Sharecropping arrangement in the contemporary agricultural economy of Ghana: A study of Techiman North District and Sefwi Wiawso Municipality, Ghana
Keywords:Sharecropping, Contemporary, Agriculture, Agricultural Economy, Land, Techiman, Sefwi, Ghana
The desire for plantation farms and the availability of fertile uncultivated lands coupled with the influx of migrant farmers into the plantation frontiers during the mid-eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries largely occasioned the emergence of the share cropping mechanism in the then Gold Coast. Using two districts in Ghana, this study examined sharecroppers land access mode in the contemporary agricultural economy of Ghana. Mixed methods research was used in this study and focused on sharecrop-tenants as well as the sharecrop-landlords as the key research respondents. The results show that across the two areas, abunu system of tenancy was the dominant sharecropping arrangement. The benefit share of the landlord has moved from one-third (1/3) per the traditional abusa tenant system to 50% under the modern abunu system for tree crop plantations. The tenant-farmers’ percentage share has, however, declined from 2/3 to ½ under the current abunu system and in some cases the sharing arrangement is restricted to the proceeds and not the land. Again, the tenants now have to make upfront monetary payment in order to access land, which was not the case in the past. The share tenancy arrangement is on an evolutionary trajectory towards equalizing entitlements to proceeds, in a manner that seems to disadvantage the tenant farmers and keep them in the cycle of tenancy. The study underscores the need for further research to fully understand the drivers of these variations and emerging trends of the sharecropping land access dynamics for an informed policy response.