Regional Sustainability ›› 2023, Vol. 4 ›› Issue (4): 369-377.doi: 10.1016/j.regsus.2023.10.002

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Social interactions in periodic urban markets and their contributions to sustainable livelihoods: Evidence from Ghana

ADDAI Godfreda,*(), AMPONSAH Owusub, Dogkubong DINYE Romanusc   

  1. aDepartment of Geography, Environment and Population, School of Social Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, 5005, Australia
    bDepartment of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, 00233, Ghana
    cCentre for Settlement Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, 00233, Ghana
  • Received:2023-03-13 Revised:2023-07-07 Accepted:2023-10-30 Online:2023-12-30 Published:2024-01-09
  • Contact: ADDAI Godfred


Periodic markets are an important aspect of local economies, providing a platform for farmers (producers), wholesalers, retailers, and consumers to interact face-to-face and exchange goods and services. These markets have been increasing in urban areas in Africa, Asia, and South America because of urbanization. The increase of periodic urban markets (PUMs) in urban areas is observed as an index of modernization, reflecting a response to transition process. However, there are limited studies on how social interactions in PUMs contribute to sustainable livelihoods. This study investigated the types of social interactions occurring in PUMs in Ghana, the benefits of social interactions for participants of PUMs, and how social interactions contribute to sustainable livelihoods. This research interviewed 162 participants, comprising 27 farmers (farmers were regarded as producers in this study), 61 retailers, 47 wholesalers from 9 selected PUMs across Ghana, and 27 officers from government institutions and non-governmental market associations to obtain their opinions. We analyzed the interview data using the NVivo software. The results showed that there are seven kinds of social interactions in PUMs, including (i) producer-wholesaler relationship, (ii) producer-consumer relationship, (iii) wholesaler-retailer relationship, (iv) retailer-consumer relationship, (v) trader-driver relationship, (vi) trader-institution relationship, and (vii) trader-international buyer relationship. We found that these social interactions in PUMs enhance sustainable livelihoods by supporting human, social, financial, natural, and physical assets of traders (traders refer to producers, wholesalers, and retailers in this study). Therefore, we concluded that the development of policies to improve PUMs could strengthen social interactions, enabling the achievement of sustainable livelihoods in developing countries.

Key words: Social interaction, Periodic urban markets (PUMs), Sustainable livelihood, Social asset, Financial asset, Physical asset, Human asset, Ghana