Distribution of agricultural land use and its implication for development: The case of Central Gonja District in the Mid-Volta basin of Ghana

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The activities of Fulani pastoralist and bio fuel producers in Africa are increasingly raising concerns about their effects on the agricultural land use resources of the countries involved. In recent times, the Northern parts of the Mid-Volta Basin in Ghana, has been experiencing an influx of nomadic herdsmen and increasing demands for large tracts of land for bio fuel production. These key resource users’ activities in the district are raising concerns with the local population for these resources. The phenomenon is not only creating tension in the district but also leading to intense struggle over the agricultural land resources that these communities have been endowed with. The aim of the research was to examine the possible implication(s) for the distribution of agricultural land use and the development of the district. A case study approach was adopted in this study. Simple random and purposive sampling methods were used to select 102 respondents in two communities namely Yapei and Kusawgu and some staffs from the District Assembly. Data was collected mainly from agricultural land users and the District Assembly using interviews, observations and focus group discussions. The research revealed that, arable lands were the most used resource as it was being used by 55.9 percent of the respondents with the majority being food crop farmers. The study also disclosed that, non-enforcement of agreements by the chiefs was the major source of challenge for agricultural land use in the district as land was being allocated to non-indigenes by the chiefs based on certain agreements which were not properly enforced. The study also realized, from the respondents that climate change impacted greatly on the availability of resources. About 71 percent of respondents alluded to the fact that climate change impacted on resource availability. iii The study therefore recommended among others that, policies should be formulated to address the primary drivers that are emerging as a result of the distribution of agricultural land use. These drivers include population growth, dietary preferences and protected areas. It was important to note that distribution of agricultural land in itself was not a driver affecting food and farming in the future but had the potential to influence other drivers. Hence policies need to be formulated to address the primary drivers of the distribution of agricultural land use. Also the study called for national framework to integrate the various uses of land to help resolve inevitable conflicts. National plans could integrate a diversity of land uses and work with land owners and land users to provide a range of desired outcomes. Finally the study recommended that technologies for increasing productivity of agricultural land was very necessary in improving the infertility of arable lands caused by the over grazing of cattle. Hence if farmers were supported with modern methods for growing their crops they would be able to grow more to feed themselves and earn extra income for the development of the district.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE.