Support for large scale agricultural investments in Africa has been mainly premised on their employment prospects for local populations. However, despite earlier calls by Tania Li to centre labour in the land grabs debate, labour is generally invisible in both mainstream policy and academic research. This paper, through a governance lens, draws attention to the implications of the global land rush on wage labour. In principle, policy frameworks that emphasise the labour potentials from large-scale land investments also gravitate towards regulations that seek to facilitate capital accumulation and mitigate negative impacts on communities – congruent with Ghana’s policy direction. This paper assesses the political-economic context of the legislative gaps in the current governance framework for wage labour and large-scale agriculture in Ghana; characterised mainly by absent, illusively present and repressive institutions. It is supported with empirical findings from the nature of farm workers’ incorporation into a transnational oil palm plantation in Ghana, their struggles over the nature of the investment, and the political orientation of the existing regulatory institutions. The study calls for policy measures which address power relations that shape the distribution of benefits from land investments, and also recognise structural inequalities that exist in and outside of agriculture.
Authors and Publishers
Gyapong, Adwoa Yeboah
Land Use Policy is an international and interdisciplinary journal concerned with the social, economic, political, legal, physical and planning aspects of urban and rural land use. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information from the diverse range of disciplines and interest groups which must be combined to formulate effective land use policies.
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