African Review of Economics and Finance

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Winners and losers in large-scale land transactions in Ghana ˗ Opportunities for win-win outcomes

Elias Danyi Kuusaana


Large land acquisition for agro-investment globally is stirring debate about their socio-political, cultural, economic, and ecological implications on smallholders and host communities. Though several works are on going in this area, empirical findings that seek to identify and compare winners and losers of large-scale land transactions in host communities remain limited. In this paper, casebased qualitative approaches were used to identify, and to study the dynamics of winners and losers under large-scale land acquisitions. The study found that inequalities in benefiting from land revenue in Ghana were customarily anchored; and existing land and agricultural policies offered limited remedies for vulnerable groups. Unequal power relations between land custodians and land users dictate who benefits more from land transactions. Chiefs and family heads entrusted with allodial titles were perceived to be gaining the most from emerging land market dynamics, while smallholders who cultivated land under insufficiently secure tenure such as sharecroppers, women and poor community commoners were the most adversely affected. Policy direction should target spreading land revenue to the entire community through social infrastructure and services. Under the current tenure regime, land custodians are not obliged to earmark land revenue for community development or compensate expropriated households except to allocate to them alternative farmland.

Keywords: Land markets; Land prices; Chieftaincy; Agro-investments; Ghana.

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