Charcoal production is one of the livelihood supplementary activities engaged in by rural farmers in the northern part of Ghana. Most farmers in this area engage in subsistence farming, where output are mostly hardly enough to feed their families. Given this, peasant farmers also engage in charcoal production, in the non-farming seasons, to supplement the produce from subsistence agriculture, with the hope that, this should be enough to live on till the next farming season. Majority of those who engage in charcoal production are women. The land tenure structures in northern Ghana plays a great role in the access of productive resources. Getting access to trees to burn to produce charcoal depends on who owns the land where those trees are grown. Land is under the care and management of customary systems that gives power to men in the access of it in the area. In view of this, this research seeks to understand how men and women workout through this charcoal business, taking into consideration: How both men and women gain access to lands to enable them fell trees to burn charcoal, how the tasks done by men and women affects the intra-household distribution of benefits and also how the process affects households relating to decision-making with charcoal production. The study employed a qualitative research method to look onto these processes relying on gender power relations and theory of access to analyze how they operate in this business. The study focuses in two communities, that is, Chahayili and Kunkundanyili in the Savelugu-Nantong municipal in northern Ghana. The study finds that, patriarchy and oppressive gender power relations determine resource access which restricts women’s involvement in charcoal production. It shows that, even though women are involved in charcoal production than men, it is the men who controls resources and determines the selling and distribution of charcoal which also has direct impacts in their families as men are those who have the final say as to what decision to make regarding the proceeds of the charcoal.

Additional Metadata
Keywords agriculture, charcoal, livelihoods, peasant women, Northern Ghana, Savelugu-Nantong, gender power relations
Thesis Advisor Harcourt, Wendy
Persistent URL
Series Agrarian, Food and Environmental Studies (AFES)
Issahaku, Sisu Nbangba. (2019, December 20). An enquiry into gender power relations in charcoal production processes in rural Northern Ghana. Agrarian, Food and Environmental Studies (AFES). Retrieved from