ActionAid worried over agric land grabs in Ghana by multinationals

ActionAid Ghana has expressed concern about the continues acquisition and grabbing of agricultural lands by multinational companies saying such acts was denying the smallholder farmer of farmlands with a consequence of increasing food insecurity in the country.

It has therefore called on the government to establish legally enforceable regulatory framework that would protect communities from land grabbing and save guard security tenure for women and communities to sustain right to food and livelihood.

Madam Queronica Quarley Quartey, the Right to Food and Climate Change Policy Advisor to ActionAid raised these concerns in Tamale on Tuesday during an interactive forum on land grabbing in commemoration of World Food Day.

The event is being celebrated globally under the theme; “Land grabbing is a threat to food security and rural livelihood: give women farmers secured land”.

The participants of the forum, mostly farmers, were drawn from various parts of the country.

Madam Quartey explained that the land acquisition often involve long-term transfer of land user rights and sometimes ownership from communities to investors resulting in the loss of cultural heritage, saying that, domestic responses should involve strengthening transparent, accountable and accessible national land governance to protect agricultural lands.

She said many thousands of hectares of the country’s lands has for the past few years been acquired by both local and international companies rendering farmers inaccessible to lands for agricultural purposes, cautioning that, if the trend was not halted, the country could face serious food crisis.

She observed that a larger chunk of the lands in the country have been acquired for bio-fuel and jatropha projects, projects she said does not auger well for food production.

Mr. William K. Boakye, Acting Programme Manager of ActionAid said women and smallholder farmers need to be acknowledged for their immense contribution to food security and availability and must be assisted by government to increase production.

“To ensure that farmers contribute their quota to the development of this nation, we must acknowledge their challenges in accessing productive resources and support them….land is one of the most important resources for farmers”, he said.

Mr. Boakye called on the need to secure farm lands for agricultural purposes in the face of rapid urbanization and development to protecting land tenure for individuals and communities and external land investment.

Mr. Bakari Sadiq Nyari, a resource person noted that the country’s lands have been captured in the constitution, placing the individual and the institutions mandated by law to be the sole protectors of the lands in the country, adding that, the constitution gives sovereignty to individuals over their properties.

He called on the government and chiefs to hold lands in their trust in the interest of the people such that they could accrue the benefit of it.

Source: GNA

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