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A new programme has been launched to improve the regulation of land use in rural areas of Ethiopia. The Land Administration to Nurture Development (LAND) programme has been jointly established by the American development agency, USAID, and the Ministry of Agriculture.
They claim that – during previous projects (from 2005 to 2013) – farmers in selected pilot regions benefited from greater transparency and predictability regarding land use as a result of land mapping, issuing of land certificates and the development of land laws and systems for resolving land disputes.
“LAND will work at the national and regional levels of government to further deepen the legal and regulatory framework related to land tenure and property rights and to expand capacity building for land administration officials,” said Dennis Weller, Mission Director of USAID Ethiopia.
The new LAND initiative has been designed to build on progress achieved in previous projects and will focus on several regions: Amhara, Afar, Oromia, Tigray, Somali and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional state (SNNPR).
The programme will focus on three areas:
Improving legal and regulatory frameworks for rural land tenure and property rights and expanding educational programmes on land management
Strengthening land governance, including land use planning, leasing and dispute resolution and training for regional surveyors
Enhancing communal land management and usage rights, including water, for pastoral and agro-pastoral communities to improve links with markets, diversify assets and improve livelihoods
“Previous projects have made a significant contribution to improving rural land administration and governance by pioneering new and innovative approaches and building the capacity of the federal and regional rural administration institutions. They have addressed important issues of harmonizing land administration legislation, devising proper land registry archiving system, creating public awareness and providing information on rural land laws,” said Sileshi Getahun, State Minister of Agriculture.
The State minister also said that the pilot work of LAND in pastoral areas is expected to provide ways of protecting pastoral land rights and linking with value chains to improve the livelihood of pastoralists. He also urged the Somali and Afar regional states to select areas for the pilot project carefully to ensure the pilot programme’s success.
Another aim of LAND is to improve policies and practices for the conservation of natural resources and equitable access to land for women and rural youth.
Achievement of these goals will contribute to Ethiopia’s implementation of the UN Committee for World Food Security’s ‘Voluntary Guidelines for the Tenure of Land Fisheries and Forests’.
The LAND project is implemented by TetraTech-Associates in Rural Development, a US based organization with local partners including Haramaya and Bahir Dar Universities.  USAID has committed USD 11 million for the project that will last for five years.