Real or Hyped? Linkages Between Environmental / Climate Change and Conflicts – The Case of Farmers and Fulani Pastoralists in Ghana

  • Kaderi Noagah Bukari
  • Papa Sow
  • Jürgen Scheffran


Violent conflicts between farmers and pastoralists are reported in national media and public discourse to have increased in Ghana and are intricately linked to human security related issues. Some media and research reports attribute farmer-pastoralist conflicts to resource scarcity, environmental and climate change, thus reiterating the environmental scarcity/security and neo-Malthusian postulations. These conflicts accordingly are induced by pastoralists’ migrations southwards mainly due to poor climatic conditions from Northern Ghana and the Sahel. This work examines the perceptions of farmers and Fulani pastoralists in Ghana on the role of environmental/climate change in triggering conflicts between them. To do this, the analysis compares data sets (of climate change indicators, especially rainfall data and temperature) and primary data taken from field studies in the Agogo (southern Ghana) and Gushiegu (northern Ghana) districts of Ghana to assess if environmental/climate change has contributed to conflicts between farmers and Fulani pastoralists. Based on the analysis of interview outcomes, farmer communities and pastoralists perceive environmental and climate factors as indirectly influencing conflicts between them, especially through increased pastoralists’ migrations and competition for pasture lands. The data sets (of rainfall), however, reveal that despite climate variability, there were basically no major changes in rainfall figures. We also found that the abundance of resources and increases in the value of land in Agogo were major drivers of conflicts between farmers and pastoralists.


Climate and environmental change Conflicts Fulani pastoralists Farmers Ghana 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaderi Noagah Bukari
    • 1
  • Papa Sow
    • 1
  • Jürgen Scheffran
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Development Research (ZEF)University of BonnBonnGermany
  2. 2.Head of the Research Group Climate Change and Security (CLISEC), Institute of GeographyUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany

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