The linkages between soil degradation and land tenure arrangements. a case of crop farming in the Sekyere West District of Ashanti region

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Land tenure arrangement affect farmers' resource management, agricultural production and soil management in the Sekyere West District. The purpose of the study was to explore how land tenure arrangements can contribute to soil degradation. Data collected from the focus group discussions and interviews were analysed in the light of the propositions formulated based on the study objectives. It was discovered that there is a direct link between tenure security and soil degradation in the Sekyere West District. Tenure insecurity is the main institutional constraints that inhibit soil conservation investments in the study area. Moreover, the study revealed that, the type of farming practice is not always determined by tenure status but rather the type of crops cultivated also influences the type of farming technique a farmer employs. Further, the trend in farmland ownership has not changed in the study area. What has rather changed is the relationship between tenant farmers and landowners in terms of farmland acquisition. The conclusions drawn from interviews concerning land tenure and soil conservation were that unsustainable farming practices were not employed by tenant farmers alone. Evidence from the study indicates that the link between tenure security and overexploitation of soil resources is complex and varies among land users. Long-term investments in land, such as soil conservation practices are highly dependent on the level of security, which is measured in the duration a farmer expects to till a parcel of land. The study recommends that policies aimed at improving the literacy level of peasants should be encouraged in the Sekyere West District since literature confirms that there is a positive relationship between the adoption of improved farming techniques and literacy. Also, there should be awareness among land tenure institutions so that lease durations would be such that the time horizon is sufficiently long enough to enable the holder to recoup with confidence the full income stream generated by the investments put into the land.
A Thesis submitted to The Department of Geography and Rural Development, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Arts.