By Kagasho Jonah
Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja has 4,000 handed over 4,000 land titles in an ongoing government program to secure the land rights of millions of Ugandans. The land titles were given out to the people of Kigezi region and the leader of government Business asked the residents to desist from land fragmentation if they were to develop themselves out of poverty.
The event attended by hundreds of people took place at Kakomo Playground in Kabaale District. it was attended by the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Hon. Judith Nabakooba.
Nabbanja said the government was working to bridge the poverty gap by securing the land rights of the citizenry. She added; “Stop land fragmentation. It is a dangerous land practice because it stifles maximum use of land and increased productivity.”
The premier urged the newly registered customary land owners to guard their titles jealously and not squander them in deals that might make them lose out on their land. “Having a title in your hands is a big achievement. Do not waste these titles. It is a means out of poverty. Do not mortgage your titles in banks to get money,” she cautioned the beneficiaries.
In her remarks, Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba said most of the 4,000 beneficiary families are smallholder farmers with customary land that is now demarcated and registered by the government at the sub-county level.
She explained that the biggest family land parcel registered so far is 11.32 acres for male-headed households while the average parcel size for most families is 0.402 acres.
“This shows that land is heavily fragmented. The ministry and partners are looking at options to reverse this dangerous scenario which may kill the productivity of land in Kigezi. The smaller the parcels, the less productive they become,” she said.
According to Nabakooba, Kigezi region embraced this government program of land registration and in Kabale, the sub-counties of Kamuganguzi, Rubaya, Buhara and Kitumba have documented their customary land and received CCOs.
In Kisoro, Nabakooba said t over 12,000 Certificates have been issued and they will soon be moving to other areas in the region. The minister explained that the NRM government under the current manifesto pledged to process and give land owners legal documentation in terms of land titles and that is the basis for processing 4,000 customary titles for families in Kabale.
She revealed that more customary titles are to be processed in other regions of the country, targeting the registration of 275,000 families, and indigenous and vulnerable communities within the next three years.
The program aims at registering customary land so that its users stop land conflicts caused by boundary disputes and concentrate on producing food for the nation and for export.
Mr Joost van Ettro the Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Development Cooperation at the Netherlands embassy, one of the implementers of the program thanked partners for supporting the implementation of the land registration exercise.
Emphasizing the importance of land security for farmers to realize development through meaningful agriculture, Joost noted that the titles given have components of a physical development plan.
“We see titling helps the community to put land to good use. Land tenure security is important. We started this pilot in 2017 with the ministry of Land. This project has been important but our contribution is limited compared to the enormous need around the country,” he said, calling upon the government to step in and have many more Ugandans secure land titles.
The event was attended by legislators David Bahati, of Ndorwa West Constituency, Prossy Mbabazi, the Woman MP Rubanda District, Lwengo Woman MP Cissy Namujju, and Catherine Ndamira of Kabaale District.