Socio-Demographic Characteristics of Participants of the Focus Group Discussions
Out of a total of seventy participants engaged, fifty (50) were female and twenty (20) were males. The study revealed that the main livelihood activity of the people across the seven communities where focus group discussions and key informant interviews were conducted was farming, though a few of them occasionally engaged in fishing. The people are engaged in the production of cereals such as maize, beans, millet, groundnuts, and also tubers such as yam, cassava, and sweet potato. Most of the participants involved were between the ages of thirty and fifty. Only a few were between the age ranges of 20–30 or above fifty. Forty-five (45) had no formal education, three (3) had senior high education, seven (7) had junior high education, and fifteen (15) of them had primary level education.
Climate Change Adaptation Strategies and Livelihood Activities
The strategies identified included charcoal burning, Shea nut processing, dry season farming, petty trading, bee keeping, animal rearing and fishing (oysters).
Institutions Identified in the Study Area
The research revealed that institutions such as Utindan (landlord), the chieftaincy, farmer-based organizations, youth groups, women's groups, and the family (both nuclear and external) govern the practises of these identified climate change adaptation strategies. Supporting formal institutions to the above informal institutions include the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), the Saboba District Assembly, NADMO, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as World Vision Ghana and the agricultural unit of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana.
Existing Local Level Institutional Arrangements for the Implementation of Climate Change Adaptation Strategies:
These institutional arrangements differ with respect to each of the identified climate change adaptation strategies, and these are discussed as follows:
Institutional Arrangements for Dry Season Farming
The research revealed that the institutional arrangement for dry season farming depended on the type of land ownership prevailing in the study area. These were identified as family lands and community lands. The institutional arrangements are also different for migrants and indigenes.
Institutional arrangement for acquiring Family Land
It was revealed that for family land, the institutional arrangements were as follows: any person needing to use land that is for a family would have to first of all identify a piece of land along the river Oti, then contact a family member as the first point of call. The family member, on behalf of the land seeker, contacts the extended family head. The extended family head then calls an extended family meeting of all married men for them to decide on whether the family land should be given out to the person for dry season farming. The above description is the institutional arrangement for migrants. For indigenes, the prospective dry-season farmer only needs to contact his or her family head, who then calls a meeting of all married men for the land to be allocated to the person.
Institutional arrangement for acquiring Community lands
The study revealed that to acquire communal land for dry season farming, the main actors are the community members, the family head, the chief, and the Utindan (landlord). The prospective dry-season farmer contacts any community member and makes his or her intentions known to him or her. The community member contacted then reports the issue to his or her family head. The family head also, on behalf of the land seeker, presents the request to the Utindan (landlord). The Utindan then invites the chief of the community for consultation and then convenes a meeting of himself, the chief and his elders. The result of the meeting is communicated to the prospective dry season farmer through the community member that was contacted. The above description is the arrangement for migrants. For indigenes, any family member wishing to do dry season farming contacts his family head. The family head also, on behalf of the land seeker, presents the request to the Utindan (landlord). The Utindan then consults the chief of the community and convenes a meeting of himself, the chief, and his elders. The actors involved are therefore the same for both indigenes and migrants. The arrangements are different for migrants because they are considered aliens and, as such, do not know the structure of the communities; hence the need to contact a community member for them to take them through the proper channels for land acquisition.
Impacts of the Institutional Arrangements on Dry Season Farming
The impacts of the above institutional arrangements were put into two main categories: positive and negative impacts.
Positive Impacts (benefits)
The positive impacts that were revealed during the focus group discussion include the following:
Source of security, Channel of Conflict Resolution, and Mediating Role The negative impacts of this institutional arrangement include the following: Corrupt Tendencies (Favouritism and Cronyism) in the Allocation of Land for Dry Season Farming; Vulnerability of Rural Dwellers to the Institutional Arrangement; Control Over Land and Land Limitation.
Effects of Institutional Arrangement on Decision-Making Regarding Dry Season Farming
The research revealed during the discussions that in instances of delay resulting from favouritism by the Utindan and the chief, the inhabitants in the study area acquired land through the help of a royal or a close relation of the chief or the Utindan. It was also revealed that there are elders who are respected by both the ‘commoners’ and the royals, and in situations of favouritism, they rely on those respected elders in the communities to intervene. It also came up during the discussion that if all this fails, they resort to going in for family lands since the landlord and the chief do not have direct influence on those lands. Though it is much easier to acquire family land compared to community land, the challenge with family land is that, due to large family sizes, one may only be able to acquire a very limited amount of land from a family. As a result of land limitation, the rural dwellers resorted to intensification of crops on a single plot.
Institutional Arrangement for Charcoal Burning
It was identified that there are two main ways of acquiring trees for this adaptation strategy depending on which tree or tree ownership is being practiced. These were identified as trees on family land and trees on communal lands. Therefore, the structure of the institutional arrangement depended on the location of the tree. This institutional arrangement varies depending on whether the prospective charcoal burner is an indigene or a migrant and also whether the tree to be felled was on the family land or on community land.
Institutional Arrangement for Trees on Family Lands for Charcoal Burning:
It was revealed that to acquire a tree on family land, the actors included the family head, the charcoal burner, and the married men of the family. The institutional arrangements are as follows: any person needing to fell a tree on family land needs to first of all identify a tree or trees and then proceed to contact a family member. The family member on behalf of the charcoal burner contacts the extended family head. The extended family head then summons an extended family meeting of all married men for them to decide whether the tree on the household land should be given out to the person for charcoal burning. The inhabitants revealed that the decision to give or not to give out the tree/trees for charcoal burning depended on the type of tree in question. For instance, under no circumstances should the household head give out a ‘dawadawa’ tree for charcoal burning. Food trees were not given for charcoal burning, but any other tree was allowed to be felled for charcoal burning.
