Hunger Alliance of Ghana (HAG) has in a policy document recommended the need for land reforms which should empower government through local authorities at the district level to create land banks for commercial agriculture purposes.
The new land reforms should bring about changes in the structural ownership of land in the country, in order to strengthen and stimulate private sector investment in agriculture.
According to HAG, the existence of several institutional, legal and cultural barriers that underpin land reforms has multidimensional implications for large scale land acquisition for agriculture which must be addressed in the on-going land reform programme.
It suggests that specific and clear provisions for ensuring private investors have secure land rights for agriculture should be an issue of serious consideration in the new land bill before parliament.
The Alliance also recommended a conscious effort by government to decentralize the registration and documentation of lands, which must be a priority initiative in the new land bill.
Government, it added, must set up an efficient system for collating and harmonizing data on large scale land acquisition in the country to support policy analysis and policy decisions.
Ghana is known to operate a dual system of land administration for centuries.
Acquisition and disposal of various land rights are managed by the two main systems, that is, the state systems operated by written rules and statutes and the customary system operated by unwritten rules of custom and tradition.
Both systems have been recognized and guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution.
Approximately 60 percent of Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project’s (GCAP’s) land operational areas in the Accra plains for commercial agriculture ventures are under the control of customary-land owning families making land acquisition for commercial agriculture a very challenging one.
Governments have over the years introduced several policies to deal with the challenges in land acquisition for commercial agriculture purposes.
Unfortunately, the situation has not changed as the conflicts and insecurity over land and land tenure continue to persist if not worsened.
While several attempts are aimed at reforming land systems in the country, there are suggestions that the policies and programmes of government towards reforming the land system have mainly shunned away from the local land tenure, which is the main problem in the land sector, thereby limiting agricultural production and productivity.
By Joshua W. Amlanu