Petty Trading and Peasant Farming

Anna Owusu, July 23, 2013

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Many, if not most of our student's families earn a living through petty trading and/or peasant farming.

Peasant farming is just what is sounds like. It's small scale farming on a small scale and may include the raising of animals. Often families grow their own food to feed their families and what is left over is sold at a market or on the side of the street. Subsistence farming like this is one of the biggest economic activities in West Africa. There is currently a lot of advocacy in Ghana to improve the farming conditions of the rural poor in an attempt to create more sustainable food sources and alleviate poverty, especially among woman farmers.

Petty trading is also a large and well known economic activity in West African countries. People will sell anything that they are able to access. Many women will prepare and sell food to people as they pass by on the street. Additionally, you can find various vegetables and foods for sale in small markets and on the street. People, especially women sew and dye clothing as well as sell any crafts they have made. Typically income made from this type of work is "hand in mouth" or enough to feed their families. They live day to day based on their income and rarely have much left over for other expenses.