Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

History

First Advisor

Allen, James

Second Advisor

Benti, Getahun

Abstract

In the twenty-first century, African farmers are still in the grips of economic stagnation and are being subjected to neo-liberal developmental policies such as structural adjustment and trade liberalization. However, small-scale producers have not disengaged from the state as some scholars assert like Goran Hyden. In Ghana, producers came together in the form of a farmers' union to address their economic needs not through the "economy of affection" where they relied on kinship and other forms of familial alliances but rather through networks of market-oriented economic association. One such association for agriculture producers was the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers' Union, a cocoa farmers' association. The formation of the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers' Union created a complex interaction between the state and agricultural producers. Smallholder cocoa producers, through such organizations, laid claim as actors in economic development. The state, through its historic role as financier of agricultural production, tried to find new avenues to dominate rural producers even in a post liberalized world, where the state was supposed to be withdrawing from active involvement in the economy and allowing the private sector to be the main engine of economic growth. It is within this framework of contestation that this study contends that scholars should examine the relations between state and agricultural producers, and the implications of this relationship on economic development and the marketplace. I argue that this complex interaction is not a clear situation of the "economy of affection" or the total dominance of the state but rather a complex interaction in which the state most often has the upper hand but does not suppress the ability of agricultural producers to be meaningful actors in the marketplace. Commodity farmers are not limited to the sphere of production or "exit" from the national economy but try to empower their members through fair trade practices and direct involvement in the confectionery industry in order to take control over their product and become active participants in the world market.

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