The Politics of Rice Farming in Dagbon, 1972-1979

Adrien Antoine
This dissertation examines the agricultural policies of the Acheampong military regime towards rice farmers in Dagbon, a traditional area in the Northern Region of Ghana, and the relationship that developed between the farmers and the regime as a result. Commercial rice production expanded rapidly when the regime's policy of self-sufficiency in food parcelled out the North as the main rice production zone. All farmers were expected to participate in the programme, but in consequence of the
more » ... e of the policies employed to encourage rice production it was the big and well-connected ones who gained at the expense of the smaller farmers. The relationship between these privileged rice farmers and the government was further enhanced by their membership of, or support for, the local ruling chieftaincy faction which was in turn supported by the regime. It was a reciprocal arrangement by which the regime in turn received the full support and co-operation of that faction, especially during the referendum on Union Government in 1978. However, it was the prominent rice farmers, working in collaboration with the ruling chiefs, and operating mainly through local institutions, who acted as local agents and ambassadors of the regime. Of course it was not all big rice farmers who supported the regime, but those who did not found it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain assistance from local farming agencies, and represented the main source of opposition to government policies. In return for their support for the regime the farmers were rewarded with import licences, huge bank loans, access to all available farming inputs, and even officials' co-operation in smuggling. On their part the farmers cultivated vast rice farms for commissioners and senior officials posted in the South. The fall of Acheampong in July 1978 rendered the position of his client farmers very vulnerable, but their initial fears were assuaged when the incoming regime failed to take effective action against those alleged to have 'abused' the system. When th [...]
doi:10.25501/soas.00033846 fatcat:wornxzm7lrhp3ndaa34upzyhkq