The livelihood of about 1,700 vegetable farmers in the Tamale metropolis is being threatened by the sale of dam sites and other green zones earmarked for crop production for residential facilities.
Speaking at a day’s stakeholder’s forum Mr Zakaria Adul Rasheed, Executive Director of Urban Agricultural Network said about 80 per cent of land reserved for farming purposes had been sold out to estate developers.
The forum was organised by Northern Regional Cooperative Vegetable Farmers (NRCVF) with support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge fund.
Mr Rasheed said the situation had led to a decreased in the land size of farmers and crippled urban agriculture resulting in low incomes and nutritional deficiencies of many families.
“Studies have shown that vegetable growers could access up to about one acre or more on the average but currently, average land holding is about one fourth of an acre making it difficult for farmers to expand their farms,” he explained.
He stressed that unauthorised residential structures on low lying areas had led to haphazard buildings, sprawling of urban communities, poor sanitary conditions and floods.
Sharing findings of a research, which was conducted on the issue in Tamale by Centre for Sustainable Local Development, Mr Rasheed said respondents indicated that there was lack of political commitment towards halting the indiscriminate sale of lands.
Mr Iddrisu Mahud, Secretary of NRCVF called on the city authorities to halt the sale and protect the remaining agricultural lands.
He urged stakeholders to educate members on the new land use plan to enable them support the authorities to play effective watchdog role over unsold lands. GNA