Long-Term Change, Commercialisation of Cocoa Farming, and Agroecosystems and Forest Rehabilitation in Ghana
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Cocoa production has a long history in Ghana, originating in the late nineteenth century. Since then, cocoa production has seen significant changes. Originally, cocoa was cultivated in newly cleared forests in which many forest trees were preserved as shade trees. Cocoa is ideally suited to these conditions and produces high yields with minimum investment in labour and inputs. However, over time, as the forest conditions change, the cost of cultivating cocoa has increased and yields have declined. As long as new forest frontiers exist, farmers have continued to move into these areas, which have displaced older areas of cultivation, since the costs of production are significantly lower in the new frontiers. In recent years, however, new forest frontiers have declined and most cocoa farmers have been forced to rehabilitate and replant cocoa in open land. This study examines the rational of frontier development; changes in land relations, labour relations and use of technology; and the impact of these factors on different categories of farmers, including women and youth. This is developed through two comparative case studies drawn from the older cocoa frontier of the Eastern Region, and the more recent frontier of Western North Region.