The vulnerability of peri-urban farm households with the emergence of land Markets in Accra
Accra, the capital of Ghana, is a fast-growing African city. Its growth has brought in its wake an ever-increasing demand for land, which has in turn led to the emergence of a land market that is increasingly supplanting the age-old customary land tenure system. The customary land tenure system is based on communal, rather than individual ownership of land. However, over the last few decades, the system has come under pressure from the forces of rapid urbanization, city expansion and increasing demand for land for urban development. The purpose of this paper was to examine the vulnerability of residents of indigenous communities in peri-urban Accra due to the emerging urban land market. The case study approach has been used to explore vulnerability among residents of two indigenous communities in peri-urban Accra in respect of their ability to access land. Household surveys, focus group discussions and key informant interviews involving community members, leaders and municipal officials were the main techniques used to collect data. The study revealed that indigenous and long-term residents had their farmlands converted to urban development without any measures in place to protect them from the collapsing customary land tenure system and the evolving urban land market. This has negatively impacted their quality of life, especially with respect to livelihoods. There is therefore the need for municipal assemblies to include the preservation of farmlands in the management of physical growth and land use so as to minimize the rate at which farmlands are being converted to urban development. Measures should also be put in place to restore farm households that have lost their land to urban development in the form of compensation and provision of alternative livelihoods.
Keywords: Vulnerability; customary; land tenure; urban growth; land market