Ghana is dominantly an agrarian economy, remains a net importer of food, yet classified as a ‘food deficit country’. An estimated 1.2 million people, (4.8% of the total population) are said to be food insecure and 1.9 million people are at risk of being food insecure. This means, more than 3million people (or 12 percent of the population) do not have access to an adequate and secure source of food supply. For a country which has agriculture as the mainstay of the economy, this is a worrying development.

Agricultural production is determined by a range of factors but access to productive and secure land is critical. However, Ghana’s oil find and other drivers such as (illegal small scale mining, acquisition of large land for real estate development and export oriented agriculture, etc) are jointly contributing to rapidly redefine land tenure dynamics in the south–western part of the country. But to what extent is this affecting land access and food production? By engaging multi-stakeholders through household survey, focus group discussions and interviews within the mixed method research paradigm, the study found land access to be increasingly negotiated through local land market as opposed to inheritance and other non-market pathways. Those who cannot afford are eventually subjected to market driven displacements. This situation is increasing the rate of farmland fragmentation and distance to farms, resulting in increased land pressures. Available arable lands are now being more intensively used, resulting in reducing soil fertility and in turn, agricultural production and productivity.

It was also found that oil drilling and exploration are affecting fishing in the area. Previously, local artisanal fishermen could fish within 90 nautical miles but are presently restricted to 10 nautical miles. Furthermore, the oil activities have resulted in the proliferation of seaweeds which adversely affect fishing. There is now steady reduction of catch per fishing trip in areas within the oil enclave. In effect, food crops production and fish catch are declining. This could exacerbate the existing food insecurity considerations and adversely affect livelihoods. This calls for policy interventions among which include developing high yielding varieties of staple crops, facilitating block farming and developing alternative livelihood strategies which move rural land users up along the agricultural value chain.