There is a land policy from 1999, which led to the establishment of the Land Administration Project and then the Lands Commission charged with addressing issues of insecure tenure, but on-going disputes have not been resolved and the policy has not been updated. There is not much debate at the national level about land tenure and there is little impetus to deal with the fundamental issues of ownership, custodianship and usufruct rights. The 1999 Land Policy also state that no mining activities or plantations will be permitted on land with primary forest cover, but cases of mining in forest reserves have been reported in recent years.
A complicated hierarchy of land ownership arrangements exist. The ownership of forest reserves by traditional authorities is clarified in the gazette, but it is usually not covered with title (and documentation) and the state exercises control of the resources. Outside forest reserves, trees on private or community lands are also nominally owned by the state. The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has engaged Civic Response to carry out a national consultation process on the issue of tree tenure in off-reserves, which has so far prepared an initial review and is expected to conduct a consultation process. As it currently stands, planted trees are owned by the planter, but civil society organisations have advocated that this arrangement should be extended to cover natural saplings that are nurtured by landowners. They have also encouraged a sensitive approach to address ownership of older trees as well as recognise local ownership of all trees on farms. Although these questions of tree tenure still need to be clarified, there are signs that the government has started to acknowledge their importance. For example, Ghana’s Investment Plan for the World Bank Forest Investment Programme recognises that the de facto prohibition on farmers to harvest any naturally occurring trees is “at the core of the deforestation problem” (1).
(1) Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (2012) Ghana Investment Plan for the Forest Investment Programme. Submitted to Climate Investment Funds, October 2012. Available at www.climateinvestmentfunds.org/cif/sites/climateinvestmentfunds.org/files/FIP_5_Ghana.pdf
|Title||National Land Policy|
|Organisation||Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources|