By Dipo Olowookere
Land in Africa has become the safest asset for those with spare funds to invest. With its growing population, Rwanda, like many other countries on the continent, has also been attracting progressively more property developers to construct thousands of houses, and thus address its urban housing challenges.
Under the land use consolidation-farming model, a policy implemented in 2008, the government of Rwanda has also been seeking to increase agricultural land and intensify its production. According to the government statistics, the agricultural land increased from 28,016 Ha in 2008 to 502,916 Ha in 2011.
Representatives of farmers and of civil society organisations, providers of small, low-interest loans and Rwanda government officials met this Tuesday in Kigali to discuss how to mainstream land governance in agricultural strategies and plans.
The meeting was organized by the Land Policy Initiative – an joint initiative of the UN Economic Commission (ECA), African Union Commission (AUC), and the African Development Bank (AfDB)- in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Rwanda.
The participants discussed the project to mainstream Land Policy and Governance into the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), a continent-wide project that seeks to strengthen inter-institutional collaboration on land reform programs, secure land rights, provide equal access to land, and promote responsible agriculture investments to advance agricultural and rural transformation.
According to LPI, Rwanda was chosen as one of six pilot countries to implement CAADP because it provides a great example of how land governance issues can be addressed. Other countries in the initiative are: Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Malawi and Tanzania.
“By conceptualizing an agriculture programme that has the securing of land rights and the consolidation of land use at its core, Rwanda has not only enhanced agricultural productivity but also harnessed economies of scale and improved market access and incomes,” said Andrew Mold, Acting Director of ECA in Eastern Africa.
The CAADP project is expected to raise awareness and build the capacity of African countries to better address land governance concerns and support agricultural investment plans.
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