Labour relations and working conditions of workers on smallholder cocoa farms in Ghana

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Springer Nature
The millions of farm workers in the Global South are an important resource for smallholder producers. However, research on their labour organisation is limited. This article focuses on smallholder farm workers in Ghana’s cocoa sector, drawing on insights from qualitative interviews and the concept of bargaining power. We review the labour relations and working conditions of two historical and informally identified labour supply setups (LSSs) in Ghana’s cocoa sector, namely, hired labour and Abusa, a form of landowner–caretaker relations, and identify an imbalance of horizontal power. Further, we analyse the labour relations and working conditions of an emerging and formal LSS in Ghana’s cocoa sector: private labour providers (PLPs). We argue that PLPs are likely to address the imbalance of horizontal power between farm workers and smallholders and bring about significant improvements in the working conditions of farm workers. We also assess the sustainability potential and limitations of PLPs and argue that tensions exist. We contribute to the growing horizontal power perspective by providing avenues for research and policy related to promoting sustained labour rights for farm workers in smallholder agriculture in the Global South.
© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agriculture and Human Values, 2023, available online at: . Keywords: labour supply; horizontal power; bargaining power; cocoa; Ghana.
Kissi, E.A., Herzig, C. Labour relations and working conditions of workers on smallholder cocoa farms in Ghana. Agric Hum Values (2023).