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Law, state and the internationalisation of agricultural capital in Ghana: a comparison of colonial export production and post-colonial production for the home market

By Yao Graham


Law and State, especially forms of landed property and contract, have played an important mediatory role in the internationalisation of agricultural capital in Ghana. The establishment of cocoa production in Ghana in the late nineteenth and the early part of the twentieth century established the predominance of small holder peasant production in Ghanaian agriculture. The production and export of cocoa also established a specific form of internationalisation of agricultural capital in Ghana. This involved the subsumption of peasant commodity producers within the circuit of international capital. Because capital did not directly control production its relations with the peasantry centred around struggles over both the conditions of labour. in the sphere of production and over the realisation of the value of the peasants' product, in the sphere of circulation. These struggles were moulded by legal forms of landed property controlled by the direct producer and the character of the contractual relationship between peasant and the representatives of capital.\ud The transformation induced by cocoa production included changes in forms of landed property, a process in which the colonial state played an important role. These changes have been a significant influence on the subsequent forms of internationalisation of agricultural capital in the post colonial period. The thesis shows through an analysis of the post colonial sugar and oil palm industries the nature of this influence. It also shows ho«- the shift in the proclaimed objectives of the state from the colonial concern with export agriculture to the "nationalist" post colonial goal of seif reliance came to be co-opted by new forms of international capital and the mediatory role of legal forms, especially contract, in this process of co-optation.\ud This work is based mainly on written primary and secondary sources, complemented by intcrviews with some officials of the some of the institutions covered in the thesis. My secondary sources include unpublished essays and thesis, books, articles, reports, studies by companies, government bodies and similar such published material. Most of the primary material used in the parts of the work that deal with the colonial period conic from the British Public Records Office and the Ghana National Archives in Accra. For the post colonial period a substantial part of the primary information was gathered using personal contacts in various state institutions, particularly the Ministry of finance and Economic Planning, the Attorney General Department and the Ghana Investment Centre

Topics: S1, HF
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:2310

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