Land Grabbing and the Gendered Livelihood Experience of Smallholder Farmers in Northern Ghana: Through a Human Development and Capability Lens

Citation:

Agbley, Gideon Kofi. 2019. "Land Grabbing and the Gendered Livelihood Experience of Smallholder Farmers in Northern Ghana: Through a Human Development and Capability Lens." Ghana Journal of Development Studies 16 (1): 155-80.

 

Author: Gideon Kofi Agbley

Abstract:

The phenomenon of land grabbing in developing countries has led to worsening livelihood choices for smallholder farmers who depended on communal lands for subsistence. While previous analyses of land grabs were framed in a paradigm that emphasised outcomes, this study is framed within a human development approach which places emphasis on both outcomes and procedural concerns. The procedural concerns are in relation to representation prior to and during negotiations for land acquisitions. The study is based on analysis of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions to assess BioFuel Africa Limited’s investments in two communities in northern Ghana. Results show the company is no longer operating its jatropha (jatropha curcas) plantation and therefore the inability to provide jobs promised. Meanwhile the clearing of large contiguous tracts of lands have had devastating impacts on the livelihoods of women and men. The study revealed that there was poor participation of women in all stages and processes of the land acquisitions for the project, and that the land acquirer had failed to fully implement the procedural concerns of equity, efficiency, participation and sustainability in the acquisitions of lands for the project. It is recommended that large-scale land deals should be conditioned on proper disposal and utilization of lands within specified time frames, failure for which land is reverted to original use.

 

Keywords: land grabs, equity, efficiency, participation, sustainability

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Land Grabbing, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2019

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