The importance of pineapple production as a major foreign exchange earner to the economy of Ghana has long been realized. The pineapple sector alone generates over US$31,632,939 to the economy each year. Ghana’s pineapple industry was developed for two main reasons: First, to reduce the country’s overdependence on its main export commodities, and second, to provide livelihood alternatives for rural farmers. Revenue figures show significant growth in exports but there is little information about rural peoples’ participation in the industry. This study therefore examines the impact of the industry on rural livelihoods.
This study describes rural people’s involvement in the industry, the benefits they derive from it as well as explain how their livelihoods have been affected by activities of large-scale pineapple companies. Employing the Sustainable livelihood Approach (SLA), analysis has been made of the findings to establish the impact of large-scale pineapple companies on rural livelihood. Data has been collected through household and key informant interviews, satellite images, participatory observation and examination of documentary data.
I found that the pineapple industry which was initially supported by small-scale systems has now shifted into the hands of large-scale producers. The small-scale farmers were displaced by unparalleled competitions of big pineapple companies and the Costa Rican MD2 pineapple. In addition, the pineapple companies have also taken over most of the rural lands, leaving the local people fewer livelihood options. The youth are migrating to cities while others offer cheap labour to the companies. Soil fertility is declining as a result of bad farming practices of pineapple producers. Deforestation activities of pineapple producers have modified the local climate and vegetation. Consequently, crop yields are declining and food prices are increasing thus affecting rural standards of living.