How a young Ghanian farmer demonstrates that navigating through customary land tenure is possible
When the panel told us that Sanni Mohammed has been selected on ILC’s Good Practices Learning Hub, describing him as a good example of youth access to land under customary tenure in Africa, we wanted to know more. It sounded like the best combination ever: How did he do it? We spoke to him, then read about him again, then we went through some pictures. We were being introduced to a level of bravery before customary land tenure we haven’t seen before. In 2010, Sanni was larger than life in facing the problems and issues of leasing land belonging to the wrong family. And although he approached a local chief to resolve the land dispute that ensued, it was clear that his life was in danger. He gave up the land and lost the money paid for the lease and the planted watermelons.
It’s so important to engage with an Africa youth who has gone through what hundreds, if not thousands, of rural and peri-urban young farmers encounter daily. But Sanni did not get discouraged. He later approached a traditional chief to lease land, leveraging the customary land tenure system in his country Ghana, and started his farming project. He began farming operations on the 0.7 hectares of leased land from this chief.
But Sanni did not get discouraged. He later approached a traditional chief to lease land, leveraging the customary land tenure system in his country Ghana, and started his farming project.
Sanni eventually bought a farm. He now produces mushrooms and natural fruit juice, with an output rate of 800 crates per week. He has trained sixty-five youth in producing fruit juice from papaya, orange, mango, banana, pineapple, pineapple-ginger cocktail, fruit cocktail, and prekese juice made from an indigenous tree species, with traditional medicinal properties, botanically known as Tetrapleura tetraptera.
Sanni is truly an example of good practice on youth access to land in Africa. He’s inspiring other young people to navigate the customary land tenure, and rise to control their farmland.