Re-engaging the Distribution of Rewards among Small-Scale Farmers and Traders in Ghana: An Empirical Study of Trusting Practices in Yam and Cassava Agricultural Trade

Anne Lassen Zakaria

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandling

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A number of Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries including Ghana have experienced positive growth rates in recent years. Unfortunately, these growth rates have not transformed into sustainable inclusive development and reduced poverty in many cases (Hailu and Tsukada, 2011). Within agricultural trade in Ghana, among yam and cassava farmers and traders, actors operate in a semi-informal economy, in which there is minimal external support for their business operations and livelihoods. They rely on family, network and long term friends in doing business and generating incomes.
Scholars within trust research suggest that when there is minimal supporting mechanisms in informal business context, actors rely on trust and networks to minimize risk. Furthermore, trusting processes have been found to be ingrained in social relations (Granovetter, 1985), which indicates the need to explore issues of trusting in specific contexts, rather than assuming away trusting as a pre-defined approach that works the same way in any context.
This research thus investigates how small scale farmers and traders in Ghana dealing with the local roots and tubers called yam and cassava, cope and do business in a high risk environment. The research particularly investigates in which ways issues of trusting affect farmer-trader relations by investigating the relational and dynamic development processes of trusting in starting, maintaining, breaching and repairing trading relations. This is important to investigate as part of a strengthened focus on small and informal private enterprise driven development in reducing poverty in developing countries (Fafchamps et al., 2001). This approach strengthens individuals’ capacity to care for themselves and their families.
This study thus aims at exploring the current practices of farmers and traders involved in yam and cassava production and trade, and how they relate and do business. By exploring existing practices, the knowledge obtained may contribute to tailoring development interventions that consider existing systems, and thus combine a more sustainable approach to development in developing countries, as well as in doing business.
The PhD is based on a detailed qualitative study with farmers, traders, and decision makers undertaken in 3 regions of Ghana: Northern, Brong-Ahafo, and the Ashanti regions. Particularly, issues of informal credit facilities, gift-giving, religion and reciprocation runs through the thesis as pertaining and relevant issues in relation to trusting dynamics among farmers and traders.
The study found that the development, the maintenance, violation and repairing of trusting influenced and was influenced in a variety of ways which was highlighted through the frame of Bourdieu’s theory of practice in this study. Bourdieu’s theory provided tools to evaluate trusting as relational. This approach to the study of trusting, allowed an examination of what the rules of the game were in yam and cassava trade, and in this sense what role trusting had in this game.
The study thus contributes to the ongoing development of theories and concepts within trust research that seek to acknowledge structure-agency issues further in relation to trusting. Moreover, the study contributes to acknowledging existing systems further, in development and business initiatives with a larger focus on entrepreneurship and small-scale business practice.
ForlagAalborg Universitetsforlag
Antal sider299
ISBN (Elektronisk): 978-87-7112-741-6
StatusUdgivet - 2016
NavnPh.d.-serien for Det Humanistiske Fakultet, Aalborg Universitet

Bibliografisk note

PhD supervisor:
Kirsten Jæger, Associate Professor at Department of Culture and Global Studies, AAU

Assistant PhD supervisor:
Robert Aidoo, Associate Professor at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Department of Agri-Economics

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