Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Space, Time, Rhetoric and Agricultural Change in the Transition Zone of Ghana

  • Published:
Human Ecology Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

This paper examines change within farming systems in the Brong Ahafo Region in Ghana, and the impact of agricultural modernization and mechanization on the regional economy and local farming systems. It combines anthropological, historical, and remote sensing techniques to document changes in farming practice and land use and land cover. It argues that change is not the product of simple evolutionary sequences of responses to population pressures or adoption of modern technologies, but arises out of a complex set of factors interacting within wider regional economies, which are increasingly commodified and commercialized and subject to global market pressures. These include technical, institutional, market, movements of labor, and transport infrastructure development dimensions, which often create new opportunities for local farmers other than those envisaged in agricultural development policies. Tracing the opening up of the transition zone over the last 40–50 years through the development of state farms and mechanized synthetic agriculture, the paper examines the changing fortunes of farming systems within a radius of 30–40 km from agricultural technology hubs and the implications for models of agricultural development.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. This compares with 130 in Ashanti, 109 in the Eastern Region, and 103 in the Upper East Region of Ghana.

  2. According to the 2000 Population Census, the transition zone districts of Kintampo and Wenchi had population densities of 21 and 22 people per square kilometer, respectively, while the high forest zone districts of Berekum and Dormaa have population densities of 88 and 109 people per square kilometer, close to the more densely populated regions.

  3. This information is largely derived from interviews with employees at the state farm, and from small farmers in the vicinity.

  4. One bag of maize weighs 110 kg.

  5. The application of synthetic fertilizer to soils also had a detrimental effect on the quality of yams. Yams planted with synthetic fertilizers grow to very large sizes, but they develop poor taste and texture characteristics and have an unpleasant hairy appearance, which repels urban consumers.

  6. This compares with similar figures for use of inputs in farming systems near other state farms in Ghana in the same period. In a study of farmers near the Ejura State Farms in northern Ashanti, Tripp (1993) recorded that 66% of farmers used fertilizers and 58% of farmers used tractors in land preparation.

References

  • Amanor, K. S. (1993). Social/Environmental Baseline Study, Wenchi Farmer Training Project, Wenchi.

  • Amanor, K. S. (1994). The New Frontier: Farmers’ Response to Land Degradation, Zed, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Amanor, K. S. (1996). Managing Trees in the Farming System: The Perspective of Farmers, Forestry Department, Kumasi.

    Google Scholar 

  • Amanor, K. S., Brown, D., and Richards, M. (2002). Poverty dimensions of public governance and forest management in Ghana. Final Technical Report: NRSP Project, R7957. Natural Resource Management Project, Overseas Development Institute, London and Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon.

  • Buckland, J. (2004). Ploughing up the Farm: Neoliberalism, Modern Technology and the State of the World’s Farmers, Zed, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clarke, G. (1994). Onions are My Husband: Survival and Accumulation by West African Market Women, Chicago University Press, Chicago.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cline-Cole, R. (1996). Manufacturing forests and farming trees in Nigeria. In Leach, M., and Mearns, R. (eds.), The Lie of the Land: Challenging Received Wisdom on the African Environment, Oxford: James Curry and Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, pp. 122–139.

  • Fairhead, J., and Leach, M. (1996). Misreading the African Landscape: Society and Ecology in a Forest-savanna Mosaic, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fairhead, J., and Leach, M. (1998). Reframing Deforestation: Global Analysis and Local Realities: Studies in West Africa, Routledge, London and New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goodman, D., and Redclift, M. (1991). Refashioning Nature: Food, Ecology and Nature, Routledge, London and New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Guyer, J. (1997). An African Niche Economy: Farming to Feed Ibadan 1968–88, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press for London: International African Institute.

  • Hailu, Z. (1990). The Adoption of Modern Farm Practices in African Agriculture: Empirical Evidence about the Impact of Household Characteristics and Input Supply Systems in the Northern Region of Ghana, Nyakapala Agricultural Research Report no. 7, Eschborn: GTZ.

