Changing Reproductive Behaviour and Migration As Response To Climate/Environmental Change: Evidence From Rural Northern Ghana

Friday, July 18, 2014: 8:30 AM
Room: Booth 54
Oral Presentation
Stephen ADAAWEN , Department of Political and Cultural Change, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
Papa SOW , Department of Political and Cultural Change, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
The Upper East Region is one of the poorest regions in northern Ghana. With a predominantly rural population, over 70% of the population is engaged in agriculture and its related activities. As a pro-natalist society, the area is characterised by high fertility levels and large family sizes. Aside the population density in the area which has led to pressure on the existing limited arable land, climate change over time have resulted in rainfall variability, prolonged dry spells, environmental degradation and loss of soil fertility with implications for agricultural production and yields. The physical-environmental stress being experienced in the face of population growth have undermined the livelihoods of the people and exacerbated the already appalling poverty and food security situation.

With the Bongo District as the study area, the study draws on the ‘theory of multiphasic response’.  It is noted that aside the many responses that households make, it has been observed that people also migrate to southern Ghana and have changed their reproductive behaviour by reducing their fertility levels. Using qualitative interviews and secondary statistical data, the study highlights the role of rainfall variability, environmental degradation, crop failure in the face of population growth in influencing migration and fertility change in northern Ghana. This will provide explanation or fill the gap between the seemingly lack of correlation between fertility change and contraceptive usage in northern Ghana and also contribute to the on-going population-environment nexus debate.

Keywords: Upper East Region, Bongo District, Migration, Population Growth, Fertility Decline, Environmental Degradation, Climate/Rainfall Variability, Floods, Agriculture