The effect of conflicts on the attainment of sustainable land use systems in Tamale Metropolis, Tolon-Kumbungu, Sefwi Wiawso and Kwahu South Districts

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September, 2012
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Conflicts of all kinds have been a major threat to sustainable development and socioeconomic growth and have continued to plague many African countries including Ghana in recent times. In the last two and half decades several civil strife such as ethnic conflicts, chieftaincy disputes and political clashes have plagued the nation. There are growing concerns about the effects of these conflicts on national stability, security and economic growth and development of the nation. In all kinds of conflicts the most vulnerable group of people to suffer the severest impact are the aged, women and children. This research examines the causes and effects of conflicts on sustainable land use. A total of eighty-nine respondents drawn from four districts that have been experiencing conflicts in recent times were interviewed between January and December 2009. The methods used in this research were focus group discussions; transect walk and review of secondary data. Chi-square was used to test for significance. All the 89 respondents confirmed that the major sources and types of conflict in Ghana are land litigation, chieftaincy disputes, political and ethnic clashes, among others. All the 89 respondents said that the impacts of conflicts on land use were the destruction of farms and vegetation and the demolishing of houses and properties, loss of lives, displacement of people and abandoning of crop land to save lives. About 83% of the respondents said that the common strategies adopted when conflicts erupted were moving from their town to a different town, moving to battle front to help, some hiring people to guard their businesses while others sell their assets and close down their businesses. About 69% of the respondents said that agroforestry technology that could be used to prevent conflict included clearly delineating boundaries with trees and planting fast growing ideotype, practicing fodder banks to feed farm animals and leaving big trees on farm as „tree god‟. It was recommended that farmers should be encouraged and assisted to ensure that they have written agreement on the land for farming as a way of reducing conflicts. Farmers should be educated on agroforestry technologies used in farming to prevent conflicts on land use. Also, there should be stakeholders meeting to help resolve various forms of conflicts at the initial stage to prevent more violent clashes in conflicts communities.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of a Master of Science degree in Agroforestry