Friday, 20 July 2007

Land Alliance contribution...

“…the draft land policy and the Lands Act of 1995 should be reviewed to protect the poor on customary land with consideration of the following:

In relation to the over ambitious aim to promote title deeds in rural areas, the policy should consider leasing of land under customary tenure system directly without first converting such land to the state land. Such lands must continue to be in the hands of traditional rulers without the local communities losing their customary rights to the leased land. Failure to do this could perpetuate whole selling of agricultural land by speculators to the rich minority, as has been the experience in the last seven (7) years under the 1995 Lands Act
Leasing of land that is under customary tenure system should be done at village/community level and not at national level. The answer does not lie in turning customary land into state land but rather in giving democratic local authorities/community leaders powers to lease land to individuals and institutions. The leased land will still be under customary tenure system and will remain under the control of a chief/chieftainess. Local communities should not lose their customary rights over such lands. Where it requires “big projects” such as mining, construction of bridges, etc., the Government in conjunction with local communities can offer special longer leases.”

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