Support for large scale agricultural investments in Africa has been mainly premised on their employment prospects for local populations. However, despite earlier calls by Tania Li to centre labour in the land grabs debate, labour is generally invisible in both mainstream policy and academic research. This paper, through a governance lens, draws attention to the implications of the global land rush on wage labour. In principle, policy frameworks that emphasise the labour potentials from large-scale land investments also gravitate towards regulations that seek to facilitate capital accumulation and mitigate negative impacts on communities – congruent with Ghana's policy direction. This paper assesses the political-economic context of the legislative gaps in the current governance framework for wage labour and large-scale agriculture in Ghana; characterised mainly by absent, illusively present and repressive institutions. It is supported with empirical findings from the nature of farm workers’ incorporation into a transnational oil palm plantation in Ghana, their struggles over the nature of the investment, and the political orientation of the existing regulatory institutions. The study calls for policy measures which address power relations that shape the distribution of benefits from land investments, and also recognise structural inequalities that exist in and outside of agriculture.

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Land Use Policy
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Gyapong, A.Y. (2020). How and why large scale agricultural land investments do not create long-term employment benefits: A critique of the ‘state’ of labour regulations in Ghana. Land Use Policy, 95. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.104651