  • Irwin, E. G., and Geoghegan, J. (2001). Theory, Data, Methods: Developing a Spatial Explicit Economic Model of Land Use Change. Agricultural Ecosystems and Environments 85(1–3): 7–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Keeley, J., and Scoones, I. (2003). Understanding Environmental Policy Processes: Cases from Africa, Earthscan, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Konings, P. (1986). The State and Rural Class Formation in Ghana, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kummer, D., and Sham, C. H. (1994). The causes of tropical deforestation: a quantitative analysis and case study from the Philippines. In Brown, K., and Pearce, D. W. (eds.), The Causes of Tropical Deforestation, University College of London Press, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lam, N., and Quattrochi, D. A. (1992). On the Issue of Scale, Resolution, and Fractal Analysis in the Mapping Sciences. Professional Geographer 44: 88–98.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lambin, E. F., Turner, B. L., Geist, H. J., Agbola, S. B., Angelsen, A., Bruce, J. W., Coomes, O. T., Dirzo, R., Fischer, G., Folke, C., George, P. S., Homewood, K., Imbernon, J., Leemans, R., Li, X., Moran, E. F., Mortimore, M., Ramakrishnan, P. S., Richards, J. F., Skanes, H., Steffen, W., Stone, G. D., Svedin, U., Veldkamp, T. A., Volgel, C., and Xu, J. (2001). The Causes of Land-use and Land-cover Change: Moving Beyond the Myths. Global Environmental Change 11(2): 261–269.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Leach, G., and Mearns R. (1988). Beyond the Woodfuel Crisis: People, Land and Trees in Africa, Earthscan, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Leach, M., and Mearns, R. (1996). Challenging received wisdom in Africa. In Leach, M., and Merns, R. (eds.), The Lie of the Land: Challenging Received Wisdom on the African Environment, Oxford: James Curry and Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, pp. 1–33.

  • McMichael, P. (2000). Global food politics. In Magdoff, F., Foster, J. B., and Buttel, F. H. (eds.), Hungry for Profits: The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers, Food and the Environment, Monthly Review, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ministry of Food and Agriculture (2002). Food and Agricultural Sector Development Policy (FASDEP), Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Accra.

    Google Scholar 

  • Miracle, M. P., and Seidman, A. (1968). State Farms in Ghana, Land Tenure Center, Madison.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mortimore, M. (1998). Roots in the African Dust: Sustaining the Drylands, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Obeng, H. B. (1973). Problems of Soil Erosion in Cereal Crop Production in Ghana. African Soils 17: 75–79.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pabi, O., and Morgan, E. A. (2002). Land-Cover Change in the Northern Forest-Savanna Transition of Ghana, Final Report for NRSP Project R795, Department of Geography, University of Ghana.

  • Plan Consult (1993). Roots and Tubers: A Report by the Commodity Committee of National Agricultural Research Project, Vol. 4, Plan Consult, Accra.

    Google Scholar 

  • Purseglove, J. W. (1978). Tropical Crops; Monocotyledons, Longmans, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Richards, P. (1985). Indigenous Agricultural Revolution: Ecology and Food Production in West Africa, London: Hutchinson and Boulder: Westview Press, Boulder.

    Google Scholar 

  • Richards, P. (1987). Indigenous Agricultural Revolution, Hutchinson, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Saura, S., and Millan, M. (2001). Sensitivity of Landscape Patterns Metrics to Map Spatial Extent. Photogramatric Engineering and Remote Sensing 67(9): 1027–1036.

    Google Scholar 

  • Scoones, I., and Wolmer, W. (2002). Pathways of Change in Africa: Crops, Livestock and Livelihoods in Mali, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, James Currey, Oxford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tiffen, M., Mortimore, M., and Gichuki, F. (1994). More People, Less Erosion: Environmental Recovery in Kenya, Wiley, Chichester.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tou, J. T., and Gonzalez, R. C. (1974). Pattern Recognition Principles, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tripp, R. (1993). Invisible Hands, Indigenous Knowledge, and Inevitable Fads: Challenges to Public Sector Agricultural Research in Ghana. World Development 21(12): 2002–2016.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Watts, M. (1994). Life under contract: contract farming, agrarian restructuring and flexible accumulation. In Little, P., and Watts, M. (eds.), Living under Contract: Contract Farming and Agrarian Transformations in Sub-Sahara Africa, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, pp. 21–77.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The research on which this paper is based was sponsored by the Natural Resource Management Systems Programme (NRSP) of the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not the NRSP. Opoku Pabi was also supported by funding from Wenner Gren Foundation to visit University of Louvain to further develop analysis of remote sensing data. We would also like to thank Jane Guyer for her assistance, encouragement and help.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kojo S. Amanor.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Amanor, K.S., Pabi, O. Space, Time, Rhetoric and Agricultural Change in the Transition Zone of Ghana. Hum Ecol 35, 51–67 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-006-9081-6

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-006-9081-6

Key words

Navigation