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Gendered dynamics of state-led smallholder commercialisation in Ghana. The case of Nkoranza traditional area

This article contributes to the literature on the nexus between commercial smallholder production, land tenure and gendered dynamics by contextualising these material factors in relation to cultural norms centred around the family and the gendered division of labour between and within agriculture. Although these relationships have been widely explored, the paper’s unique contribution lies in positioning these arguments within the context of ongoing state-led policy processes.

Selorm Kugbega / Published on 4 January 2024

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Kugbega, S. K., & Andersson Djurfeldt, A. (2023). Gendered dynamics of state-led smallholder commercialisation in Ghana. The case of Nkoranza traditional area. Journal of International Development, 35(5), 716–737.

Commercial smallholder production is touted as a mechanism for reducing rural poverty and transforming African agriculture. In line with this ideology, the Ghanaian state introduced two policies to provide incentives for commercial food and tree crop cultivation among smallholder farmers. Policy implementation is done in a blanket manner without considerations of gendered differences in agricultural asset distribution, such as land, and the particular sociocultural opportunities and constraints men and women face in undertaking commercial production. The paper investigates these gendered trajectories using a qualitative methodology. Results reveal the varied nature of women’s constraints and related levels of vulnerability. Although native women are structurally disadvantaged in commercial food crop production, tree crop commercialisation presents an opportunity for them to reclaim dormant land rights safeguarded by their male kin. These results provide perspective for considering gender-sensitive agricultural incentives as well as potential for leveraging on the tree crop sector for attaining gender neutrality.

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SEI author

Selorm Kugbega
Selorm Kugbega

Research Fellow

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