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The European Journal of Development Research

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 95–117 | Cite as

Small-Town Agricultural Markets in Northern Ghana and Their Connection to Rural and Urban Transformation

  • Hanna KargEmail author
  • Imogen Bellwood-Howard
  • Edmund K. Akoto-Danso
  • Johannes Schlesinger
  • Takemore Chagomoka
  • Axel Drescher
Special Issue Article

Abstract

Markets are critical in connecting small towns with agricultural activities in their rural hinterland. This paper presents data from north-eastern Ghana on grain marketing and trade flows, combined with data on expansion of built and transport infrastructure in five linked towns of a periodic market system. Rurally sourced goods flow through historically established small-town and regional markets to national and international markets. Simultaneously, infrastructure and service provision develops in those small towns. These trends are linked by recursive, reinforcing processes of increasing consumption, agricultural commercialisation and economic diversification. Historical structures, such as periodic markets, and the nature of the commodities involved are central to this linkage and interact with policy: the commodities concerned have been promoted in northern Ghana in preceding decades, and contribute to small-town market development by integrating smoothly into existing local systems. Historical continuity is therefore central to the role that small towns play in rural–urban transformation.

Keywords

Agricultural market Northern Ghana Small town Periodic markets Territorial approach 

Résumé

Les marchés sont essentiels pour relier les petites villes aux activités agricoles dans leur arrière-pays rural. Cet article présente des données du nord-est du Ghana sur la commercialisation des céréales et les flux commerciaux, ainsi que des données sur l’expansion des infrastructures de construction et de transport dans cinq villes reliées par un marché périodique. Les produits qui viennent des zones rurales circulent à travers les marchés historiquement établis au niveau des régions et des petites villes, vers les marchés nationaux et internationaux. Simultanément, les infrastructures et les services se développent dans ces petites villes. Ces tendances sont liées par des processus récursifs et entremêlés d’augmentation de la consommation, de la commercialisation agricole et de la diversification économique. Les structures historiques, telles que les marchés périodiques, et la nature des produits vendus sont au cœur de ce lien et interagissent avec les politiques : les produits concernés ont été promus dans le nord du Ghana au cours des décennies précédentes et contribuent au développement du marché des petites villes en s’intégrant de façon fluide aux systèmes locaux existants. La continuité historique est donc au coeur du rôle que jouent les petites villes dans la transformation ruro-urbaine.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was carried out as part of the UrbanFoodPlus project, jointly funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) under the initiative GlobE – Research for the Global Food Supply, grant numbers 031A242-A, 031A242-C and 031A242-D, with support from the CGIAR research program on Water, Land and Ecosystems. We thank Alhassan Yakubu for his assistance in data collection and Hannah Straub for supporting the change analysis. We are grateful to the University for Development Studies, in particular to Prof. George Nyarko and Prof. Gordana Kranjac-Berisavljevic, for their support during fieldwork.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there are no conflicts of interest.

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Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physical Geography, Institute of Environmental Social Sciences and GeographyAlbert-Ludwigs-Universität FreiburgFreiburg im BreisgauGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Social and Cultural AnthropologyGeorg-August-Universität GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  3. 3.Organic Plant Production and Agroecosystems Research in the Tropics and SubtropicsUniversität KasselWitzenhausenGermany
  4. 4.Institute of GeographyFriedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

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