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Struggles over family land? Tree crops, land and labour in Ghana's Brong-Ahafo region

Evans, R. ORCID:, Mariwah, S. and Barima Antwi, K. (2015) Struggles over family land? Tree crops, land and labour in Ghana's Brong-Ahafo region. Geoforum, 67. pp. 24-35. ISSN 0016-7185

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.10.006


Agricultural land use in much of Brong-Ahafo region, Ghana has been shifting from the production of food crops towards increased cashew nut cultivation in recent years. This article explores everyday, less visible, gendered and generational struggles over family farms in West Africa, based on qualitative, participatory research in a rural community that is becoming increasingly integrated into the global capitalist system. As a tree crop, cashew was regarded as an individual man's property to be passed on to his wife and children rather than to extended family members, which differed from the communal land tenure arrangements governing food crop cultivation. The tendency for land, cash crops and income to be controlled by men, despite women's and young people's significant labour contributions to family farms, and for women to rely on food crop production for their main source of income and for household food security, means that women and girls are more likely to lose out when cashew plantations are expanded to the detriment of land for food crops. Intergenerational tensions emerged when young people felt that their parents and elders were neglecting their views and concerns. The research provides important insights into gendered and generational power relations regarding land access, property rights and intra-household decision-making processes. Greater dialogue between genders and generations may help to tackle unequal power relations and lead to shared decision-making processes that build the resilience of rural communities.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Walker Institute
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Human Environments
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:44912
Uncontrolled Keywords:Gender and intergenerational relations Land access Property rights Division of labour Rural community resilience West Africa


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