Create More Opportunities for Female Farmers to Access Land Rights

A legal practitioner and Gender Activist, Mrs. Sheila Minka-Premo has stressed on the need to create more opportunities for female farmers to have access to land and other resources to enable them to improve their livelihood and generate wealth. She called for sensitisation of women on their lands rights to secure land tenure as well as strong advocacy to ensure the enforcement of relevant laws that had been enacted to improve the policy framework for women. Mrs. Minka-Premo made this statement at a public forum to commemorate the International Women’s Day Celebration held under the auspices of the Centre for Gender, Research, Advocacy and Documentation (CEGRAD) of the College of Humanities and Legal Studies at the University Main Auditorium. The event was on the theme “Land Rights for Women in Securing Decent and Sustainable Livelihoods.” The legal Practitioner noted that there were a lot of challenges that affect their ability to access and hold on to land for their livelihood. She added that apart from the few challenges for literate women who have the resources to purchase their own land, they do not have problems controlling and using land they have legitimately acquired and secured by registration.  She, however, observed that “a majority of women in Ghana who use land for agricultural purposes in particular, access to and over land is very challenging.” Mrs. Menka-Premo posited that even though there was no law that prohibited women from acquiring land for commercial investment in agriculture which is more lucrative because “ the purchasing power of the female farmer is limited and they have difficulty accessing loans and finance, they also have challenges in acquiring long term interest in lands for such investments.” She further intimated that marriage women had to combine domestic and customary law obligations which required them to assist their husbands with the cultivation of crops on their farms. According to the legal practitioner and Gender Activist, Ghana as a state party to the United Nations Convention on the elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (AW, was required to ensure the removal of discrimination against women in all areas of life including access to and control over land. she further stated that the state should retain a regulatory role in the disposition of stool lands to provide some degree of protection to rural livelihoods where women engage in agriculture are most vulnerable. With regard to recommendation to improve women’s land rights, Mrs. Menka-Premo called on the state to retain a regulatory role in the disposition of stool lands to provide some degree of protection to rural livelihoods where women engaged in agriculture were vulnerable. She also recommended a review of land policies and legislation to strengthen the rights of the poor, women and marginalised groups adding that “Affirmative action should be taken to ensure that women are represented in key positions to enable them push for needed changes. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. George K. T. Oduro, who chaired the function underscored the contributions of women to the socio-economic and political development of Ghana and therefore called for more attention towards the utilisation of knowledge and skills of women through the educational system. He pointed out that “when women control the process of land acquisition, there will be less litigation since men are less tempted to engage in corrupt act.” He also tasked the Faculty of Law to conduct research on why the reviewed Intestate Succession Law Bill has not been passed by Parliament. The event attracted various organised women groups in the Central Region, some senior high school students, participants and resource persons for the Harmattan School and a cross-section of members from the University Community.