We are not starving: the Struggle for Food Sovereignty in Ghana is forthcoming from Michigan State University Press in September 2022 [pre-order available here]
For the past decade, a transnational network of development donors, financial institutions and private companies have sought to spark a “new” Green Revolution in Africa. Citing a changing climate and growing population, these actors argue that the private sector is best equipped to develop “climate-smart” solutions, and thus lobby African governments to reform policy and liberalize markets. My research explores how these efforts are transforming African foodways, political institutions, and environmental governance. To do so, I look particularly at how a transnational group of donors, companies and governments seek to introduce genetically modified seeds (GMOs) to Ghana. As I write in Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment, though GMOs are thought by promoters to bring sustainable growth, many Ghanaians consider them to be an echo of a colonial past. Using data I collected over 15 months of participant observation and interviews with Ghanaian officials, scientists, activists and farmers, I found that at its core, disagreement over GMOs in Ghana has little to do with agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability, and much more to do with debates over political and food sovereignty. By approaching food as a (contested) cultural object rather than a simple item for production and consumption, the manuscript provides broad insight into the social realities of development and climate change, the postcolonial African state, and US foreign aid.