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Changing Land tenure relations for cocoa commercialisation in the Western Region of Ghana

Topics: Agricultural Geography, Africa, Rural Geography
Keywords: Ghana, cocoa, land tenure, agricultural commercialisation
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The historical phenomenal growth of the cocoa sector in Ghana, has been hinged on the ease with which traditional authorities and social structures have accommodated the demands for cheap forest lands. The flexibility of these institutions over the years in response to both external and internal drivers has opened up new production frontiers. The increasing scarcity of land over the past thirty years in an era of increasing commercialisation of agriculture has repercussions for contemporary rules and conditions of usage and access to land. We examine the changing land tenure relations and its repercussions in the Western Region of Ghana which is the largest producer of cocoa in Ghana and the last production frontier. Secondary forests have been sold out in the last twenty years making land scarcity pronounced. Older cocoa farms are undergoing rehabilitation on a gradual basis in an era where wage labour is available and family labour is scarce. The higher the availability of cheap labour where land is scarce, the more land owners are able to concentrate more land for their own production through sharecropping labour arrangements and wage labour. The terms and conditions of land usage and access have become more unfavourable than before as land rents are going up, prices are increasing, the security of tenure is lower, the length of tenure is reducing, and number of untold rules multiply. It is critical to understand how the fading of older socio-economic mechanisms for accessing land affect the livelihood prospects of poor indigenes and migrants.

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