Young People’s Aspirations in Agriculture: a Case Study of Ghana’s Cocoa Sector

by Nana Akua Anyidoho, Jennifer Leavy and Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere

Our paper considers the question of young people’s aspirations in agriculture in light of the renewed interest in the agricultural sector as a viable basis for development in sub-Saharan Africa and the perception that young people’s involvement is important for the success of this project.

Life choices and outcomes are affected in part by aspirations. The nature and formation of young people’s aspirations therefore have direct implications for emerging visions and future models of agriculture to the extent that young people’s aspirations inform the choices they make in regards to agriculture.

We argue that it is important for effective policy to have a better understanding of young people’s own experiences and perspectives. Second, the paper takes issue with essentialising narratives about rural youth in agricultural areas that obscure the diversity that exists within that group. We need to investigate such diversity and its significance for young people’s aspirations (Leavy and Smith, 2010). In this paper, we consider young people of diverse backgrounds (in terms of education, socio-economic circumstances of their family) and their experiences of cocoa farming, and analyse how this affects their expectations of the role of cocoa production in their future.

File: Anyidoho et al, Young people's aspirations and cocoa in Ghana.pdf