Is deagrarianisation real? A study of livelihood activities in rural northern Ghana
|Joseph Awetori Yaro a1|
a1 Department of Human Geography, University of Oslo.
This article examines the livelihoods, portfolios and degree of deagrarianisation of the peasantry in three villages in northern Ghana. It argues that deagrarianisation should be seen as a process embedded in social change, bearing in mind the reversibility between farm and non-farm livelihood strategies used by households (reagrarianisation?). A livelihoods research approach involving qualitative household interviews and quantitative surveys in three villages in the Kassena-Nankani district constitute primary data for this study. Contrary to the deagrarianisation thesis, this study found that livelihood adaptation, implying both a diversification to new or secondary livelihood activities and changing the form, nature and content of the farm sector, characterised rural livelihoods in the area. The adaptation process involves not just a move from the farm to the non-farm sector, but also an intensification of efforts in the farm sector with seasonal diversification into other livelihood activities. The supposedly ‘booming non-farm sector’ is not entirely real, for reasons of marginalisation and exclusion of the poor peasantry, resulting from spatial, capital, infrastructural and market limitations.
(Published Online February 6 2006)