Journal Article

Farming Within a Dual Legal Land System: An Argument for Emancipatory Food Systems Planning in Accra, Ghana

Published on 1 March 2020

Contestation over land is a central element of urban food systems. This paper examines how Ghana’s dual legal land system affects urban farmers. Situated within the “emancipatory planning” discourse, the paper investigates how farmers navigate customary and statutory land rules using tactics that include compliance, opposition and adaptation. Based on field work conducted in urban and peri-urban areas of Accra, the study demonstrates that farmers access land by working around, outside, and within the rules of the dual legal land system. The landowners on whom urban farmers depend also both comply with and violate these same rules. This system perpetuates inequities. Food systems policy and planning must address the structural and systemic inequities that are reinforced by the rules of the land game. The paper concludes with some reflections on how local and national policy and planning can do a better job in supporting urban food production in contexts characterized by complex, dual legal land systems.

Cite this publication

Frimpong Boamah, E.; Sumberg, J. and Raja, S. (2020) 'Farming within a dual legal and system: An argument for emancipatory food systems planning in Accra, Ghana', Land Use Policy 92


James Sumberg

Emeritus Fellow

Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah
Samina Raja

Publication details

published by
Land Use Policy, volume 92


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