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From Agroforestry to Agroindustry: Smallholder Access to Benefits From Oil Palm in Ghana and the Implications for Sustainability Certification

From Agroforestry to Agroindustry: Smallholder Access to Benefits From Oil Palm in Ghana and the Implications for Sustainability Certification

Khatun, Kaysara, Maguire-Rajpaul, Victoria Alice, Asante, Elizabeth Asiedua and McDermott, Constance L. (2020) From Agroforestry to Agroindustry: Smallholder Access to Benefits From Oil Palm in Ghana and the Implications for Sustainability Certification. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4:29. ISSN 2571-581X (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.00029)

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Abstract

Oil palm production in Ghana—which is primarily cultivated by smallholders (60%+)—plays an important role in local economies and rural livelihoods. As a multi-functional crop, it is embedded in the everyday life of rural and urban Ghanaians both by individual households and on an industrial level. The sector is currently experiencing a resurgence under Ghana’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) rule and is being targeted by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) for yield intensification and increased export production. End goals of these efforts include poverty alleviation, environmentally responsible development efforts, and agricultural diversification in rural areas. We apply Ribot and Peluso’s “theory of access” (2003) to assess the barriers and opportunities for smallholder oil palm farmers, and the degree to which these are addressed by RSPO interventions. Our results highlight how Ghanaian smallholders gain many benefits from palm oil production as a source of regular income, a drought-resilient crop, and a source of cooking oil for household use. However, they also report different levels of access to finance, markets, land, and technical support, along with differing views and visions of the oil palm sector’s development. The focus of governmental and RSPO initiatives on international trade-based incentives overlooks this diversity and, in particular, the importance of local markets for Ghanaian livelihoods. This poses a threat to women millers and traders, poorer producers, and the local markets they supply who risk losing access to the palm oil supply chain. More generally, these findings illustrate the importance of understanding how markets interact at multiple local to international scales, in order to design interventions that will more equitably reach and benefit local communities.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 Khatun, Maguire-Rajpaul, Asante and McDermott. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Uncontrolled Keywords: best management practices, rural livelihoods, oil palm, commodities, land use change
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Livelihoods & Institutions Department
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2020 23:28
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF 2020/1: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/27433

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