The audience at the lecture

School of Agriculture Sensitises Public on Risk-taking in Farming and Land Matters

In an attempt to address risk-taking in farming and land matters in the country, the School of Agriculture has organised a “Public Lecture” to discuss “Land Conflicts in Ghana: Causes, Effects and Resolution” and Farmers Adaptation to Extreme Drought: Do Risk Attitudes and Perceived Risk Probability Matter?”

Drought is a Major Challenge Farmers

Speaking on “Farmers’ Adaptation to Extreme Drought,” the first presenter, a lecturer at the School of Agriculture, Dr. Samuel Ndzebah Dadzie, said the Ghanaian farmer’s dependence on rainfall was an indication that  drought was a major challenge especially in Central Region. He explained that most farmers have continued to engage in rain-fed agriculture, thereby allowing drought to appear to be the most severe climatic phenomenon impacting negatively on crop and food production. “This makes it imperative for farmers to adapt to climate change with measures and strategies that can effectively mitigate the negative impact of extreme event (drought),” he added.

Dr. Dadzie said it was important to identify some of the probable adoptive ways, such as drought tolerant variety as a climate response measure or technology and the crop insurance. He stated that “Farmers with risk seeking attitudes, who are less sensitive to losses and also perceive as highly probable the occurrence of extreme climatic events, will be more likely to adopt drought tolerant variety, when recommended to them.” He further noted that a farmer who had access to credit and agricultural extension services was more likely to adopt drought tolerant variety to adapt to climate change extreme events.

Improve Farmers Knowledge about Climate Change Adaptation Strategies

On policy implications, he suggested that efforts must be made to improve farmers’ knowledge about climate change adaptation strategies through the use of sensitization programmes about climate change adaptation strategies to highlight the relevance, effectiveness and benefits to farmers. Adding to policy implications, he noted, “We emphasise that enhancing farmers’ awareness of the potentials of using most of the existing and recommended measures to adapt to climate change can be vitally important in facilitating farmer’s level of adaptation to climate change.

In terms of crop insurance to help farmers to adapt to weather shocks, he said there was the need to strengthen policies to encourage the development of crop insurance products by the players in the insurance market as well as increasing awareness of the availability of insurance to farmers. Dr. Dadzie averred that, “The potential influence of farmers’ perceptions of the riskiness of new adaptation strategies which might be the function of their decision behaviour under risk is a key predicting factor to be considered and accounted for, in order to pave the way for the successful introduction of new strategies to farmers for adoption against climate change extreme events.” Dr. Dadzie recommended that Agricultural policies that seek to promote new strategies, such as the development of new drought tolerant varieties to help farmers to adapt to extreme events associated with climate change, may need to consider incorporating feasibility studies on the personal circumstances of the farmers’ target group.

Land conflicts in Ghana and its Causes, Effects, and Resolutions

Touching on Land Conflicts in Ghana and its causes, effects, and resolutions, the second presenter, a lecturer at the School of Agriculture, Engr. Dr. Ebenezer A. Gyamera, described land as a free gift of nature which comprised of component such as soil, rocks and natural vegetation. He explained “It is hard to visualize any economic activity which does not require the use of land. This makes land the most powerful commodity in the world with high demand rate in all aspect of development.”

Dr. Gyamera indicated that to acquire or own a piece of land, one had to follow both statutory and customary land tenure systems in the country. “Current tenure regime in Ghana provides five broad classes of land ownership. These are; the stool/skin lands, family lands, individual/private lands, state lands and vested lands,” he noted. Stressing on conflicts over land in Ghana, he stated that they had been among the major challenges to the state, land administrators and other investors. He highlighted that the causes of land conflicts in the country could be classified as ‘Legal and judicial causes; Administrative Causes; Technical causes and Psychological causes.’

Land Conflicts Affects GDP

According to Dr. Gyamera Land conflicts in Ghana had directly and indirectly affected the country’s economy and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and ought to cease because conflicts over land could be prevented on some occasions and managed on others. “The effects of land conflicts are enormous which include; time wasting, high financial and time cost, injunctions on projects, inability to start new projects, broken homes, permanent deformities and even loss of lives,” he espoused. Therefore, he charged all the authorities and individuals responsible for land conflicts management to use the appropriate regulatory mechanisms and systems to resolve issues. Finally, he recommended to prospective buyers to “acquire land through an expert; observe procedures and rules in land acquisition; and not to rush to engage anybody when acquiring a land.”

School of Agriculture Commended for the Lecture  

The Paramount Chief of the Oguaa Traditional Council, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, agreed with the presenters that land has become a controversial commodity affecting the lives of so many people. “This has always happened because people have either not been taught, or informed about dealing with land – selling or buying issues generally”. He thanked the School for its educative and informative initiative adding that “I think this is the new beginning for all of us to deal with land matters peacefully.”

Osabarima Kwesi Atta II was excited that the School had organised the lecture to address issues affecting the Agriculture Sector. He urged the School to hold more of such public lectures to create awareness in the general populace. “I hope to be part of future lectures so that together, we will learn from you and in learning, be submitted to whatever we learn from our people for the systems of this land,” he indicated.

CANS Provost’s Address

In his address at the programme, the Provost, College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, Prof. L. K. Sam-Amoah, said the lecture was very relevant because it sought to deal with sensitive thoughts on ‘Land and Farmers’ attitude towards taking-risk in farming. He was hopeful that the audience was enlightened on the issues discussed at the lecture. Prof. Sam-Amoah commended the School for raising the status of the programme from a “Seminar” to “Public Lecture” He thanked the Chiefs and Queen mothers from the Oguaa Traditional Council for their presence.

Purpose of the Lecture

The Dean, School of Agriculture, Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediako, explained that the public lecture formed part of the mandate of the School to teach, research, extension and dissemination of knowledge. “We are supposed to educate - whatever we study and teach our student here. If it does not result in the benefits of the public, then, it means we have failed as a university. This is why we decided to have seminar series to discuss some of the topical issues affecting Agriculture and real situations. ” he noted.