IEE Newsletter No. 27

Research Activities: Field Research in Ghana funded by RUB Research School Project International (PR.INT) Grant

PhD IDS candidate Anne Siebert spent a field research period in Ghana from February to March 2018.

With financial support from the RUB Research School Plus, I spent a short but intensive research period in Accra, Ghana. This stay was part of my PhD project on ‘Food Sovereignty and Urban Agriculture: Understanding Interlinkages and Exploring Implications in the South African and Ghanaian Context’.

Urban Food Production in Accra under Pressure

According to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, 80% of the vegetables consumed in Accra are produced in the city. In this way, urban and peri-urban food production contributes to food security, provides income opportunities, and has several environmental benefits. However, food producers in Accra are under lot of pressure, given insecure land and water access. What is more, many squatters do not seem to be part of the city’s transformation into a modern, business-friendly ‘Millennium City’. Thus, urban food production is at risk of being replaced by real estate investments.

Farming under Power Lines in AccraMany food producers in Accra are desperate for land. Thus, open spaces under power lines and along railways can offer a world of opportunity (picture: Siebert).

Data Gathering through Key Informant Interviews

Against this background, the purpose of my research was twofold. First, I intended to understand the particularities of agriculture in the metropolis and the related challenges. In this regard, I talked to food producers in different areas. Second, I explored the work of farmers’ associations, NGOs, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, as well as the Accra Metropolitan Assembly in supporting urban agriculture. I was particularly interested in whether these organisations rather contributed or challenged food sovereignty in practice. I mainly gathered information through key informant interviews and participatory observations. Moreover, representatives from the government provided reports and strategy papers.

Attendance of Urban Food Plus Stakeholder Workshop

In addition, my stay coincided with the Urban Food Plus Stakeholder Workshop “Feeding the City: Urban Agriculture in Ghana”, which took place on 7-9 March at the University for Development Studies in Tamale. The workshop allowed me to gain valuable insights into the central findings of an interdisciplinary research project.

Conference Presentation at Universtiy of Ghana

Food Systems Conference

The Ghana Food Systems Conference brought together important stakeholders including researchers, NGOs working in the field of food and agriculture and most importantly, farmers from different regions to share their experiences (picture: Siebert).

At the end of my visit to Ghana, I was invited to share my experiences at the conference “Ghana Food Systems Conference: Smallholder Farmer in Ghana’s Food System” (27-28 March) at the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra. This was a great opportunity to learn more about the lived experiences of smallholders and network with researchers working in this field.

SiebertAnne Siebert
Research Fellow + PhD Student
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: +49 (0)234 / 32-19024
Fax: +49 (0)234 / 32-14294

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