Customary land tenure practices and land markets in Ghana: a case study of Odupong Ofaakor

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The significance of land to the sustenance of livelihoods is undisputable. Using a Survey and Case Study research design, simple random sampling, questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and direct observation as the field instruments, the dynamics of the customary land tenure practices in the Odupong Ofaakor area and their challenges and implications for the land market were studied. It was revealed that Nai Odupong acquired the allodial interest in the land in the 18th century through discovery and settlement thereon. The paramount chief of Odupong Ofaakor currently owns the allodial interest in the land while members of the community, as well as strangers, hold various derivative rights. The land market in the area was very chaotic where almost all members of the royal family allocate land. The activities of unqualified surveyors and the non-availability of planning schemes have resulted in cases of multiple sales of land, encroachment and disputes. Land registration and the acquisition of permits before building was not their priority. Rapid urbanization and the pressure on land in the area have resulted in the non-availability of agricultural land which used to be cultivated to sustain livelihoods in the area. Farmers in turn go to other neighbouring communities to acquire land for farming while the youth learn trades like masonry and plumbing to support the booming construction industry in the area. Most women on the other hand engage in trading activities at the Kasoa market. A lot more people in the area have also been deprived of their livelihood creating dire economic consequences for the poor. It was recommended that pragmatic measures must be put in place to resolve the challenges facing the land tenure system in the area. Alternative livelihoods like the establishment of factories to process agricultural produce must therefore be provided to employ the people in the area. The allocation of land must be streamlined. In so doing, the Customary Land Secretariat (CLS) must be equipped to handle all land allocations. The customary land rights in the area must be codified and the Town and Country Planning Department must be empowered to enforce planning decisions. The land registration regime currently operational must be overhauled to ensure timely service delivery just as dispute adjudication procedures are enhanced. Alternative Dispute Resolution must be encouraged in this regard. Above all, there should be more educational campaigns to inform the people on new development in the area.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Land Economy, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy Land Management.