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

Student:Baslyd Nara
Timeline:September 2017 - 1 September 2021

Even though global food production far exceeds its consumption needs, close to a billion people still go to sleep without food on daily basis. Many of these people live in developing countries and depend on food from their own subsistence production (i.e. for upkeep of household). A significant number of these people have only secondary rights to the lands they till. That is, depending on others for access to sufficient and secured land needed for food production, food availability and consequently food security. In Africa, land reforms in the form of formalisation, regularisation, legalisation and registration have been adopted to solve tenure and livelihood problems. However, only Rwanda and Namibia witnessed major successes. In other African countries including Ghana, there is little or no success yet, transformations in the original customary tenure system occurred thereby affecting farming activities of the poor. This implies that there is little knowledge on how subsistence (immigrant) farmers in sub-Saharan African customary setting can have secure tenure, produce more food and contribute to food security. It therefore creates a knowledge gap on how to solve context based food insecurity more effectively in the region. The aim of this research is to identify different kinds of obstacles against food and tenure security other than the current large scale commercial production by only few investors and distribution through the market system and food aid. This research will examine customary land tenure arrangements of subsistence settler farmers in the Upper West Region of northern Ghana; and design a land tenure model for improving tenure security in order to enhance household food security and contribute to global food production. Since this research is largely qualitative, the Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) will be adopted through case study approach. The data collection tools will be key informant interviews, focus group discussions and remote sensing earth observation satellite imagery. Data will be analysed through comparisons, descriptions and visual image interpretations based on which conclusions will be drawn. The result is expected to improve tenure security, complement large scale commercial food production and enhance household food security. It will also contribute to literature on policies that support context based food security and management practices through the attainment of land access and tenure security for all.

Meet the team

B.B. Nara (Baslyd)
Graduate Student J.A. Zevenbergen (Jaap)
dr. M.N. Lengoiboni (Monica)
Research theme
People, Land and Urban Systems

In PLUS research, people are our focus. Everyone is included, from societal thought-leaders, to government policy makers, to high-level civil society advocates – through to entrepreneurs and citizens, including the disenfranchised. These people are our collaborators, our participants, our beneficiaries, our users. PLUS focuses on understanding the spatial information needs of society and responding to those needs in responsible ways – as tools, as systems, as infrastructure, or as ways of thinking. Our work sits at the nexus of urbanization, land tenure, governance, climate change, and transportation – and the grand challenges of sustainability and social equity in the age of the anthropocene.

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