Improving Land Access and Tenure Security for Farmers
Land is considered as an essential asset both for wealth creation and a source of security for owners be it communal, family, clan, group or individuals. The importance of land cannot be overemphasized. Research results show that about 60% or more people in Ghana are employed in the agricultural sector and therefore depend directly on the land as their source of livelihood; a majority of these are women.
In Ghana, the ease of access to land for farming and other purposes is largely hampered by certain factors. These factors include urbanization, commercialization of land, indeterminate land boundaries, land disputes, compulsory acquisitions of large tracts of lands and indiscipline in the land market, among others.
Poor access to land and insecure land rights among farmers is further worsened by a high level of illiteracy, poverty (among these farmers) and lack of documentation of land rights and transactions. These problems have adversely affected the ability of farmers to acquire, own, use and invest in farming activities with a long term perspective in view. In some cases, farmers have lost land they acquired due to one or more of such issues.
Advocacy around these issues have mainly called for practical and proactive measures that will facilitate land access and tenure security for farmers. Activities to improve the situation of farmers in this regard have included: Facilitating documentation of land transactions and land rights; Public education and raising awareness on land rights, land tenure security and mechanisms available for securing land tenure; Sensitizing land owners, community leaders, and farmers on how to use ADR and other effective methods to handle and prevent land disputes; Advocating for the inclusion of farmers in community projects, involved with land acquisition, and for their land rights; Gender sensitization and gender mainstreaming in customary land governance.
These direct community interventions are linked to national policy advocacy actions aimed at policy reviews and policy action that are relevant to the issues of local land users. Our experiences in the field have shown that this is workable and beneficial. That said, it requires a significant amount of time and resources to facilitate. In the end, the results are truly rewarding and benefit these farmers immensely.
COLANDEF in collaboration with other partner organisations has undertaken innovative measures aimed at ensuring that farmers have access to land as well as secured tenure. Some projects implemented include: Systematic Land Title Registration for rural land users, Institutionalizing a multi-stakeholder approach in implementing Appropriate Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (ADR) at the traditional level to help solve land disputes, Facilitating community engagements and negotiation in respect of acquisition for land based investments, and Facilitating and building capacities for the setting up Community Based land Administration system.