LMDA Quarterly Report: November 2016 – March 2017

The Feed the Future Tajikistan Land Market Development Activity began on November 1, 2016, and is a three-year, nine-month project with an estimated completion date of August 1, 2020. The purpose of the Feed the Future Tajikistan Land Market Development Activity is to promote market based principles for land tenure and to establish a functional agricultural land market that allows for the transferability of land use rights (such as buying, selling, or leasing land use rights), and that ensures a simple and transparent land registration process, while promoting gender equality in rights and processes. The project focuses on land policy and legal development, private sector development, simplification of land registration procedures, and expansion of knowledge surrounding land use rights to rural governmental administrations and citizens, especially female landholders.

The project’s first two quarters focused on administrative and technical start-up, including recruiting staff, identifying and securing office space, developing the activity’s initial work plan, writing the AMEP, creating the grants manual, and planning initial technical activities. During the reporting period, the project quickly mobilized technical staff, including the chief of party and component leaders. By the end of March 2017, 27 staff members were on-boarded, including 24 local specialists and three Third Country Nationals (TCNs). Currently, three positions are open or under recruitment, including a Gender Specialist, Training Coordinator, and Financial Product Specialist. In December 2016, staff developed critical documents for project implementation, including the Year 1 Work Plan and Activity Monitoring and Evaluation Plan, approved on December 23, 2016; and the Grants Manual, approved on January 27, 2017. In January 2017, the project team finalized the selection of the main office in Dushanbe and the regional office in Qurghonteppa, and they equipped both offices with furniture and office equipment.

The project rapidly initiated technical activities, facilitated by project staff’s familiarity with the work of the USAID Land Reform and Farm Restructuring Project (LRFRP) and their current network of contacts with project stakeholders. This allowed staff to conduct critical meetings with project partners beginning in month two, including key stakeholders from the government, NGOs, parliamentary deputies, and business community representatives. As a result, the project signed Cooperation Agreements with 12 State Subsidiary Enterprises “Registration of Immovable Property” (SSERIP) in the Khatlon region, which define responsibilities for SSERIP and the project in establishing 10 registration offices based on the “single window” principle, including trainings on registration simplification procedures for SSERIP staff. In the reporting period, the project also conducted four roundtables and workshops with tashabbuskors and legal aid providers to analyze the current situation on provision of legal and informational services on land issues. Based on these analyses, LMDA developed the new Strategy for Legal Aid and Informational Support to Farmers, which stipulates that the tashabbuskors network will provide informational consultation to farmers; legal aid will be provided by active organizations called “legal consultation”; and training will be conducted by NGOs. All of these activities will be implemented through grant support.

By end of March 2017, LMDA had issued three grants to support SSERIP offices implementing singlewindow principles for land registration in Jomi, N. Khisrav and Shahritus districts. The project coordinated three trips by international short-term technical experts in land appraisal and registration. Results of the trips are described comprehensively in the body of this report.

On February 7, 2017, the project conducted the official launch ceremony for the Feed the Future Tajikistan Land Marked Development Activity. A total of 72 representatives from the GOTJ and US Embassy participated, including Ms. Elisabeth Millard, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic Tajikistan; Mr. Rajabboy Akhmadzoda, the Chairman of the State Land Committee; Mr. Rahmon Umariyon, the Director of the SUERIP; Mr. Akram Kakhorov, Deputy Director of the SUERIP; Mr. Rustam Latifzoda, Parliament Deputy; NGO representatives; farmers, and the media.