"We are looking to lease lands and we are happy to work with people, at the moment we even have free land we can give to people through the prison service as they have vast amounts of land that are not being utilised and investors can partner with them," Pelpou said.
In Accra, Ghana's deputy Information Minister Ibrahim Murtala Muhammed said prisoners sentenced to hard labour often work on prison farms and the crops are used to feed inmates. However, he told Reuters that there was no active policy of offering prison land to investors as far as he was aware.
Would Socialist Banner be too suspicious in believing that it would be only a matter of time before the prison inmates were offered as an unpaid labour-force?
Ghana also offers tax-free arrangements for agricultural investments in the northern part of the country. In return, the farming projects would typically split their production, with part going to the domestic market for crops which are locally consumed and the investor exporting the rest.
Oxfam said ownership of 90 percent of land in sub-Saharan Africa was unregistered. People were therefore vulnerable to being driven off their land to make way for big projects, said Oxfam's land adviser Kate Geary.
"Poor people are often left homeless, landless and with no compensation to rebuild their lives, and any food that is grown is flown thousands of miles away," she told Reuters.