1995). Moreover, a lot of initiatives and projects have also been carried out on shea resource diversity and domestication (Boukoungo et al., 2002; Boffa et al., 1995). Applied research on technical improvement of shea production and processing has attracted the attention of many scholars in the past few decades with little results to show on adoption of improve shea production methods(Lovett et al., 2004; Addaquah et al., 2004; Okiror et al., 2011; Bup et al., 2014,Poudyal, 2009).Scholars such as (Hatskvich et al., 2011, Scholz et al., 2009, Carette et al., 2009) have also examined the market development potentials and value-chain governance of shea trees.
However, missing in the literatures, is determining whether stakeholders in the industry would be willing to pay towards sustainable conservation and production of shea trees and what socioeconomic factors would influence their willingness to pay. Identifying local institutional arrangements that would facilitate payment for sustainable conservation and production in the shea industry have also not been addressed in the literature. Therefore, ascertaining stakeholders willingness to pay and identifying local institutional structures for a sustainable conservation and production of the shea is worth investigating.
 To assess respondents willingness to pay towards shea tree conservation and production.
 To identify socioeconomic factors that influence respondent’s willingness to pay towards shea tree production/conservation.
 To examine local institutional arrangements that would facilitate payment for sustainable shea conservation and production?
 Are stakeholders willing to pay towards shea tree conservation and production
 What socioeconomic factors will influence the willingness of people to pay towards shea conservation/production?
 Are there local institutional arrangements that would facilitate payment towards sustainable shea tree conservation/production?
 Socio-economic factors (age, sex, marital status, livelihood activities, educational status and income) influences respondents’ willingness to pay towards shea trees conservation/production.
 Weak local institutional arrangements do not promote payment towards shea trees conservation/production.
The study was carried out in three clusters (area councils) in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region of Ghana. The context/scope was limited to valuation techniques, local institutional arrangements and willingness to pay.
Majority of stakeholders (farmers, shea pickers and butter producers) in the shea industry in the study area cannot read and write. This presented a challenged since interview guides and questionnaire were used for the data collection. Hence, translations were employed in such cases to capture their views to reflect the realities of their thoughts with regards to the solutions to shea conservation challenges.
The difficulty of attaching values to the non-market aspect of the shea tree poses a great challenge to the researcher. However, previous knowledge on the value of other trees with similar values minimizes some of the limitations that confronted the researcher.
It will require a lot of time and capital to capture the views of all stakeholders from all the shea producing districts in the region. As a result, one district from the region was selected and a sample size of 100 respondents selected to save time and capital. As a result, systematic random sampling technique was employed to select the individual respondents, which enabled the results produced to reflect the phenomenon in the district and the region at large.
Key concepts discussed in this chapter include; economic values of natural resources, valuation techniques, willingness to pay, nature of shea production and exploitation, governance and institutional arrangements.
Neo-classical economist adopts a distinct value system based on the utility derived from an environmental good (Mohd-Shahwahid, and McNally, 2001). They explain that, only things that give human beings happiness have value. For instance, if shea trees can offer us butter and fuel wood/charcoal to meet our needs, it means shea trees have value. The value of natural resources such as shea trees to society can change in both quantity and quality, it is always ideal for them to be measured or valued. These values are revealed by the amount the individual is willing to pay for a change or improvement when the resources are owned by other stakeholders or how much they are willing to accept in exchange for the loss or damage of these environmental goods (Pagiola et al., 2007). For appropriate valuation of these resources, natural resource values are categorized into several values under the total economic value framework with proposed techniques for valuing them.
The total economic valuation theory categorized values from an ecosystem into two; use and non-use values (Pascual et al., 2010). The first aggregated value of an ecosystem service benefits provided in a given state under the concept of TEV is often known as output value. The second aspect relates to the natural ecosystem’s ability to maintain these values in the face of variability and disturbance often described as insurance value (Pascual et al., 2010).The ensuing describes the various categories of total economic values of forest natural resources such as shea trees (Mohd-Shahwahid and McNally 2001; Pascual, 2010).
