Polly Hill

The Migrant Cocoa-Farmers of Southern Ghana

A study in rural capitalism
Reihe: Classics in African Anthropology
The Migrant Cocoa-Farmers of Southern Ghana
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  • 978-3-8258-3085-3
  • 1998
  • 310
  • broschiert
  • 19,90
The economic and social organisation of Ghanaian cocoa-farming is very complex, reflecting... mehr
The economic and social organisation of Ghanaian cocoa-farming is very complex, reflecting differences in population density, land tenure, accessibility, soil fertility and other factors. The `small peasant', with his two or three acre farms, is one type of farmer, and it has always been supposed that it was he who created the world's largest cocoa-growing industry. The migration of southern Ghanaian cocoa-farmers, which has been proceeding since the 1890s, was not known to have occurred; and this study shows that it was the migrant, not the `peasant', who was the real innovator. This migrant has scarcely been mentioned in the literature. Dr Polly Hill now gives a full account of his migration, `one of the great events in the recent economic history of Africa south of the Sahara'.

The migrant farmer, who rather resembles a `capitalist' than a `peasant', buys land (or inherits it from those who bought before him) and conventionally uses the proceeds from one cocoa land to purchase others. It is now possible with the aid of farm-maps to study the whole migratory process, with its changing pattern of land ownership, over more than half a century.

The results are revealing. The conventional notion that it was only recently that West Africans began to engage in large-scale economic enterprises is shown to be false. One of the main contentions of this book is that the migrant farmer has been remarkably responsive to economic ends. It is further shown that there is no incompatibility between this kind of enterprise and the continuance of traditional forms of social organisation: nor is there evidence that the enterprising individual found himself hampered by the demands made on him by members of his lineage.

In analysing and recording the details of the migratory process, Dr Polly Hill (formerly Senior Research Fellow, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana) has made an important contribution to the economic history of West Africa. Besides the economists and economic historians for whom the book is primarily intended, it should be studied by lawyers, geographers, social anthropologists, and all concerned with problems of underdevelopment.

In July 1997, Dr Hill was made an Honorary Fellow of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
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