Most of the agricultural land in Ghana is under communal ownership. Communal land is controlled by lineage or clan-based land-owning groups and allocated to individuals or households on a usufructuary basis.
In most parts of the country, particularly in the northern regions, women generally have difficulties in accessing land except where there is a male guarantor, or where there is group ownership. Traditional leadership exercises strong influence over land allocation. The comprehensive National Land Policy was introduced in 1999 to serve as a framework for amendments of legislation and formulation of strategies for allocation, utilization and administration of land.
A Land Title Law passed in 1986 provides for land titling in order to enhance security of land tenure. The progress in formalizing land ownership through issuing of title deeds has been growing steadily through the support of the multi-donor funded Lands Administration Project (LAP). Most rural land is however still under customary law.
Out of a total land area of 23.9 million hectares, 13 million ha (54%) are suitable for agricultural production. Land use in Ghana can be grouped into eight major categories, namely;
i) forest reserves (approximately 11% of the total land area);
ii) wildlife reserves (5%); iii) unreserved high forest (2%);
iv) savannah woodlands (30%);
v) tree crops (7%);
vi) annual crops (25%);
vii) unimproved pasture (15%); and
viii) bush fallow and other uses (5%).
Agriculture is predominantly on a smallholder basis in Ghana. About 90% of farm holdings are less than 2 hectares in size, although there are some large farms and plantations, particularly for rubber, oil palm and coconut and to a lesser extent, rice, maize and pineapples.
Main system of farming is traditional where the hoe and cutlass are the main farming tools. This is however giving way to adoption of more small-scale mechanization among smallholder farmer cooperatives and farmer-based organisations.
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