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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg September 15, 2022

Modernising the village

State farms, agricultural development, and nation-building in 1960s Ghana

  • Sarah Kunkel EMAIL logo


This article analyses the development of state-controlled farms in Ghana in the 1960s. To boost the economy of the new nation, Nkrumah focused on agricultural development for the export and domestic markets to increase national revenue but also availability of affordable foodstuffs through state farms and co-operative farms. These farms became rural sites of modernisation, as modern and mechanised agricultural farming methods were implemented. Farm machinery and vehicles were visible and tangible signs of progress and modernity. This in combination with the unprecedented employment opportunities on state-controlled farms created support for Nkrumah in rural areas, thereby fostering state-society relations. The article is specifically interested in state-led post-independence agricultural modernisation, and contributes a rural perspective on processes of decolonisation, rural nation-building, and the transition to socialism.


I would like to thank Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, Kenneth Leonard, and Alexander Keese for their insightful comments they have supported me with for this article. This research was funded by the Gerda-Henkel-Foundation.

Published Online: 2022-09-15
Published in Print: 2022-09-08

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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