Consultants endorse land banks for GCAP

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The study recommending the creastion of land banks for large-scale agricultural investments in Ghana was carried out by the former Executive Secretary of the Land Commission, Wordsworth Odame Larbi.
GhanaWeb | 29 November 2014

Consultants endorse land banks for GCAP

The availability of investible agricultural land -- whether by location, tenure security, land rights, ownership, infrastructure or size -- is critical to transforming agriculture from low productivity subsistence-based to high productivity mechanised modern agriculture.

Ghana’s vision for modernising agriculture requires a combination of both mechanised agriculture based on large investments in combination with smallholder farming. The needed security of land tenure for land acquired for agriculture therefore cannot be over-emphasised.

It is precisely for the aforementioned reasons that the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) commissioned a study on the creation of land banks in Ghana to facilitate the acquisition of land for commercial agricultural investment.

The objective for establishment of the land banks is to improve the overall enabling environment for inclusive commercial investment in agriculture in Ghana.

The consultant who undertook the study, LOSMILLS Consult Ltd, presented its findings of the final draft report on the establishment of Land Banks to the country’s various stakeholders in land administration, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), and other MDAs for their inputs and comments.

Dr. W. Odame-Larbi, a former Executive Secretary of the Land Commission and lead consultant of LOSMILLS Ltd, told the stakeholders/participants at the validation workshop at Asutsuare on Tuesday that their field work involved 17 communities in the Accra Plains -- mainly the eastern side, and 39 communities in the SADA zone.

For their study, Dr. Odame-Larbi indicated that he and his colleagues studied six countries which employ the concept of land banks to boost large-scale commercial agriculture: and the countries include Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, Brazil, Sierra Leone and South Africa.

He noted that in those countries the introduction of land banks is always backed by a legal regime, with specific institutions set up to deal with the concept. He proposed the Lands Commission as the appropriate agency to handle the proposed land banks, since it possesses the legal mandate for custody of deeds records, registers, accounts etc.

He however mentioned administrative inertia and the need to improve administrative governance at the Lands Commission as challenges. He also noted that records management at the Commission is largely manual. Another challenge he mentioned with the lands commission is that it has been decentralised only to the regional level, leaving the districts -- which could affect operations at that level.

Some of the recommendations are that the minimum size to be nominated should be 100 acres or 24.7 hectares; and the maximum size should be not more 40% of the community’s land.

Their findings were that all communities studied are prepared to set aside specific portions of their lands for large scale agriculture investment, provided the conditions under which the lands are granted are favourable.

As modernising agriculture remains the overarching theme of the country’s agriculture policy, as well as the new private sector development strategy, government engaged the World Bank and USAID to implement the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) with a total of US$145million --with US$100million provided by the World Bank and USAID providing US$40 million, with the principal objective of improving the investment climate for agri-business and developing inclusive Private-Public Partnership.
Original source: GhanaWeb
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