The Migrant Cocoa-Farmers of Southern Ghana

ab 14,90 

Polly Hill

A study in rural capitalism

ISBN 978-3-8258-3085-3
Jahr 1998
Seiten 310
Bindung broschiert
Reihe Classics in African Anthropology

Artikelnummer: 978-3-8258-3085-3 Kategorien: ,


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