Ghana – Part VII of VII-part series: WHAT THE WORLD CAN LEARN FROM WEST AFRICA’S UNHEARD (Voices from the forest-farm interface)
Esther Atogiba, Akaa, Kassena–Nankana West District, Upper East Region, Ghana
Like many others in the community of Akaa in Ghana’s Upper East Region, Esther Atogiba knows the difficulties of trying to farm where there is a shortage of land.
Upon marrying her husband, her in-laws took her to their ancestral lands to show her what they had lost. After the colonial border between Burkina Faso and Ghana were enforced to determine the Nazinga Wildlife Reserve, Ghanians were prohibited from crossing the line to farm and collect tree resources. For the people of Akaa, this new demarcation of territory cut them off from their precious family lands.
Today, as Atogiba tells us, she and her husband are forced to lease land in neighbouring communities to grow their crops. But the soil is infertile and they are not permitted to harvest fruit from shea and other trees on the land. As a result, life is very difficult indeed in Akaa, so hard that one day they might have to leave.
WATCH Part I: Trees “for the grandchildren” in a community forest
WATCH Part II: Losing farmland and forest to a national park
WATCH Part III: Keeping the peace in a national park buffer zone
WATCH Part IV: Trees and wildfire worries
WATCH Part V: Firewood for income in a degrading landscape
WATCH Part VI: When ancestral lands fall victim to an international border