The Cocoa Farmers of Southern Ghana
- Incentives, Institutions, and Change in Rural West Africa
Occasional Papers Series
Many economists have argued that the provision of price incentives to farmers is essential for agricultural development in Africa. However, many non-price market interactions are also important in understanding the actual transactions we observe in African rural societies. Based on the data derived from fieldwork in the cocoa-growing areas in southern Ghana, this book clarifies how various non-price factors, such as indigenous land tenure systems and gender relations, influence the production incentives of individual farmers. By focusing on the institutional aspects of farmer strategies, the study argues that the role of price incentive in agricultural production needs to be reconsidered, by placing it in wider incentive structures embedded in local institutions. The study also contributes to an understanding of historical changes in Ghanaian cocoa production. In the early twentieth century, when uncultivated land was still abundant, Ghanaian smallholders rapidly expanded the area under cocoa farming. In recent years, however, there has come to be little uncultivated land available in Ghana to expand the area of cocoa production, while the present production areas have increasingly come under pressure from population growth. The study tries to clarify the way such changes have affected smallholder cocoa production in the past fifty years.