More Than 500 Rural Tanzanians Now Have Land Titles

March 01, 2017

Land registrations for small family-run farms under the Village Land Act in Tanzania are paramount in securing and protecting local land rights. Since the act passed in 1999, the process of registration in the country has moved slowly, particularly in rural areas. This has largely been due to a general lack of operational capacity at district and village levels to bring the laws into effect.

A DAI team is now managing the Land Tenure Assistance (LTA) project as part of a Feed the Future, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded initiative to accelerate the registration process, support land use planning and increase local understanding of land use and land rights. It is envisioned that the interventions will reduce land tenure-related risks and lay the groundwork for sustainable agricultural investment for both owners of small family-run farms and commercial investors.

LTA is assisting specific villages to conduct participatory field mapping of land rights and deliver Certificate Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCROs) through the use of an open source mobile technology—the Mobile Application for Secure Tenure (MAST).

The certificates are important to villagers because they provide more secure tenure, giving them the incentive to develop their land more sustainably and increase food security.

Just last month the team held an official ceremony in which the first completed 502 CCROs were handed to the Village Council for issuance to villagers in Kinywang’anga Village, part of the Iringa region. The ceremony was attended by more than 350 local people in addition to officials from central and local government, representatives from the USAID Mission in Tanzania, members of the LTA team, and the District Land Office.

Guests included the Minister for Lands, Housing, and Human Settlements Development, The Hon. William Lukuvi and the Deputy Mission Director for USAID, David Thompson. Following presentation of the titles, Hon. Lukuvi and Thompson formally opened the building that has been refurbished and furnished as part of the program to house the Village Land Registry Office.

In his speech, Hon. Lukuvi described the project as “groundbreaking” in the development of participatory models for land use planning and registration of rights and recognized the challenge to scale up and complete more villages in Iringa District, with a view to applying models to the rest of the country. He also said he was very impressed with the large number of women, 55 percent, who received CCROs.

Work has already commenced in three new villages—Kiponzelo, Magunga, and Usengelendete—using the same procedures and processes. Villagers will be receiving certificates later this year.

The four-year LTA project will transform the way land rights are delivered and managed in Tanzania, with the potential for large-scale adaptation and use in other developing countries. LTR aims to benefit more than 14,000 villagers in 41 villages, registering an estimated 50,000 plots.

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