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Land Grabbing; silent pain for
smallholder farmers in Uganda
By Joshua Zake, Senior Program Officer Environment and
Natural Resources and Coordinator of the Uganda Forestry
Working Group at Environmental Alert
P.O. Box 11259 Kampala, Uganda, Tel: 0412510215;
Mob: +256712862050; Email: joszake@gmail.com ;
Website: http://www.envalert.org
Presented at the expert meeting on large scale land acquisitions of
farmland in Uganda , 13th April 2011
Organised by Wageningen University , Netherlands and Mbarara
University, Uganda
Land grabbing defined
• According to FIAN (2010), Land grabbing is
possession and/or control of a scale of land for
commercial/industrial agricultural production which
is disproportionate in size compared to the average
land holding in the region.
• This could be through lawful/unlawful means but in
either case impacts on the political economy, local
and national populations’ right to resources for the
present and future.
Key characters of Land Grabbing in
Uganda
• Associated with claiming/taking what does is not
yours under unclear /unfair terms;
• Sometimes involves payments which do not directly
benefit ‘original /sitting owners’;
• Commonly original/sitting owners are not involved
in the land transactions, they only realize that their
land is gone or is going upon being evicted
forcefully;
Key characters of Land Grabbing in
Uganda
• Usually involves one or a few wealthy /powerful
individuals/institutions i.e. the land grabber/s against
many vulnerable individuals/communities;
• Often driven by investment opportunities by large
scale agricultural based foreign/local farms;
• Lack of/weak implementation of land policy
provisions to guide investments on land.
Possible causes of land grabbing in
Uganda
• Land shortage/population increase/high demand
for food, fiber and fuel;
• Economic development through large scale
agricultural investments;
• Insurgency/insecurity/civil unrest where
communities had to leave their land to stay in
camps or exile for a long period of time (15 and
more years) to secure their lives – especially in
the Central and Northern Uganda regions;
Possible causes of land grabbing in
Uganda
• Under utilization of land by the sitting owners makes the
potential land grabbers to think that the land belongs to
nobody;
• Suspected presence of oil and other mineral resources
beneath the land – e.g. in Amuru and Bulisa districts
http://allafrica.com/stories/200906231244.html;
• Weakness in social, cultural and community institutions;
Possible causes of land grabbing in
Uganda
• Weaknesses within existing land tenure regimes
especially Mailo and customary – for which there is
multiple layered land rights.
• Greed – individuals and institutions abusing land they hold
in trust, thus they sell it for their own selfish interests;
• Hence overlapping rights in a single plot or region and
the non-mutual relationship between the land lords
and tenants – for the case of the Mailo land tenure
where landlords are not getting fair benefits from their
land due to low annual ground rent from tenants!
What gaps make communities even more
vulnerable to land grabbing?
• Limited awareness and knowledge about existing
land policy/legislation at different levels;
• Inability to access and or afford legal services;
• Ineffective land administration structures – because
they are not adequately facilitated to perform their
services;
• Weaknesses of social, cultural and community
institutions.
What are the implications of land
grabbing on community livelihoods?
• Food insecurity, poor health and nutrition, abject
poverty death;
• Complete loss of livelihood i.e. from land owners
smallholder farmers become destitute, baggers on
the urban streets in their country;
• Losing the sense of belonging and originality – take a
case where burial grounds and cultural sites are
destroyed;
What are the implications of land
grabbing on community livelihoods?
• Complete loss of land resources products (firewood,
timber, honey, medicinal herbs…) and ecosystems
services (micro climate regulation, soil fertility
maintenance & control of run off /soil erosion) –
take a case where its forested land or wetland;
• Loss of grazing land for livestock;
• Escalation of poverty level across generations – i.e.
for present and future generations.
Key Issues for reflection
• Is it land grabbing or illegal evictions or both?
• Who is grabbing the land and where?
• Who benefits from land grabbing?
• Who is most affected by land grabbing? – consider
a gender analyses
• In which areas/regions is land grabbing most
common?
• Land investments should not be promoted at the
expense of land rights of original land owners and
sitting communities.
Key Issues for reflection
• Is there opportunity for investments in land (both
local and foreign) to consider sitting or original
land owners as key stakeholders and partners in
investment?
• Effective implementation of guidelines on land
acquisition for large scale investments to ensure
equitable national benefits from land deals and
protection of land rights of smallholder farmers.
About Environmental Alert
Environmental Alert (EA) is a Ugandan Non -
Governmental Organisation (NGO) that was
started in 1988
EA is officially registered with the National NGO
board and is incorporated as a company limited by
guarantee Need to develop capacity for
application of participatory approaches in NRM
Introducing Environmental Alert 14
Our vision
“To see communities free from poverty and
hunger and sustainably managing their
natural resource base for improved
livelihoods. ‘’
Introducing Environmental Alert 15
Our aim
It is therefore our aim to achieve
environmentally sustainable development for
vulnerable poor rural and urban communities
through the promotion of sound management
policies and practises of agriculture, forestry
and wetland resources
P.O. Box 11259 Kampala, Uganda, Tel:
0412510215; Mob: +256712862050;
Email: jzake@envalert.org or
joszake@gmail.com ; Website:
http://www.envalert.org
Thank You

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Land Grabbing; silent pain for smallholder farmers in Uganda.

