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|The Transformation of Agrarian Structure: A Case Study of Twifo-Hemang, Central Region, Ghana
|Howard, Rhoda E.
Brown, Nathaniel David
|<p>This study set out to evaluate a comprehensive rural development project sponsored jointly by the state and private capital in Twifo-Hemang, a rural sub-district in the Central Region of Ghana. This oil palm production project involved the compulsory acquisition by the state and capital, of Iarge tracts of peasant Iands, and the expropriation of large numbers of direct producers from their means of production. The analysis was made on two levels. First, the immediate and long-term impact of the capitalist intrusion on agrarian structure, defined dynamically as changes in the relations of ownership, control and usufruct of land, and the changing roles of different social classes and strata in the process of production. Accordingly, the focal point of analysis was class formation and social differentiation. Second, an appraisal of the project was made in terms of its officially stated objectives, based on the existing evidence at the time this field work took place. It was found that the chances of significant increases in the incomes and improvements in the living standards among the generality of the members of society remain an unfulfilled dream contrary to the stated objectives of the development project. The thesis demonstrably supported by this work is that the large scale infiltration of new technologies and capitalist forms of production into peasant communities and the extensive appropriation of peasant lands, as occurred in this study, involve the skewing of relations to the means of production in favour of a minority who extract the surplus produced by the majority direct producers. This generates new processes of class formation and socio-economic differentiation. The position taken is that rural development planners should not only be concerned with the economic viability of projects, but they should also take account of their long-term social-structural implications within the target areas. This study does not support the ultimate decomposition thesis which regards the peasantry as a transitional phenomenon to be eventually engulfed by capitalism in underdeveloped societies. The capitalist and peasant forms of production will continue to coexist, albeit on unequal and contradictory terms, in Twifo-Hemang.</p>
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