These values refer to ecosystem goods and services that are used directly by human beings.They are either directly used for consumptive or non-consumptive purposes. Harvesting of food products, timber for construction, medicinal products for health benefits, and hunting of animals for consumption from natural or managed ecosystems are all examples of consumptive use. Non-consumptive uses of ecosystem services include enjoying recreational and cultural amenities such as wildlife and bird-watching, water sports, and spiritual benefits that do not require moving them from their original places (MA, 2005; Pagiola et al., 2004). INDIRECT USE VALUES
A lot of ecosystem services are used as intermediate inputs for production of final goods and services to humans such as water, soil nutrients, and pollination and biological control services for food production. Other ecosystem services contribute indirectly to the enjoyment of other final consumption amenities, such as water purification, waste assimilation, and other regulation services leading to clean air and water supply and reduced health risks (Mohd-Shahwahid, and McNally 2001). OPTION VALUES
These are derived from preserving the option to use in the future ecosystem goods and services that may not be needed by individual at present, either by oneself (option value) or by others/heirs (bequest value), (MA, 2005). BEQUEST VALUE
Bequest value refers to benefits from ensuring that certain goods will be preserved for future generations. For example, many people are concerned with future damages from global warming and would be willing to pay to reduce them, despite the fact that the vast majority of the damages are expected to affect the earth long after our generation is gone. Policies associated with either a long-term or irreversible impacts can lead to losses that consist primarily of bequest value (Pagiola et al., 2004). QUASI-OPTION VALUE
This is a kind of option value that represents the value of avoiding irreversible decisions until new information reveals whether certain ecosystem services have values that are currently unknown (MA, 2005). NON-USE VALUES.
Non-use values refer to the enjoyment people may experience simply by knowing that a resource exists even if they never expect to use that resource directly themselves. This kind of value is usually known as existence value or, sometimes, passive use value (Pagiola et al., 2004). EXISTENCE VALUE
Existence value reflects benefits from simply knowing that a certain good or service exists. For example, some people derive satisfaction from the fact that many endangered species are protected against extinction. Many people are willing to pay for protection of these species’ habitats, even those located in remote, hard to access areas. Although those placing the value will most likely never travel to these places, or see the species, they nonetheless value the knowledge that such species exist (Pagiola et al., 2004). Knowledge of these values has been the brain behind the protection of endangered tree species across the globe by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES). Figure 2.1 shows the various values of a forest ecosystem.
Figure 2.1: Total economic value framework (Pagiola et al., 2004)
2.4. Valuation techniques for valuing natural resources
There are four basic approaches to valuing environmental or natural resource goods. These are price-based valuation methods, surrogate market valuation methods, hypothetical market approach, and cost-based approaches (Pagiola, 2010).The ensuing describes each method in detail.
According to Pagiola (2010), these methods are best adopted when formal markets exist for environmental goods and services to be transacted. Using market prices gives an underestimate of the true WTP, since consumer surplus is ignored (Pagiola et al., 2010).
Pagiola indicates that, surrogate market valuation techniques are used when there is no formal market to measure an environmental value but there exists information about a related good or service transacted in the marketplace that can be used to infer the value. Techniques where the benefit can be derived from other markets include the hedonic pricing method, the travel cost method and the change in productivity approach.
The TCM estimates how much people value an environmental location by the costs they are willing to incur in travelling to it. It takes into consideration, the environment in terms of the provision of recreational services rather than basic ecological goods and services. The fact that people incur costs to visit these sites enables a demand function for the attraction to be established, in which the visitor rate is related to the travel cost (Pagiola et al., 2010).
The CoP method can be used whenever an environmental service or function acts as an input into the production of marketable goods. For example, the watershed protection functions of forests help control the quantity and quality of water flows. Deforestation can contribute to a reduction in agricultural productivity through soil erosion, sedimentation and flooding. This technique estimates the changes in output as a result of loss of environmental services. However, identifying and measuring the complex ecological linkages can be very difficult, unless data and models exist (Pagiola et al., 2010).
