– Civil society partners to harmonize Land policy

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From: ZANIS News <news@zanis.com.zm>

Civil society partners to harmonize Land policy

Kabwe,  May 10th , 2013, ZANIS —-  Civil society organizations
have partnered to advocate for a comprehensive Land policy to
harmonize the customary and statutory land administrative systems
favorable to all especially women in Zambia.

Zambia Land Alliance ( ZLA ) and Farmers Organisation Support Program,
( FOSUP ) , are the organizations that have partnered in a project that seeks to address land tenure
security problems in Zambia.

ZLA  Executive Director Henry Machina said small scale farmers face several
challenges in land tenure security, particularly gender
discrimination, limited access to legal mechanisms, and unsupportive
land policies.

Mr. Machina said his organization in conjunction with FOSUP, supported
by a regional African Led organization called , Alliance for a Green
Revolution in Africa, AGRA,  are working to increase on secured land
acquisition procedures and risks involved in unsecured land rights,
particularly for women.

He said the partnership which mostly targets rural communities also
works to improve the capacity of customary land governance authority
in land management and land rights.

The ZLA Executive Director was speaking  in an interview with ZANIS in Chisamba yesterday,

And FOSUP Executive Director Michael Muleba land ownership was very
important for anyone to be called a farmer should identify their land,
and know the rights their children should have to live and work on
that land.

 Mr Muleba explained that access to land for the poor is often
inadequate and insecure because national laws do not adequately
protect many in the face of increasing demands for land from urban
elites and international investors, hence increasing their
vulnerability to displacement.

He said women lack individual rights such as, rights of use, access,
and ownership to their clan land within most customary systems, but
usually do not have the right to inherit their husband’s land on
death.

The three organisations will discuss with government to change some land policies with the aim to harmonize land issues for the benefit of everyone, adding that women Action groups
would be used as a channel through which land issues would be
resolved.

He said, communities will be supported to strengthen
and spice the message, and that the advocacy will also be done through
the media to enhance the message the organizations are putting across.

“With increasing inequity and uncertainty in access to land, poorer
members of society, the majority of whom are small scale farmers, are
increasingly deprived of resources they need to ensure food security,
meaningful incomes and secure cultural heritage, Mr. Muleba said.

And in a separate interview AGRA Land and Environment Officer Evelyn
Namubiru-Mwaura said her organization was sponsoring a lot of projects
in Zambia among them health, education component where it trains
students in Master and PHD programs, and the whole value chain of
agriculture products such as soil, seed and markets.

And addressing a group of small scale farmer clubs at Chipembi Farm
College where AGRA was monitoring ZLA and FOSUP managed land policy
advocacy programs, Dr Namubiru-Mwaura said her organization’s concern
was the issue of land.

She said without good policies, nothing good can come out; hence their
visit to Zambia around this time was to monitor activities carried out
by these organizations in charge of projects for improving
agricultural activities through a cooperative land policy.

She noted that,  Zambia did not have land issues per-se because there
was vast land with a low population , but urged the people to be
forward looking because as rich people and foreigners come in to buy
land in large scales, land was going to be less and scarce.

She appealed to the people in rural communities to fight for a
comprehensive land policy to ensure land access continuity and have
the security required that would make them know that an investor would
not just come and get land leaving them helpless.

Dr Namubira-Mwaura said AGRA believes that a comprehensive land
policy, will secure farmers, ‘they will invest in land and feel that
they really own it and therefore they will have higher productivity,
the reason why the three organizations have partnered in this program,
she explained.

The three organizations teach Zambians especially in rural areas the
importance of having a secured land through title or certificate by
community engagement where sensitization is done through drama
performances, radio programs, and other practical activities.

The organizations  commenced activities in August 2012 have their
presence in Central and Eastern provinces where they partner with
local authority and Agriculture offices to enhance land policy
advocacy programs for the vulnerable persons, especially women.

Responding to the message of the three organisations’ land issues
advocacy, Chief Chamuka of Lenje speaking people in central province
said he was against the idea of selling traditional land because once
land is sold it becomes state land and deprives the poor local people.

Chief Chamuka said he will be willing to partner with the
organizations that work to foster development in his chiefdom
especially after president Sata’s pronouncement of Chisamba as a
district.

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