  • 1. Land Grabbing; silent pain for smallholder farmers in Uganda By Joshua Zake, Senior Program Officer Environment and Natural Resources and Coordinator of the Uganda Forestry Working Group at Environmental Alert P.O. Box 11259 Kampala, Uganda, Tel: 0412510215; Mob: +256712862050; Email: joszake@gmail.com ; Website: http://www.envalert.org Presented at the expert meeting on large scale land acquisitions of farmland in Uganda , 13th April 2011 Organised by Wageningen University , Netherlands and Mbarara University, Uganda
  • 2. Land grabbing defined • According to FIAN (2010), Land grabbing is possession and/or control of a scale of land for commercial/industrial agricultural production which is disproportionate in size compared to the average land holding in the region. • This could be through lawful/unlawful means but in either case impacts on the political economy, local and national populations’ right to resources for the present and future.
  • 3. Key characters of Land Grabbing in Uganda • Associated with claiming/taking what does is not yours under unclear /unfair terms; • Sometimes involves payments which do not directly benefit ‘original /sitting owners’; • Commonly original/sitting owners are not involved in the land transactions, they only realize that their land is gone or is going upon being evicted forcefully;
  • 4. Key characters of Land Grabbing in Uganda • Usually involves one or a few wealthy /powerful individuals/institutions i.e. the land grabber/s against many vulnerable individuals/communities; • Often driven by investment opportunities by large scale agricultural based foreign/local farms; • Lack of/weak implementation of land policy provisions to guide investments on land.
  • 5. Possible causes of land grabbing in Uganda • Land shortage/population increase/high demand for food, fiber and fuel; • Economic development through large scale agricultural investments; • Insurgency/insecurity/civil unrest where communities had to leave their land to stay in camps or exile for a long period of time (15 and more years) to secure their lives – especially in the Central and Northern Uganda regions;
  • 6. Possible causes of land grabbing in Uganda • Under utilization of land by the sitting owners makes the potential land grabbers to think that the land belongs to nobody; • Suspected presence of oil and other mineral resources beneath the land – e.g. in Amuru and Bulisa districts http://allafrica.com/stories/200906231244.html; • Weakness in social, cultural and community institutions;
  • 7. Possible causes of land grabbing in Uganda • Weaknesses within existing land tenure regimes especially Mailo and customary – for which there is multiple layered land rights. • Greed – individuals and institutions abusing land they hold in trust, thus they sell it for their own selfish interests; • Hence overlapping rights in a single plot or region and the non-mutual relationship between the land lords and tenants – for the case of the Mailo land tenure where landlords are not getting fair benefits from their land due to low annual ground rent from tenants!
  • 8. What gaps make communities even more vulnerable to land grabbing? • Limited awareness and knowledge about existing land policy/legislation at different levels; • Inability to access and or afford legal services; • Ineffective land administration structures – because they are not adequately facilitated to perform their services; • Weaknesses of social, cultural and community institutions.
  • 9. What are the implications of land grabbing on community livelihoods? • Food insecurity, poor health and nutrition, abject poverty death; • Complete loss of livelihood i.e. from land owners smallholder farmers become destitute, baggers on the urban streets in their country; • Losing the sense of belonging and originality – take a case where burial grounds and cultural sites are destroyed;
  • 10. What are the implications of land grabbing on community livelihoods? • Complete loss of land resources products (firewood, timber, honey, medicinal herbs…) and ecosystems services (micro climate regulation, soil fertility maintenance & control of run off /soil erosion) – take a case where its forested land or wetland; • Loss of grazing land for livestock; • Escalation of poverty level across generations – i.e. for present and future generations.
  • 11. Key Issues for reflection • Is it land grabbing or illegal evictions or both? • Who is grabbing the land and where? • Who benefits from land grabbing? • Who is most affected by land grabbing? – consider a gender analyses • In which areas/regions is land grabbing most common? • Land investments should not be promoted at the expense of land rights of original land owners and sitting communities.
  • 12. Key Issues for reflection • Is there opportunity for investments in land (both local and foreign) to consider sitting or original land owners as key stakeholders and partners in investment? • Effective implementation of guidelines on land acquisition for large scale investments to ensure equitable national benefits from land deals and protection of land rights of smallholder farmers.
  • 13. About Environmental Alert Environmental Alert (EA) is a Ugandan Non - Governmental Organisation (NGO) that was started in 1988 EA is officially registered with the National NGO board and is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee Need to develop capacity for application of participatory approaches in NRM
  • 14. Introducing Environmental Alert 14 Our vision “To see communities free from poverty and hunger and sustainably managing their natural resource base for improved livelihoods. ‘’
  • 15. Introducing Environmental Alert 15 Our aim It is therefore our aim to achieve environmentally sustainable development for vulnerable poor rural and urban communities through the promotion of sound management policies and practises of agriculture, forestry and wetland resources
  • 16. P.O. Box 11259 Kampala, Uganda, Tel: 0412510215; Mob: +256712862050; Email: jzake@envalert.org or joszake@gmail.com ; Website: http://www.envalert.org Thank You