Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Land access in Ethiopia, or how land less is landless?

In Ethiopia, all land is owned solely by the government, and land access is regulated. After a long period of land certification, there are now many households who have guaranteed access to farming land through a 100 year land use. In Atsbi (Tigray), it is 0.5 hectare per adult, both men and women, this means 1 ha for a family. Land certification can be inherited but not split. It is customary to give it to the youngest child, who will be able to farm the land in his name. For land that is not used, for example because a family is leaving the area, the certification is returned to the government and assigned to landless people who will receive the certificate.

Community manage grazing land

This also means that all the other children do not get land and are landless. Every kebelle, the smallest administrative unit of Ethiopia runs a waiting list of landless people. These people are waiting until land is made available. With an average family size of 6 people, assuming 2 parents and four children, there will be 3 landless children in the family. Given the amount of landless, mostly young people, the government needs to find alternative livelihood opportunities.
Children on a communal grazing land
Non farming land is governmental land and this encompasses forest, river shores, grazing land. The government is therefore trying to protect the area and at the same time offer livelihood opportunities to those who do not have land. Forest areas are protected but landless people can get the right keep bees there and sell the honey. Also some river shores and degraded land are rehabilitated through mass mobilizations, i.e. every farmer who has certified land need to work for free a certain amount of time per year. Land rehabilitated is sometimes given to landless people for agriculture. This land is not certified and is not considered as farming land and the landless person has no guarantee about keeping this land. We met a family who got 0.25 ha of irrigated land through this scheme. 

Return after a mobilization day
Non-governmental grazing land is community land. As free grazing gets more and more restricted, grazing land is protected with a guard that manage access. It can be managed by the community itself and in some cases the government.
Return after a mobilization day  
It was fascinating to learn more about land ownership in a country where land cannot be owned!

No comments:

Post a Comment