A research conducted by “Mangrove-Ghana” a Non-Governmental Organisation dedicated to Agriculture and food security in Ghana has stressed the need for pragmatic steps to protect farm lands across the country.
The research revealed that the excessive usage of most fertile agricultural lands for construction and sand winning purposes was gradually depriving farmers of their livelihood and also posed a greater threat to food security.
Dr Daniel Adu Ankrah, Executive Director of Mangrove-Ghana told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that if necessary steps were not put in place, agricultural lands would continue to diminish drastically adding, “It is gradually becoming difficult for farmers currently to get lands to farm.”
He said, “Our survey carried out within the month of January to April last year revealed that at least 1,000 to 2,500 acres of fertile agricultural lands had been cleared for real estate or sand winning purposes in Gomoa East and Awutu Senya district alone in the central region.
The Gomoa East in the Central Region according to Dr Ankrah was endowed with immense natural resources in the form of vast arable lands suitable for food crops, fruits and vegetables, wetlands, forest, wildlife and rivers and the sea making fishing important in the coastal communities of Fetteh, Nyanyano and Dampase.
The Executive Director of Mangrove-Ghana said the over exploitation of the arable land, forest, wetlands and rivers to meet the socio-economic needs had adversely affected the fragile environment adding, “uncontrolled sand winning, bush burning, hunting and excessive felling of trees was fast threatening the biodiversity, thus putting the fertility of the soil as well as wildlife at risk. a”.
The Executive Director of Mangrove-Ghana said the survey also brought to the fore issues regarding land acquired through the traditional authorities and Ghanaian middlemen which were mostly obtained through verbal agreement without any contractual agreement, which increased land disputes in the area.
He said the NGO under the auspices of BUSAC fund was working to facilitate the development of a land use and compensation plan through acceptable negotiation procedures for selling agricultural lands for real estate and industrial usage.
The organisation, he added would embark on livelihood diversification activities to reduce the risk of engaging in one farm enterprise and other programmes targeted towards achieving food security as well as encouraging good farming systems to lessen effects of climate change.
He said over the last nine years, the organisation had been working in agriculture and livelihood sector across the entire country by encouraging farmers to recognise and fully tap into the potentials of the agricultural value chain for specific agricultural commodities.