Winners and losers: Exploring the differential impacts of agricultural expansion in Ethiopia and Ghana

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Peer Reviewed

This paper examines how smallholder farmers are differentially affected by agricultural expansion in their communities and landscapes. Contributing to the debate on intensification versus expansion, and implications for sustainability, we employ mixed methods research with smallholders in four communities in Ghana and Ethiopia to explore the impact of agricultural expansion among different social groups (men, women, the young, older, the poor and rich community members) across different timescales. Surveys were conducted with 200 households per community on livelihoods, land management practices, and involvement in agricultural expansion. Focus group discussions were conducted with different categories of farming households to support the initial surveys.
Results indicate that agricultural expansion may have both negative and positive effects on livelihood outcomes depending on timescale, participation in expansion, choices of other households, and individual roles in the household. Short-term wins are likely to result in losses in the long term due to changing conditions. Households that have not expanded may lose benefits such as food and income from nature, due to the externalities resulting from the activities of expanders.

Nugun P. Jellason

Publication | 19 July 2022