APAC: President Museveni has re-echoed the danger associated with land fragmentation saying it’s part of the hindrances to the prosperity of communities in Uganda.
While handing over about 4006 customary land titles to families in Northern Uganda, West Nile, and Karamoja at Ibuje Primary School in Apac District.
The Ministry of Lands under the command of senior Minister Judith Nabakooba is implementing the critical activity to register customary land and issue Certificates of Customary ownership to the families.
This work is being implemented by the Government of Uganda with financial support from the European Union and United Nations Capital Development Fund while other implementing Partners include Cadasta Foundation and CEDP of the World Bank.
At the handover of the first titles on Thursday, September 15, President Museveni spoke against the culture of subdividing land among children especially when the owner dies, saying the practice cannot support commercial agriculture which is now the focus of Uganda’s economy as children will resort to selling off the land instead of collective investment.
“Now that you have got these titles, I want to point out to you one danger for Uganda as a whole. When the owner dies, there is a culture of subdividing the land; physical fragmentation of land is very dangerous for the development of the country. Because if the land is too small and you subdivide it among the children, in future they will have nowhere to cultivate,” the President said, citing areas of West Nile where the average land ownership in Maracha district is only two acres.
Minister Nabakooba thanked the political and technical leadership of Apac, Agago, and Maracha District Local Governments, for the continuous implementation of the very important activity that is aimed at ensuring customary land owners register their land and get legal documentation as proof of ownership.
She signed out the Apac Woman MP Hon Betty Engola for mobilizing the people in Apac to accept the Government program, “to the extent that she articulated to our people, the benefits of land registration which would stop ‘Mayo Lobo’ (Land grabbing) and ‘Laro lobo’ (Land disputes)”.
“Because of this achievement ‘Kuchi’ (Peace) has returned. I am informed that families and communities have began to engage in producing surplus food for sale, including growing Palm trees, Soya Beans, cotton and sunflower among others, knowing that no one will destroy their cash crops through acts of illegal land evictions and destruction of their investments on land,” she said.
Minister Nabakooba pointed out that the government under the current manifesto pledged to process and give land owners legal documentation in terms of land titles. “That is the basis for processing 4,006 customary titles for families in the Greater Northern Uganda. More customary titles are to be processed by Government, targeting the registration 275,000 families, 630 clans and indigenous and vulnerable communities within the next 2 years,” she said adding;-
“Our target shall be to reach out to land owners in 35 districts in the country. This is the best way to secure customary ownership rights and thereby prevent public outcry, including stopping the abuse, stealing or grabbing of customary land by unscrupulous individuals, speculators and land dealers”.
On Thursday, the Minister reported that the total number of beneficiaries from Apac district is 6,393 of which 3,943 (62%) are male and 2,450 (38%) are female.
The average acreage or land holding for families Apac district is 4.8 acres, in Maracha it is 2 acres; while in Agago it was 8 acres.
“The act of registering customary land has moved many of the beneficiaries from the subsistence economy to the market economy where they can now use their customary land titles to help them create wealth and break out of poverty,” the Minister said.
She said the mapping of parcels has used both traditional and scientific methods of demarcation.
“Even if the traditional boundary markers are uprooted or shifted, it is easy to re-trace ones boundaries because the boundary coordinates have also been provided for each title, using SMART technologies,” Minister Nabakooba said.
Apac now joins Kasese, Nwoya, Pader, Adjumani, Soroti, Katakwi, Butaleja, Kabale, Kisoro, Mbale, Dokolo and Amolatar districts in helping land owners to benefit from land registration using modern and scientific methods of securing their customary land rights and being able to prove their land ownership claims.