Time matters: shifting seasonal migration in Northern Ghana in response to rainfall variability and food insecurity

Type

Journal Article

Author(s)

Rademacher-Schulz, C.
Schraven, B.
Mahama, E.

Title

Time matters: shifting seasonal migration in Northern Ghana in response to rainfall variability and food insecurity

Year

2013

Journal

Climate and Development

Vol (No), pp

6(1), 46-52

Abstract

This article examines the interrelationships between rainfall variability, livelihood/food security and migration in rural Savannah communities in Northern Ghana. It addresses the question of how strong dry season migration is pronounced and whether the recent dominant migration type is a coping or adaptation mechanism. The analysis is based on empirical research conducted in four communities of the Nadowli District (Upper West Region), using a mixed methods approach. It was found that the households are highly dependent on rain-fed subsistence agriculture and livestock rearing, showing a low degree of economic diversification. Study participants in general complained about the unpredictability of the weather and linked changes in rainfall to declining crop yields and livestock possession as well as to increasing food prices. A common livelihood strategy used by households is dry-season migration to more suitable farming areas and to mining sites. Research in 2011 revealed that the majority of migrants were forced to migrate during the rainy season in order to feed the household members. This observation may indicate a shift in seasonal migration patterns with potentially harmful consequences for household livelihood security in the future.

Citation

Rademacher-Schulz, C., Schraven, B., & Mahama, E. (2013). Time matters: shifting seasonal migration in Northern Ghana in response to rainfall variability and food insecurity. Climate and Development, 6(1), 46-52. URL : http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17565529.2013.830955