The state and agriculture, the social dynamics of agricultural policy in Ghana, 1900-1994
Abstract (Summary)During the last two decades, many African countries experienced a crisis in agriculture. The economic, political and social consequences of the crisis exposed the fragile nature of agriculture in Africa and established the importance of agriculture in national developrnent. In analyzing the causes of the agricultural crisis, several studies have converged on the role of the state and attributed the problem to failure of the postcolonial state's agricultural policies. However, the postcolonial state is a product of the colonial one. Therefore, any analysis of the postcolonial state's role in the agricultural crisis must begin with the colonial state. In focusing on the state, previous studies also made an implicit assumprion about the state's power to create and manage the conditions required for agricultural development. Neither the state nor agricultural development exists in a vacuum. State power functions within a social context. Like any form of economic activity, agricultural development depends on the availability of several resources and a reward scheme. The state's role in agricultural development, therefore, depends on how agricultural policies impact social groups directly and indirectly involved in the agricultural sector in terms of conditions of access to and the availability of resources and rewards. This study examines the state's role in agriculture and the implications for food security in Ghana. The study discusses agricultural policy performance by emphasizing the social dynamics that condition access to resources and rewards for social groups. The study also probes into the socio-cultural and political milieu that explain the context for, and outcornes of agriculniral policy performance in the nature and stnicture of the colonial and postcolonial state, and how perceptions of development determine the state's relationship with social groups. Analyzing agricultural policy from these complex relations, the study arrives at the conclusion that the agricultural crisis is the result of ineffective agricultural policies, emanating from the dynamics an6 sometimes contradictory relations between the state and social groups. In light of the ineffectiveness of agricultural policy, the study calls for changes in state-society relations. These changes, the study contends, are necessary if the goals and actions of agricultural policy are to enhance the role of agriculture in national development and promote food security.
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/1998