Shifting rainfalls, shifting livelihoods: seasonal migration, food security and social inequality in Northern Ghana

Schraven, Benjamin / Christina Rademacher-Schulz
Externe Publikationen (2015)

in: Robert McLeman / Jeanette Schade / Thomas Faist (Hrsg), Environmental migration and social inequality (Advances in Global Change Research 61), Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, 43-56

ISBN: 978-3-319-25794-5
Information

This book chapter examines the interrelationship between rainfall variability, migration, and social inequality in a savannah district of Northern Ghana affected by environmental change. The analysis shows that seasonality is a crucial factor shaping smallholders’ livelihood decisions in semi-arid Northern Ghana, an area characterised by a unimodal rainfall. This pattern of rainfall allows one half-year rain-fed production cycle only. Seasonal migration is an important strategy in response to temporary food shortages, which are exacerbated by environmental and climate change. Study results show that the traditional migration during the dry season has increasingly shifted toward the rainy season—especially among poorer and vulnerable households. Rainy-season migration reduces the farm household’s labour availability, which in turn leads to reduced crop yields and lower food security. Interviews with local people reveal that most migrants perceive rainy-season migration to the mining sites (galamsey) of Ghana as more promising than rain-fed subsistence agriculture at home despite the severe dangers and likewise uncertain outcomes associated with galamsey. Only if migrants can remit, do they compensate for their absence during the main time of farm activities at home. Otherwise, households face the risk of increased food insecurity and vulnerability. A majority of migrants, however, prefers non-agricultural professions and some have already invested in these activities. Thus, the temporal shift in seasonal migration leads to a significant shift in livelihood preferences among the poorer and highly vulnerable households, and a concomitant reduction of the importance of subsistence agriculture for the local population.

Über den Autor

Schraven, Benjamin

Politikwissenschaftler

Schraven

Weitere Expertinnen/Experten zu diesem Thema

Aleksandrova, Mariya

Climate risk governance 

Bauer, Steffen

Politikwissenschaftler 

Brandi, Clara

Ökonomin und Politikwissenschaftlerin 

Brüntrup, Michael

Agrarökonom 

Burchi, Francesco

Entwicklungsökonom 

Hägele, Ramona

Politikwissenschaftlerin 

Iacobuta, Gabriela

Umweltwissenschaftlerin 

Malerba, Daniele

Ökonom 

Mathis, Okka Lou

Politikwissenschaftlerin 

Negre, Mario

Ökonom 

Richerzhagen, Carmen

Agrar- und Umweltökonomin 

Rodríguez de Francisco, Jean Carlo

Umweltwissenschaftler 

Srigiri, Srinivasa Reddy

Agrarökonom 

Yu, Lu

Agrarökonomin