Land, Power and Peace: Tenure systems and the formalization agenda in post-genocide Rwanda


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Presented at the CAPRi International Workshop on Collective Action, Property Rights, and Conflict in Natural Resources Management. June 28th to July 1st, 2010, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

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Land, Power and Peace: Tenure systems and the formalization agenda in post-genocide Rwanda

  1. 1. Land, Power and Peace: Tenure systems and the formalization agenda in post-genocide Rwanda Matthew F. Pritchard McGill University CAPRi International Workshop Siem Reap, Cambodia 29/06/2010
  2. 2. <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Research Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Results & Discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul>Outline I ntroduction Source: M Pritchard Natural Earth 2010
  3. 3. <ul><li>Most densely populated country in Africa </li></ul><ul><li>92% of population lives in rural sector </li></ul><ul><li>90% depend on subsistence agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing fragmentation, soil erosion & conflict over land </li></ul><ul><li>Agricultural intensification, lack of fallow periods & shift to marginal terrain </li></ul><ul><li>Dominance of informal tenure systems (pre & post-genocide ) </li></ul>Land Tenure & Agriculture in Rwanda Fields in Niyabihu sector, Bigogwe district, West province I ntroduction
  4. 4. 2005 Organic Land Law (OLL) <ul><li>First set of state land tenure laws since 1976 </li></ul><ul><li>Goal: to revolutionize rural Rwanda by replacing subsistence farmers with a highly commercialized and monetized agricultural sector </li></ul><ul><li>Method: </li></ul><ul><li>- Informal land tenure systems outlawed </li></ul><ul><li>- Mandatory land registration </li></ul><ul><li>(Article 30) </li></ul><ul><li>- Illegal to subdivide plots smaller than </li></ul><ul><li> 1ha (Article 20) </li></ul><ul><li>- Land not used in a ‘productive’ way </li></ul><ul><li> will be confiscated by the government </li></ul><ul><li>(Articles 62, 63 & 65) </li></ul>Land registration receipt I ntroduction
  5. 5. Research Questions <ul><li>How is the Organic Land Law adjusting to the complex </li></ul><ul><li>tenure systems that predominate rural Rwanda. </li></ul><ul><li>2. How is the Organic Land Law impacting rural subsistence </li></ul><ul><li>farmers? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Conceptual Framework <ul><li>Land and Development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The role of land in development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Land tenure & conflict </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Private property </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal land rights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evolutionary land rights </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2) Legal Pluralism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Juristic legal pluralism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Descriptive legal pluralism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Semi-autonomous social fields </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Law and Development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Law & Modernization theory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Law & the neo-liberal state </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A critical practice of law and development </li></ul></ul><ul><li>4) Agriculture and Development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agriculture & Modernization theory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agriculture-led growth model </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agriculture for pro-poor growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Livelihoods theory </li></ul></ul>Research Methods
  7. 7. <ul><li>5 field sites </li></ul><ul><li>3 qualitative research techniques </li></ul><ul><li>i) Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>- semi-structured interviews </li></ul><ul><li>- life & oral histories </li></ul><ul><li>- formal interviews </li></ul><ul><li> ii) Community Meetings </li></ul><ul><li> iii) Participant observation </li></ul><ul><li>3 participant groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li> i) Rural subsistence farmers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ii) Local & national land </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> administrators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> iii) Non-profit land consultants </li></ul></ul>Research Methods Research Methods Location of field sites
  8. 8. <ul><li>No formal (legislated) changes to the OLL </li></ul><ul><li>Significant informal changes to policy implementation </li></ul><ul><li>OLL abandoned as a main tool to transform rural Rwanda. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus remains on individualizing and registering all plots </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government has informally renounced initial size restrictions on buying, selling and dividing land </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Despite this change, the goal of consolidating land to realize economies of scale remains </li></ul><ul><li>Shift from OLL to National Agricultural Policy as a means to achieve these goals </li></ul><ul><li>Agriculture policy focused on mandatory Regional Crop Specialization </li></ul>Results
  9. 9. Regional Crop Specialization Programme (RCSP) Valley cleared and re-planted with maize (Rwaza Sector Musanze District)
  10. 10. Results & Discussion Tenure Insecurity <ul><li>Farmers unable or unwilling to follow planting directives are fined & threatened with eviction </li></ul><ul><li>2. Complete loss of control over private land. All decisions regarding land use & management made by government </li></ul><ul><li>3. RCSP undermines any potential incentives to invest in privately held land </li></ul>Land used to have a mixture of Peanuts, Sweet Potatoes and Sorghum. Now can only grow Cassava
  11. 11. Food Insecurity Results & Discussion Crops ripped up for terracing <ul><li>4 ways regional crop specialization </li></ul><ul><li>undermines household food security: </li></ul><ul><li>Crops destroyed in preparation for terraces required by OLL & RCSP </li></ul><ul><li>2. Government has failed to deliver the only seeds farmers are permitted to plant </li></ul><ul><li>Increased exposure to risk and decreased access to nutrients (little proof economies of scale are feasible in Rwanda) </li></ul><ul><li>4. Subsistence farmers purposefully ignored regarding selection of regional crops </li></ul>
  12. 12. Results & Discussion Regional Differences The methods of implementing the OLL & RCSP have divided rural Rwanda into distinct regions according to relative stage in the transformation process. <ul><li>In areas yet to be reached: </li></ul><ul><li>- Significant support for government </li></ul><ul><li>intervention </li></ul><ul><li>- Farmers positive about registration </li></ul><ul><li>and access to cheap fertilizers </li></ul><ul><li>In areas that have completed initial </li></ul><ul><li>registration & consolidation: </li></ul><ul><li>- Number of families left in search of </li></ul><ul><li>alternate land </li></ul><ul><li>- Increases in food theft and conflict </li></ul><ul><li>over holdings </li></ul><ul><li>- Significant anger amongst rural </li></ul><ul><li>households </li></ul><ul><li>- Precipitated some acts of resistance </li></ul>Unplanted terraces
  13. 13. Moving Forward Lessons Learned <ul><li>Increased penetration and sustainability through decreases in the speed and aggressive application of land policies </li></ul><ul><li>2. Unrealistic expectations on land administrators lead to uneven application of policies </li></ul><ul><li>3. Need to ensure that policies do not outpace supporting requirements (e.g. seed & fertilizer delivery) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Moving Forward Lessons Learned (Cont.) <ul><li>Provide households with specific information on how and when land laws will be applied </li></ul><ul><li>5. Incorporate subsistence farmers and landless peasants into the formation and application of policy </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge and incorporate the livelihood preferences and practices of subsistence farmers </li></ul>
  15. 15. Moving Forward Conclusion <ul><li>RCSP has replaced OLL as the primary means of realizing large-scale land tenure change </li></ul><ul><li>Government is reforming land tenure through restrictive agricultural policies </li></ul><ul><li>Despite the need for reform, the aggressive goals, scale and methods of implementing land reform pose a significant threat to rural livelihoods </li></ul><ul><li>Shift from the Organic Land Law to Regional Crop Specialization undermines tenure & food security throughout rural Rwanda </li></ul><ul><li>Forceful implementation and continued marginalization of vulnerable groups undermines stability & the government’s long-term development framework </li></ul>
  16. 16. Land Power and Peace: Land tenure systems and the formalization agenda in post-genocide Rwanda Matthew F. Pritchard CAPRi International Workshop McGill University 29/06/2010