Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, Dr. Wilfred Anim-Odame, has reiterated government’s commitment to providing investors with secure lands in order to increase private sector investments in the agriculture sector.
Over the years, investors have raised concerns about difficulties in acquiring large-scale lands for their projects.
It is for this reason that the USAID/Ghana Feed the Future (FtF) Agriculture Policy Support Project (APSP) and the government of Ghana, through the Lands Commission, have organised a one-day validation workshop in Accra that seeks stakeholder inputs into a draft land policy.
The document, titled ‘Guidelines for Large-Scale Land Transactions in Ghana’, seeks to improve land acquisition processes, land security and tenure arrangements in the country for investors.
“We are very keen on stimulating and promoting investments, because investment in any form will have to manifest in land,” Mr. Anim-Odame told the B&FT.
“Our agenda is to make sure all investors in this country have access to secure land that is suitable for investments purposes,” he added.
The policy document under review seeks to address certain lapses involved in the acquisition of large tracts of lands primarily for various agriculture ventures. Among other specific issues it seeks to: promote transparency in land transactions; frown on land speculation; and to yield sustainability in terms of economic, social and environmental benefits.
The document, if implemented, will also ensure that land owners and managers perform their fiduciary responsibilities.
Mr. Anim-Odame indicated in an interview with the B&FT that the Commission is burdened with a market interplay between the fixed nature of lands and increasing demand for same for various uses. Hence, the need to urgently put in place a regulatory framework to address the issue.
He further maintained that while the Commission strives to promote investments, it is also committed to protecting the interests of indigenous land owners and local communities where lands are being acquired.
“As we push for more investors, we also want to protect the interest of land owners, so that investors will not come and take undue advantage of the communities and end up making them landless,” he assured.
Speaking at the stakeholder meeting, Chief of Party-USAID/APSP, Walter Nunez-Rodriguez expressed the oranisation’s dedication to help strengthen the development and implementation of agricultural policies.
“What we understand from our dealings and conversations with the private sector is that land access entails a process – which is sometimes bureaucratic or lacks guidelines, and so when the Lands Commission contacted us for the collaboration we came on board excited at contributing to a change process,” Mr. Nunez-Rodriguez said.
“One of the purposes of the APSP project is improving the business-enabling environment to increase private sector investments, and in doing so it is important to develop guidelines to strengthen land policies and improve on the processes for acquiring and developing land tenure in the country,” he added.
The Agriculture Policy Support Project (APSP) is a 5-year USAID-funded project with the goal to improve the food security enabling environment for private sector investment. The aim is of increasing the capacity of Ghana’s government, the private sector, and civil society organisations to implement evidence-based policy formation and implementation; and perform rigorous monitoring and evaluation of agriculture programmes implemented under the Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP).
Source: B & FT