The most widely applied techniques in this grouping are the preventative/defensive expenditure and replacement costs techniques. The former reveals people’s valuation of ecological services by observing their actual expenditures to prevent the loss, or to defend themselves from the consequence of the loss. These cost-based approaches are based on a number of assumptions: that such actions are effective and able to perfectly substitute environmental quality; there is complete information and therefore environmental risks are well perceived and understood and there are no capital constraints. In principle, the costs incurred voluntarily in a free-market situation to mitigate or reverse an environmental impact will be equal to or less than the value of the impact.
In situations where market values cannot be observed, either directly or indirectly, market-like behaviour can be inferred through surveys or direct questions. The most widely used technique of this type is the contingent valuation method (CVM). By setting up a carefully worded questionnaire, CVM elicits individuals willing to pay (WTP) for an environmental benefit (e.g. to preserve the view of a beautiful landscape, improve air quality), or how much money they would be willing to accept (WTA) for a loss of environmental quality. The aim of this method is to elicit valuations that are as close as possible to what would be revealed if a market truly existed. To be carried out successfully, CVM requires careful sampling, training of enumerators and long periods of preparation and analysis. Information can be obtained directly from respondents or via a personal interview or mail questionnaire. It is the only technique able to capture non-use environmental values.
Table 2.1: Categories of economic valuation methods
Price-Based Valuation
Market Prices
Shadow Prices
Related or
Substitute Good
For Evaluating
Timber and
Non-wood Products
(food, medicine,
Fisheries Surrogate Market Valuation
Hedonic Prices
Travel Cost
Change in Productivity
For Evaluating
Environmental Amenities
Recreation and Ecotourism
Ecological and Environmental Functions (flood Control, nutrient cycling, carbon
sink, micro-climate regulator
Market Valuation
Choice Modelling
For Evaluating
Recreation and
Ecological and
Protected areas
Cultural and
Religious Values Cost-Based Valuation
Opportunity Cost
Replacement Cost
Relocation Cost
Preventive /Defensive
Dose Response
For Evaluating
Damages to protected
Losses of ecological
and environmental
Health impacts
Adopted from Pagiola (2010)
The theoretical model for determining willingness to pay for this study was adopted from a model proposed by Carson and Hanemman (2005).The economic value of a non-market good like shea trees to an individual can be measured by determining the magnitude of their WTP for the good. According to Carson and Hanemann, WTP is defined as the amount that must be taken away from a respondents’ income while keeping their utility constant to meet the cost of providing the non-market good (i.e., conserving or planting shea trees).
Most scholars employed the random utility model approach for dichotomous contingent valuation responses to estimate the WTP (Hanemann 1984, Haab and McConnell 2002). Hanemann(1984) rationalized dichotomous CV questions putting them in a framework that allows parameters to be estimated and interpreted. Hanemann, recommended deriving WTP from the indirect utility function. The indirect utility function of respondent ‘j’ can be formulated as follows;
Vij= v(Yj, Qj, M, P)…………………………………………………………(1)
Where, V (.) is the indirect utility function, Yj, is the respondent income, Qjis the current condition of shea trees in the area, M is the socioeconomic characteristics of respondent that might influence their WTP and P is a vector of individual characteristics affecting the trade-off that the individual is prepared to make between income and the non-market good (sustainable shea trees). For the status quo, where there is no effort to conserve or plant shea trees (i=0), the indirect utility function of the respondent is given by:
V0j= V (Yj, Q0, M, P)……………………………………………………….(2)
Letting 0 superscripts denote the initial (status quo) conditions of no effort towards conservation/production of shea trees and 1 superscripts denote the new conditions, (sustainable conservation/production of shae trees) then Q0is the current situation of shea tree and Q1 is newer situations. If the respondent is willing to pay some money C (Cj> 0) for the sustainable conservation/production of shea trees, because of quality and quantity changes (Q1> Q0), the indirect utility function of the respondent is given by:
Vij= V (Yj¬_Cj,Qj, M, P)…………………………………………………………(3)
In a general market equilibrium, we need to consider the amount of income that the respondent will give up to make him/her indifferent between an initial condition (i.e., the current condition of no sustainable conservation/production of shea trees where income is at Cj and good at Q0, and final situation (in this case the sustainable conservation/production of shea trees, where income is at Yj -Cj and good is at Q1).
