Original Research

The role of foreign aid in promoting livelihoods of rural farmers in Ghana: A study of Nsawam pineapple farmers

Alex Y. Adom, Lydia Boateng
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 7, No 1 | a249 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/apsdpr.v7i1.249 | © 2019 Alex Y. Adom, Lydia Boateng | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 October 2018 | Published: 14 August 2019

About the author(s)

Alex Y. Adom, Department of Management, School of Business University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana
Lydia Boateng, Department of Communication, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana

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Background: The last five decades have witnessed significant inflows of donor assistance from the international donor community to support rural livelihoods and development in Ghana. However, after 50 years of consistent aid to Ghana, donor assistance has not fared as expected to improve farmers’ livelihoods and agricultural productivity.

Aim: Using the modernisation theory as the basis of the study, this article examines how urbanisation, urban growth, and access to and security of rights to land affect the utility of development aid for farmers’ livelihoods.

Setting: The setting is among the pineapple farmers at Nsawam in the Eastern Region of Ghana.

Method: Relying on the qualitative research approach, data gathered reveal that because of urbanisation pressures, farmers’ rights to their lands are threatened by economic and political powers with stakes in farmers’ lands, such that farmers at all times attempt to find alternative livelihoods, even with development aid.

Conclusion: Thus, the study concludes that when farmers’ major assets are threatened, they do not necessarily seek to sustain current livelihoods. Rather, they constantly seek alternative ones, a finding that should inform sustainable livelihood analysis to better understand farmers’ perspectives and meet their expectations about their own livelihoods. The study advocates ‘livelihood transience’ as an expanded and integral form of livelihood analysis. This expanded notion should not replace the current focus on ‘sustainable livelihood’, but rather complement it.


Foreign aid; farmers; livelihood; rural farmers; Ghana; pineapple farmers.


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