Trees on Community Lands
To acquire a tree/s on communal land for charcoal burning, the main actors are the community members, the family head, the chief, and the Utindan (landlord). The prospective charcoal burner contacts any community member and makes his or her intention known to him or her. The community member contacted then reports the issue to his or her household head. The household head also, on behalf of the charcoal burner, presents the request to the Utindan (landlord). The Utindan then invites the chief for consultation and then proceeds to summon a meeting of himself, the chief, and his elders. The result of the meeting is then communicated to the prospective charcoal burner through the community member that was contacted. For an indigene, he or she will proceed to see his or her family head and the process continues as explained above.
Impacts of the Institutional Arrangement on Charcoal Burning:
The positive impacts included the following: source of security for the charcoal burner; and conflict resolution channel; while the negative impacts included the following: Corrupt Tendencies in the Allocation of Trees to Charcoal Burners.
Effects of the Institutional Arrangement on Decision-Making Regarding Charcoal Burning
Despite the positives, the rural dwellers agree across the seven communities that this institutional arrangement is impacting negatively on their charcoal-burning business. The research revealed during the discussions that with the issue of favouritism by the Utindan and the chief, the inhabitants in that situation acquire trees on communal lands through the intervention of other royals or close relations of the chief or the Utindan. Though it is much easier to acquire trees on family land compared to trees on community land, the challenge with trees on family land is that, due to large family sizes, one may only be able to acquire a few trees for charcoal burning because some family members are also engaged in charcoal burning. It was also revealed that there were elders who were respected by both the ‘commoners’ and the royals, and they relied on those respected elders in the communities to intervene. The royals and the relations of the chief contacted are often seen as noble and respected by most people in the community and are people who do not demand money in order to intervene in such circumstances. It was also revealed during the discussion that if all this fails, they resort to going in for trees on family lands since the landlord and the chief do not have direct influence on those trees.
Institutional Arrangement for Shea nut procession
The processes included the following: the group leader calls a meeting where the women decide on the quantity of nuts to purchase and how much money each member will contribute. The group leader then appoints two women from among the group to purchase the nuts from the nut sellers who are from the republic of Togo and also from other inner communities within the district. When the nuts are purchased, the leader calls another meeting for the group members to decide on days for the processing of the nuts into butter. After the processing, the group leader appoints two other women to sell the butter and reports to the group leader.
Positive Impacts of Institutional arrangement on Shea nut procession
The formation of the group helps the women seek financial and logistical support from the Saboba district assembly and also NGOs. These NGOs mostly prefer to support groups other than individuals. World Vision Ghana for instance have always provided funds and organized training sessions for women groups in the study area. Negative Impact include the following: No Access to Shea Trees, Poor Attitude to Work.
Effects of Adaptation Decision–Making on Shea Nut Processing
The institutional arrangement for Shea nut processing is seen to be impacting negatively on Shea nut processing as an adaptation strategy despite it serving as a source of unity among them. Since the Shea nut trees are located in the Republic of Togo and in the inner communities within the district, they have been chased and prevented from picking the nuts by the Togolese authorities a number of times, and from other communities within the district. The women have therefore decided to purchase the nuts from the Togolese. Though the challenge of getting access to Shea nut trees has made this expensive to adapt, it is also beneficial in that the women groups often receive support from World Vision Ghana in the form of money to purchase Shea nuts for processing. The decision to purchase the nuts has helped them to continue with this adaptation strategy. On the challenge of poor attitude of members towards work, it came up during the discussion that they have decided to share the profits accruing from the sale of the butter not only based on their individual contribution but also on attendance, punctuality and seriousness to work, and this has helped them to hold on to the adaptation strategy despite the challenges.
Institutional Arrangement for Animal Rearing
The institutional processes included the family members adding their individual animals to that of the family head. The family head also negotiates the terms of agreement with the Fulani. Whatever terms that are arrived at are the product of the negotiation on proposals put forth by the Fulani herdsman and what the animal owners can afford. Most times the agreement is in the form of providing food and accommodation and or bearing the medical expenses for the Fulani man and the family. In some cases, also, the Fulani man is provided with accommodation, given a piece of land to farm to feed his family and are given a cow at the end of every five years. When the terms are agreed upon, the family head then engage the services of a Fulani man to take care of the animals. The family head then proceeds to inform the Utindan (landlord), who then also sermons the chief and his elders for the information to be disseminated to them.
Impacts of the Institutional Arrangement on Animal Rearing
Positive Impacts: Channel for Conflict Resolution between the Fulani Herdsmen and the Animal Owners, Source of Unity and Security for the Animal and Farm Owners. Negative Impacts: Loss of Animals.
Effects of Adaptation Decision-Making on Animal Rearing
The main challenges with animal rearing are the loss of cattle and the constant summoning of animal owners by farm owners for the destruction of their crops by the animals. From the Focus Group Discussions, they attribute the loss of the cattle to the Fulani herdsmen. With this, most of them have decided to leave the care of their cattle to their children, who are either supposed to be on the farm or in school. Those who still engage the services of Fulani herdsmen have normally held the Fulani herdsmen responsible for the loss of any of the animals. That is, a respective Fulani herdsman is made to pay for the lost animal. On the issue of constant summons at the chief's palace as a result of the destruction of crops by cattle, the animal owners share the fines imposed on them by the chief with the respective Fulani herdsman.