Economist calls this amount of income, the compensation variation or the WTP (Haab and McConnell, 2002). Therefore, the compensation variation in the sustainable conservation/production of shea trees is given by a mathematical equation below;
Vij= V (Yj, Q0, M, P) =V (Yj¬_Cj, Q1, M, P)
Where v (.) is the indirect utility function, y is the income of respondent, Q0 is the level of goods in the current situations of no sustainable conservation/production of shea trees, Q1 is the level of goods in the sustainable shea conservation/production program (Q0>Q1an increase is desirable), M is the socioeconomic characteristics of respondent that might influence their WTP and P is a vector of individual characteristics affecting the trade-off that the respondent is prepared to make between income and the non-market good (sustainable conservation/production of shea trees). C is the compensation variation that is the WTP amount of the respondent.
Shea trees, (Vitellaria paradoxa), occur either in agro forestry parklands or in the wild; undomesticated (Boffa et al., 1999). About 5 million shea trees remain undomesticated in the wild, occurring naturally in the savannah woodlands of arid and semi-arid areas of West and East African countries (Ferris et al., 2001). Majority of farmers over the last decades have attempted domesticating these trees by integrating them with agricultural crops.
Natural regeneration has been a major method of shea production but recent methods include, pollarding, grafting, and coppicing (Bup et al., 2014). However, the purported long gestation period of the tree remains among other reasons why shea tree plantation development remains low (Okiror et al., 2012).
Shea trees have been exploited over several decades for numerous purposes. According to Ferris et al., (2001) and Okiror et al., (2012), shea trees are exploited by various local communities for their root, barks and leaves for medicinal purposes. Other products includes; the nuts which produces one of the finest butter and vegetable oils for the preparation of local dishes and the manufacture of confectionery products such as biscuits, chocolate and other cocoa butter substitutes (Ferris, 2001). Masters et al., (2004), indicates that, the wood of shea tree is hard, resistant to termite attacks. This makes it suitable for the production of building and roofing poles. Furthermore, the hardness characteristic of the wood of shea trees makes it a preferred tree species for the production of charcoal and wood fuels for small households’ and cottage industries energy needs (Masters et al., 2004).
Although, the concept of governance is widely discussed among policy makers and various scholars, there is no consensus to a single definition of governance. A few definitions from some organizations and institutions on governance are discussed in this section.
According to Kaufmann (2010), World Bank describes governance as the traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised. This includes (a) the process by which governments are selected, monitored and replaced; (b) the capacity of the government to effectively formulate and implement sound policies; and (c) the respect of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern economic and social interactions among them.
Ferreira (2011) argues that, good governance is governance that is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. Thus, good governance ensures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society. Figure 2.2 shows characteristics of good governance.
Figure 2.2: Characteristics of good governance (Ferreira, 2011).
Types of governance of natural resources can be distinguished on the basis of who holds management authority and responsibility and is expected to be held accountable according to legal, customary or otherwise legitimate rights. In this sense, four broad types have been discussed for the case of protected areas (IUCN, 2004) and can be cautiously extrapolated to refer to natural resources in general. These include governance by the government, joint governance by several concerned parties, private governance, and community governance.
Governance by the government, according to IUCN (2004), is where the overall responsibility and accountability rest with the government ministry or an agency at national, regional or municipal level in which the land and natural resources are subjected to use rules and regulations under the law. Thus, in the case of a system of protected areas, management may be directly exercised or delegated but the government retains full ownership and control. At times, the government is committed to inform or consult other concerned parties prior to making management decisions.
