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Towards agrarian tenure security of subsistence settler farmers for household food security in Northern Ghana

  • 14 October, 2021
  • 14:45
  • University of Twente, Urban and regional and Geo-Information Management
  • prof.dr.ir. J.A. Zevenbergen
  • -

Land rights in Ghana emanate from the customary land tenure system. Secure land rights encourage access to and maintenance of large farm sizes and their productive use among others. This tenure security provides some confidence for farmers to increase farm investments and an assurance that they will benefit from those investments. This consequently increases farm produce thereby promoting food security due to food availability. Meanwhile, external pressure from population growth, urbanisation and general economic development can overwhelm the internal structures of the customary land tenure and service arrangements for safeguarding people’s land rights. These arrangements are usually non-monetary ‘homages’ in the form of gifts or labour, which non-member landholders are required to seasonally render to landowners to acknowledge the landowners’ ownership rights and renew such landholders’ secondary rights and secure the land tenure. Governments’ efforts in the past to promote food security by strengthening land rights and securing land tenure have largely been based on ‘imported’ policies of formalisation, registration or documentation processes. These efforts took little or no consideration of local customary views, practices or land tenure dynamics. As a result, the expected benefits of these efforts were either non-existent or barely minimal, not encouraging thus making them unsuccessful. Therefore, this thesis suggests a more pragmatic approach – to work with local people to co-create (or co-design) a responsible and fit-for-purpose customary land rights/tenure and food security model. This involves local people first assessing their own local land laws and practices. Then, they learn from successful models from external environments and co-create a new model by blending the strengths of both so that it fits their local needs and environment.

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Baslyd Nara

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