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Since the first commercial planting of cocoa in Ghana more than a century ago, the production of cocoa has been a key factor in the redistribution of migrants and has played a pivotal role in the development of both sending and receiving communities. This process has been acknowledged in the literature for decades. However, how migration flows have changed in response to changing livelihoods dynamics of the frontier and how this has impacted on the development of the frontier has only attracted limited attention. Based on a study of immigration to Ghana's current cocoa frontier in the Western Region, this article aims to examine how immigration and frontier dynamics in the Western region are contributing to livelihood transitions and small town development, and how this process is gradually becoming delinked from the production of cocoa. The article focuses on how migration dynamics interlink with livelihood opportunities and strategies. It is argued that migrants to the current frontier can be divided into at least four different types based on their migration, settlement and livelihood practices. Accordingly, to understand how the cocoa frontier changes as well as its continuation beyond the frontier crop, there is a need for a broader understanding of the frontier concept, and how frontier transformation interacts with migration and livelihood dynamics.
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Keywords: Ghana; cocoa; frontier development; livelihood transitions; migration

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2015

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