The second form of governance employed in the management of natural resources such as shea trees as identified by IUCN, (2004) is joint governance by several concerned parties. This is a type of governance whereby the authority, responsibility and accountability are shared among a variety of parties, likely to include one or more government agencies, local communities, private landowners and other stakeholders. The parties recognize the legitimacy of their respective entitlements and choose or are required to collaborate. Examples include co-management employed in the management of protected areas and community resources management areas (CREMAS).
The last form of governance that would be discussed in this section is private governance. The final authority and responsibility rest with the landowners, which may exercise it for profit (e.g., tourism businesses) or not for profit (e.g., foundations, universities, conservation NGOs). Usually, the landowners are fully responsible for decision making and their accountability to the society at large is quite limited.
Payment for environmental services is defined as a voluntary transaction in which a well-defined environmental service (ES), or a land-use likely to secure that service, is being purchased by at least one ES buyer from at least one ES provider if, and only if, the ES provider secures ES provision, i.e. conditionality (Wunder et al., 2005; Pagiola et al., 2007; Engel et al., 2008). FAO (2000) defines PES as an approach to environmental management which uses cash payments or other compensation to encourage ecosystem conservation and restoration. It includes direct payments from ecosystem service beneficiaries to land stewards, as well as indirect payments earned through eco-certification.
Thus, in setting up PES schemes, The Katomba Group (2008) reveal that, the framework requires an assessment of the range of ecosystem services that flow from a particular area, and who they benefit; next an estimation of the economic value of the benefits to different groups of beneficiaries is needed. The final step is the design of a policy, subsidy, or market to capture this value and reward landholders or resource managers for conserving the source of the ecosystem services.
Institutional arrangements on the other hand refer to relationships established among buyers, sellers, and intermediary organizations so as to reduce transaction costs (Tognetti et al., 2003).Thus, Pagiola (2007) recommends that, to develop an effective institutional arrangement that would facilitate payment for environmental services, there is the need to control access, by defining property rights which define rights to particular streams of benefits as well as responsibilities for their provision. Thus, this will determine who has access to particular resources, and whether those who pay the costs of management practices have access to any of the benefits, and therefore have an incentive for conservation.
This chapter discusses the characteristics of the study area, research approach, the target population, sampling frame and size, data collection instruments, procedures for designing questionnaire and administration. It also presents the methods used in data analysis.
The Bongo District is one of the nine Districts in the Upper East Region of Ghana. It shares boundaries with Burkina Faso to the North and East, Kassena-Nankana West and East Districts to the West and Bolgatanga municipality to the South. It lies between longitudes 0.45o W and latitude 10.50o N to 11.09 and has an area of 459.5 square kilometers. It lies within the Oncho-cerciasis-free zone. The District is made up of 36 communities and has 7 Area Councils (Bongo-District, 2012). Figure 3.3 shows the map of Bongo district.
The area is generally flat with occasional outcrops of rocks at an altitude of 200m. The climate is that of Savannah landscape within the Sudan and guinea agro-ecological zone. The area is in danger of desertification with a rainfall of 600-1400mm. The area is selected due to the fact that, the resources from shea trees (e.g shea butter processing) employs close to 75% of women which includes pickers and the processors. It provides a major source of income for most women and their families (Bongo-District, 2012). Shea trees also act as a major source of carbon sink and helps maintain other ecological cycles. Notwithstanding these, shea populations in the area is declining at a faster rate as a result of high incidence of deforestation owing to bush fires, charcoal/fire wood production and agriculture. To address these challenges, the area was selected to help reduce the decline and prevent environmental degradation.
Figure 3.3: Map of study area (Bongo District)
Bhattacherjee et al (2012) indicates that, a research design describes a comprehensive plan for collecting data in an empirical research project aimed at answering specific research questions or testing specific hypotheses, and this must specify at least three processes: the data collection process, the instrument development process, and the sampling process (Bhattacherjee et al., 2012). Having reviewed other designs, the researcher chose to undertake quantitative research approach due to the fact that, it presents an excellent way of finalizing results and proving or disproving a hypothesis.
