This paper focuses on large scale land acquisitions in Ghana (defined for purposes of this work as single acquisitions in excess of 5000 acres purchased or leased) with analysis of quantitative data from state and non-state institutions: Ghana Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands, Ghana Lands Commission, Ghana Free Zones Board and Ghana Investment Promotion Centre as well as qualitative information from interviews with key stakeholders in Ghana’s land business notably Estate Agents and the Land Allocation Committees of Stools, Skins, Clans and Families. 

This study is an attempt to further close the information gap, facilitate debate and provide guidance to key stakeholders and governments on why they should and how they can together stop and reverse negative effects of the acquisitions.

In this work, samples of recent large scale land acquisitions contracted between 2002 and 2012 have been analyzed to (1) demonstrate the trends and features of acquisitions, (2) establish the faces, as well as motives for the acquisitions (3), identify salient terms and conditions of contracts and (4) discuss threats and opportunities of the acquisitions and finally (5) discuss recommendations for making a virtue of necessity towards win-win outcomes.

Results show a trend of proliferating land acquisition in terms of numbers and sizes in all sampled region of in the country. The rising global requirement for food and non-food agricultural products, attractive rates of return for agricultural investments, incentives by Government, the unique natural characteristics and perceived abundance of suitable land and other factors of production were identified as the main pull-push factors. The study also observed domination of acquisitions by foreign private organizations in partnership with local entities, concentration of acquisitions in areas of more fertile land and an increasing trend of stalled projects arising from contestations by inhabitants and interest groups even in cases where contracts have been sealed between landlord and investor.