The Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture resigned today after calling northern Ghanaian farmers "liars," "very difficult people," and accusing them of extortion. Many were understandably, and rightfully, upset at the Deputy Minister's comments, but I argue that his comments, though vile, are not exceptional. During fieldwork, I regularly encountered super negative discourse about Ghanaian farmers from technocrats in Accra. In this blog post, I share some of these encounters, and muse about their importance.
Let these wise taxis and trotros guide you through fieldwork's unexpected challenges.
There is a way in which popular media and development literature presents Africa, and Africans, as paralyzed by modernity, at a standstill: young people leaving agriculture and going to cities, inequalities rising, cities exploding, changing tastes via KFC and packaged noodles like Indomie. The flicker of hope du jour is tech, and writers, especially when discussing agriculture, often cite high … Continue reading On tech, representation, and African agriculture
"The land is dead," said 61 year-old Isaiah, killed by an "addiction" to chemical fertilizers. These fertilizers were introduced to his community a few decades back by "the white man" and his church, who, he said with a bite of humor, preached the “goodness of the fertilizers." "It was very harmonious,” he noted, and with mischief … Continue reading “The land is dead:” Fertilizers and Compost in the Upper East
I was recently telling a friend about our brave, tiny outdoor cats who run up trees and sneak out the bamboo fence, and how no one seemed concerned about their wanderings. My friend remarked that "no one seems concerned" would be a good title for a blog about cross cultural communication (her field). Or anthropology, I … Continue reading No One Seems Concerned
A friend (you know who you are) recently remarked that my blog doesn't tell much about life in Accra. So let's talk about dumsor. Ghana (and Accra especially) has been suffering terrible power outages for the last three years. The intolerable situation is nicknamed "dumsor" - on/off. Here in Accra, dumsor is a daily topic: "how … Continue reading Joking in the dark
A ruling in Ghana’s High Court Thursday morning overturned a temporary injunction on the commercialization of genetically modified (GM) rice and cowpea.