Edited by Michael R. Redclift and Graham Woodgate
Chapter 30: Agricultural development policy and the environment in Ghana
Mahamudu B. Seidu INTRODUCTION This chapter traces the development of official agricultural development strategies in the West African country of Ghana from the colonial era through to the present day, placing greatest emphasis on the policies of successive post-colonial governments. The central characteristics of these policies are related to the general political objectives of respective government regimes, while their impact is analysed in terms of the achievement of their stated objectives (their intended outcome) and their unintended consequences with respect to local livelihoods and the environments upon which these depend for their continued reproduction. Like many of the country’s political institutions, current issues in Ghana have been shaped by past policies. To gain an insight into current agricultural and environmental issues in Ghana thus requires an examination of the sociopolitical and socioeconomic strategies of successive governments. Emphasis is placed on the period since independence in 1960, largely because the drive for development in Ghana became strongest after independence. However, events of the colonial era deserve some brief narration. FROM FIRST ENCOUNTERS TO INDEPENDENCE The main objective of the first European sailors who set foot on the Gold Coast during the last two decades of the fifteenth century was to conduct trade with the local inhabitants. These intrepid Portuguese sailors had heard from the Moors about abundant supplies of gold dust and nuggets available in the area. The initial interest of the Portuguese in trade of commodities soon expanded to include slaves, trade in which quickly eclipsed all other commercial activities....
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