Primary quantitative data was collected, coded and analyzed for statistical inferences in this study using multiple data collection instruments. Survey questionnaire comprising close- ended and open-ended questionnaire were used to generate primary quantitative data from the sampled population by eliciting stakeholder’s bio-data, benefits of shea trees, ideal institutional and arrangements that would promote payment towards shea trees tree production/conservation.
Secondary data from research institutions, research journals, reports, conferences, websites, natural resources policies and other relevant materials were reviewed and triangulated with the primary data collected for the study.
A reconnaissance survey was carried out by the researcher to gain an insight into the nature of the study area and to establish necessary contacts with opinion leaders such as assembly men, chiefs, and group leaders.
Design of questionnaire and training of data collection assistants for the survey was done at this stage. The questionnaire was designed under sections/categorize to reflect the objectives of the study. Thus, the first section sought to elicit nature and attitudes of respondent towards shea trees conservation in the communities whilst the second section was done to investigate respondents’ views on appropriate governance and institutional arrangements that would facilitate effective governance of shea trees. The third section seeks to identify key strategies for preventing the unsustainably exploitation of shea resources. The fourth section was done to elicit the total benefits derived from shea trees. The fifth section elicited respondents’ willingness to pay towards shea trees conservation whiles, the last section identifies the socio-economic characteristics of respondents indicated in (appendix A).
A population can be defined as all people/stakeholders or items (unit of analysis) with the characteristics that one wishes to study (Bongo-District, 2012). According to the Ghana statistical service (GSS), the population of the Bongo district stood at 84,545 people, out which 40,084 represent males’ whiles the remaining 44,461 represent females (GSS, 2010). As it appears, the total population is too large to be managed by the researcher for efficient generalization. Guided by this definition, the sample for this study focuses on stakeholders within the shea industry such as; shea processors, farmers and selected key informants.
This is an accessible section of the target population from where a sample was drawn. Or it is a list of all elements or other units containing the elements in population. Stakeholders in the shea industry such as; shea processors and farmers formed the sampling frame of this study.
This study employed probability sampling techniques such as multistage sampling techniques. Multistage sampling is a method in which respondents are selected in two or more stages, with the first stage being the random selection of naturally occurring clusters and the last stage being the random selection of elements within the clusters. Thus, the first stage in this study involves the categorization of the various area councils of the districts into 7 clusters. Having done this, three (3) clusters involving communities in which shea trees are found were randomly selected. Having selected the cluster, 5 communities were again purposively selected within these clusters using availability of shea trees, existence of organized groups/association of farmers, sheabutter processors and pickers as criteria for inclusion. Lastly 20 respondents of ages 25 years and above in each community group or associations were randomly selected using systematic random method.
Contingent Valuation Technique was adopted to estimate the farmers’ willingness to pay for an initiative towards the conservation of shea trees. Willingness to pay is the amount of money a person would be willing to pay, sacrifice or exchange for a good or service. It is the amount that must be taken away from the person’s income while keeping his utility constant (Arrow et al., 1993).The contingent valuation method (CVM) is a standard and most widely used survey techniques use to elicit people valuation of non-market goods and services. It employs field interviews or questionnaire surveys in which respondents are required to make hypothetical market decision regarding the non-market goods such as forest and other environmental goods and services.
Notwithstanding some criticism regarding the hypothetical nature of eliciting valuation for non-market goods and service, CVM is widely used among academics and other research and development practitioners (Carson et al., 2001). Among the various elicitation methods such as direct open-ended question, bidding games, referendum method, payment card method, contingent ranking and review and repeat procedures(Venkatachalam, 2004) cited in (Alhassan et al., 2014, referendum method with double bounded dichotomous choice method was adopted for this study as the main elicitation method.
A familiarization visit was conducted to all selected communities to enable the researcher make a community entry to gain acceptance to these communities. Moreover, this activity was also undertaken to establish contacts with key opinion leaders, group leaders, and assembly members of the respective communities. Having done this, questionnaires were administered to 20respondents in each community. Data collection took two weeks within the month of January, 2015.

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