Gold miners, Cocoa and Oil Palm farmers in Ghana say a new programme initiated by Solidaridad and its partner Trust Africa will help them better understand land governance issues, own land and have a say in how land is used in their communities.
The five-year programme, called the Reclaim Sustainability Programme, involves the use of a tool that will help Civil Society Organisations collect land-related data and evidence on land governance issues, needed to hold government accountable on issues of land governance.
Programme Coordinator for the Reclaim Sustainability Programme, Seth Kankam Nuamah – who spoke to the B&FT at a two-day Trainer of Trainers workshop on the Civil Society Template for Land Governance Monitoring held in Kumasi, said farmers have never been engaged in the policies which affect their livelihoods. He said although farmers are the implementers of such policies, they are not engaged during their formulation.
He said the programme particularly targets cocoa farmers, oil-palm farmers and those in the gold extractive industry, and will empower and enable them to speak up on land-related issues that affect them. He indicated that the programme will also empower civil society organisations and women to enable them monitor land administration at the local level and make inputs accordingly.
He hinted that other stakeholders, including chiefs and government officials, will be roped into the programme to help make it a success.
Mr. Kankam Nuamah is confident the project will help avoid large-scale grabbing of lands, give women access to lands, and ensure that entire communities benefit from lands belonging to the people.
Bethule Nyamambi, a programme manager at Trust Africa, who spoke on a Civil Society-laid Land Governance Tool, explained that the tool – developed with Trust Africa’s partners in 2018 through its public financing for Agricultural work – will help civil society and farmer-based organisations collect the evidence needed to hold governments accountable on land governance issues. In the case of Ghana, the tool will consider promotion of the land Act that was released last year, provisions of the Act; and contribute to how the Act should be implemented.
Madam Bethule Nyamambi is confident that use of the tool-kit will make farmers, especially female farmers, champions of their destinies as far as land issues are concerned.
Kwame Amo, Vice President of the Oil Palm Development Association (OPDAG) who participated in the workshop, expects that the training workshop and tool-kit will help members of his Association deal adequately with issues of land acquisition.
Madam Leticia Yankey, who represented Cocoa mmaa (women in cocoa), said women find it difficult acquiring lands to farm due to the impression that cocoa farming is the preserve of men. She is hopeful the programme will empower them enough to acquire and own their farmlands.