Land for livelihoods
On the 13th July 2020 host families from Senga village were the first to receive their replacement agricultural land (RAL) plots. Just more than a week later, allocation of RAL plots to physically displaced households from Quitunda village commenced and was completed by the end of July.
These events paved the way for the continued allocation of agricultural land to economically and physically displaced households. In total, more than 1500 households will receive a replacement agricultural plot, each of which will be issued with the official land title (DUAT) registered in the households’ name.
The allocation and receipt of agricultural land is a key commitment within the context of the overall resettlement program. The multi-step process spanned several years and required communities, the Project and the District Government – that holds primary responsibility for delivering replacement agricultural land – to work side by side to:
(i) identify land areas that:
(a) were reasonably close to households impacted by displacement;
(b) demonstrably suitable for cultivation and
(c) available for use as replacement agricultural land, and
(ii) allocate land to impacted households, and
(iii) subsequently issue land titles.
As described above, 68 landowners who were cultivating lands in the area ceded by the Senga community were compensated and subsequently, the first to receive their agricultural replacement plots.
Given that each household has a diversified livelihood strategy and household members may be involved in multiple, competing activities including agriculture, intertidal collection and fishing, business and Project employment, it was determined that households would be provided with a clearing allowance that enables them to choose when to start cultivating their lands.
In addition, each household receiving a replacement agricultural plot has the opportunity to participate in the Project’s agricultural livelihoods development programs implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in a partnership with Kyeema Foundation. Every household also receives agricultural inputs (seeds, etc.) and implements to use in cultivating their land.
During the first allocation events, none of the COVID-19 precautionary measures applied – neither social distancing nor the wearing of facemasks – dampened the enthusiasm of those about to receive their new machambas. An example of the eagerness observed is that more hopeful recipients arrived on a particular day than could be accommodated in the bus that the Project had arranged for transporting “would-be” landowners from Quitunda to the land.
Witnessing the situation unfold, an entrepreneurial resident from Quitunda, who also happened to be the owner of a bus, stepped in and offered his bus to transport the would-be landowners to where they needed to be for receiving their replacement agricultural plots.
New machamba owners continue commenting how good the quality of soil on their newly allocated land is (compared to lands close to their original village), and that they will be able to cultivate a variety of crops including new types (maize, millet, etc.) that they could not cultivate in the sandy soils of their former machambas.
Other owners expressed their eagerness for the beginning of the rainy season when they will commence planting, expecting a good harvest.