Research shows; land documentation vital for food security

There have been various initiatives to formalise land rights in Uganda by the Ugandan government and several other players. In collaboration with Meridia (or Landmap B.V.), Aidenvironment trainees Shakilah Karungi and Agaba Derrick, through the East African office, carried out desk research on the current state of affairs regarding land documentation in Uganda. A striking find was that only 46% of the smallholder farmers owned land titles.

The research looked at how land ownership has evolved in Uganda and to the various procedures that smallholder farmers go through when processing land documentation. The 1995 constitution of the Republic of Uganda bestows the ownership of land unto the citizens of Uganda under four systems of ownership; Free hold, customary, leasehold and Mailo land systems. Of the smallholder farmers 73% hold land under the customary system of ownership. Of these 67% do not possess a formal document confirming ownership of land rights. The research revealed that the current land tenure system is not secure. Since the financial institutions are not sure whether the smallholder farmers will be able to service their loans, due to an insecure land tenure, the farmers are not granted financial assistance.

However, there are various challenges that hinder smallholder farmers from acquiring formal land documents. These include; the high costs and the bureaucracy involved in the land registration process, a.i.

Given the fact that land plays a vital role in the livelihood of Ugandans, food security cannot be achieved unless all stakeholders; the public sector and civil society, focus on assisting farmers to move from subsistence to commercial farming. This can be reached if the smallholder farmers can achieve security of tenure at an affordable price and sustainable agricultural practices are put into play.

For more information, please contact James W Kisekka and/or Tumuhaire Raymond