DETERMINANTS OF FARMLAND TENURE SECURITY IN GHANA
Applications of the neo-classical land tenure security hypotheses in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have
largely failed to establish meaningful links between land tenure security and the rather axiomatic outcomes of improved access to finance and farmland productivity. While some authors blame the phenomenon on structural and institutional bottlenecks, others stress the need for changes in methodological approaches. We argue that since farmlands under continuous cultivation are hardly appropriated under SSA’s predominantly customary land tenure regimes, a tenure insecure farmer would, instead of fallowing, continue to cultivate his land while secure right holders may decide to leave their lands idle without fear of appropriation. The main objective of this paper is to highlight alternative measures and indicators of land tenure security within the context of Ghana's diverse land holding and use arrangements. The convention has been to equate land tenure security to individualisation and formal land titling. Some have argued that individualisation and formal land titling may exclude other social and cultural factors that influence land tenure security. The paper has proposed a two-stage measure of tenure security based on the premise of non-loss of lands under cultivation and proceeded to test the hypothesis using data from four agro-ecological zones of Ghana. The results show that many factors often thought to improve land tenure security such as land titling, being native to an area, cultivating perennials, and boundary demarcation, among others had a positive significant effect on the decision to leave land idle and the period of time lands could be left without loss of rights. The paper concludes that narrow definitions of tenure security as formal documentation of land ignore s context specific factors such as ancestry and household wealth that affect tenure. Our paper recommends flags the need for innovative approaches in the operationalisation of land tenure security, especially in jurisdictions with pluralistic land tenure systems such as Ghana.
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