Pursuing Sustainable Development Goal Number One: Evaluating the Fate of Smallholder Farmers in Ghana’s Oil City.

Authors: Michael Acheampong*, University of South Florida, Fenda Akiwumi, University of South Florida
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Cultural and Political Ecology, Africa
Keywords: Ghana, Oil Exploitation, Sustainable Development Goals, Poverty Eradication
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Gallier A, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The overarching objective of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number one is to eradicate all forms of poverty on the planet by 2030. This goal acknowledges the importance of recognizing the inextricable link between poverty reduction and the ability for vulnerable populations to have access to land resources for food production. However, continuing oil exploitation engenders unequal power relations in society causing deterioration of essential ecosystem services and dispossession of indigenous lands from poor, smallholder farmers. Using the oil-producing Western Region of Ghana as case study and the SDGs as a conceptual lens, we examine the impacts of the nation’s oil industry on agricultural ecosystems and livelihoods in farming communities around the main business hub of the region, Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis. We employ a mixed methods approach using remote sensing and Geographical Information System to assess land use change in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, and surveys and interviews targeting local farmers to show how exploitation activities impact on their livelihoods and exacerbate poverty. Our findings show that about half of net agricultural land loss to urban activities over the past three decades has occurred since the oil exploitation started. This has resulted in increased loss of farmlands for sustainable food production. Over 75% of surveyed farmers reported decrease in their incomes since the oil industry started. For SDG number one to be elevated from a mirage to a realistic goal for the people of Sekondi-Takoradi, it is critical to safeguard the integrity of local lands that forms the basis of their livelihoods.

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