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19.04.2005 General News

Land Banks Project would help land management

By GNA

Takoradi, April 19 GNA - The introduction of land banks in all parts of the country would enable fallow and idle lands to be converted into income yielding businesses for landowners. Investors could borrow these lands from the land banks; use it for their agricultural or industrial activities for a periods ranging between 10 years and 50 years.

These businesses would pay monthly rents to the landowners through the banks who would continue to own their lands.

Professor Ernest Aryeetey of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana said these at a day's workshop on: "Land Policy Reform In Ghana Research Project" (LPRG) at Takoradi on Monday.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding the research work, which would assess the problem of customary and statutory land ownership, identify and assess institutional and legal issues that affected land tenure and land conflicts among other things.

He said the research could provide greater quality data and knowledge about the problems of land tenure and administration in Ghana and would assist policy makers, civil society groups to determine the direction, character and specific areas of land tenure in Ghana.

Prof. Aryeetey said the banks would give such lands to interested people and thereby minimise double sale of lands to potential investors. The interest of the owner and user would be safeguarded in the implementation of the final results of the research work, he said, adding: "We don't want a reform that leads to lots of loses." Prof. Aryeetey said as part of the research a National Survey would be conducted in 20 districts with special emphasis on households and small businesses using group discussions and interviews.

He said the survey would be carried out in the first year of the project and out of this, technical reports would be published by ISSER. Mr John Sarpong, Western Regional Director of the Lands Commission, said the increasing cases of land disputes were a great hindrance to the operations of the Commission.

He said the research work by ISSER would assist the Commission to quickly process date and ensure efficient land administration in the country.

Nana Akosua Nkransie, Divisional Chief of Shama Traditional Area, said the research would assist chiefs and their family heads to release portions of large family lands which have been lying idle for economic returns. 19 April 05

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