The Effects of Biofuel Feedstock Production on Farmers' Livelihoods in Ghana: The Case of Jatropha curcas
The widespread acquisition of land for large-scale/commercial production of biofuel crops in Ghana has raised concerns from civil society organizations, local communities and other parties, regarding the impact of these investments on local livelihoods. This paper assessed the effect of large-scale acquisition of land for production of Jatropha curcas on farmers' livelihoods in Ghana. The study was conducted in 11 communities spanning the major agro-ecological zones and political divisions
... ical divisions across Ghana. Methods of data collection included questionnaire survey, interviews and focus group discussions. Results show that several households have lost their land to Jatropha plantations leading, in some cases, to violent conflicts between biofuel investors, traditional authorities and the local communities. Most people reported that, contrary to the belief that Jatropha does well on marginal lands, the lands acquired by the Jatropha Companies were productive lands. Loss of rights over land has affected households' food production and security, as many households have resorted to reducing the area they have under cultivation, leading to shortening fallow periods and declining crop yields. In addition, although the cultivation of Jatropha led to the creation of jobs in the communities where they were started, such jobs were merely transient. The paper contends that, even though the impact of Jatropha feedstock production on local livelihoods in Ghana is largely negative, the burgeoning industry could be developed in ways that could support local livelihoods.