Agriculture is a key economic driver in Tajikistan that employs 75 percent of its labor force. Despite improvements in land legislation and reduced interference in farmer’s freedom to farm, the current system offers little tenure security and remnants of a collective agricultural system remain, leaving the land reform process and agricultural productivity geographically uneven.
The USAID Land Reform and Farm Restructuring Project (LRFRP) collaborates with the Government of Tajikistan (GoT), to introduce progressive land legislation and polices that support the development of a market in land-use rights and ensure property rights are more secure for farmers throughout the zone of influence. In addition to LRFRP’s focuses on policy and legal development, the project also works to expand awareness of land use rights among stakeholders, facilitates acquisition of land-use certificates, and builds government capacity to effectively monitor and implement the land reform process.
The 2012 land code amendments strengthen the security of land use rights and introduce the concept of alienation of land use rights (i.e., the right to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, donate, or transfer the rights to use specific land plots), providing the foundation for the development of a market in land-use rights. Future progress in land reform in Tajikistan depends upon dehkan farmers gaining the right of alienation. To support this and in cooperation with the inter-ministerial Working Group (WG) on Land Reform Management, LRFRP prepared two decrees that would automatically endow individuals and families with lifelong-inheritable use rights to their household plots and dehkan farmland with transaction rights, including mortgage.
Beyond these discreet activities, LRFRP supports the GoT in three key areas: (1) development of the land policy and legislative framework, (2) building capacity of government officials, farmers, civil society organizations (CSOs) and other rural stakeholders to capitalize on land reform, and, (3) raising awareness of the target population on land rights.
During LRFRP’s second year, the project achieved the following key results:
Land Policy and Legislative Framework Development
- Cooperated with the inter-ministerial working group (WG) on land reform management.
- Hosted and facilitated WG meetings on Land reform management to draft land legislation.
- Finalized the following regulations: (i) Draft Regulation on Establishing Public (Involuntary) Easements; (ii) Draft Rules on Transacting with Land Use Rights in the Land Use Rights Market; (iii) Draft Regulation on Use Rights to Lands Located within Coastal Lines and Public Territories and submitted them to the GoT for consideration and approval.
- Finalized and submitted the Law on Dehkan Farms, including recommendations on gender equality.
- Finalized and submitted a 15-year land strategy for Tajikistan.
- Finalized and submitted a five-year land policy program (implementation plan) for Tajikistan.
- Supported the State Unitary Enterprise on Registration of Immovable Property (SUERIP) to implement new rules on registration.
- Finalized and presented to the inner ministerial WG draft amendments to the Mortgage Law.
Capacity Development of Government Officials, farmers, CSOs, and other Stakeholders
- Printed and distributed more than over 18,000 brochures in Tajik, Russian and Uzbek languages.
- Conducted trainings for SUERIP representatives to introduce new rules on registering immovable property.
- Organized a study tour to Kyrgyz Republic for GoT officials to familiarize the participants with the Kyrgyz experience in registering immovable property, especially registration of land plots.
- Organized an internal study tour to the Sughd region for 22 SUERIP officials to exchange information and experiences.
- Developed a brochure on “Settlement of land disputes” for attorneys to familiarize themselves with the Supreme Economic Court standards and procedures.
- Developed textbook on “Basis of Land Law” in Russian and Tajik languages through grantee Public Organization (PO) Huquq va Rushdi Jomeai Dehot
- Conducted a series of trainings for press secretaries of the Ministry of Agriculture, State Land Committee and a newly created state Agency for Local Development, to better inform them of the land reform process and help use new communication tools and techniques to disseminate information
- Supported 12 legal aid centers throughout the 12 Feed the Future/Tajikistan (FTF/T) districts provide consultations, legal support services, and trainings for rural land users
- Launched activities and work of 67 tashabuskors located across each jamoat in the FTF/T districts
Raising Public Awareness about Land Rights
- Prepared newsletters (8), radio (14) and television programs (7), updated public informational corners with land reform information and disseminated quarterly CDs to raise awareness about land issues and land rights among LRFRP target populations.
- In cooperation with the NGO “Hukukshinoson” prepared 24 theatrical performance in 12 FTF/T districts to increase the project’s reach.
- Signed an agreement with the PO NANSMIT and conducted 6 trainings for journalists and conducted a contest among participants for the best Radio/TV, print and online media.
- Conducted 24 extracurricular classes in 24 schools in the FTF/T districts to increase awareness of 467 high school students, including 227 girls on land reform issues.
- Developed LAC website and facilitated training for 19 representatives from 12 LACs on how to use, maintain and update the website’s information.
Sustainable Public Information and Legal Assistance
- Supported LACs to introduce sustainability business plans and fee-based services.
- Facilitated a focus group discussion for women on their rights to land with the attendance of the U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan Susan Elliott.
- Organized an internal study tour to the Sughd region for 24 female dehkan farmers from the Khatlon region to familiarize themselves with farm
- restructuring process as well as on the creation of new dehkan farms.
- Organized a one-day workshop on “Women’s Rights to Land: Increasing Potential of Women Leaders in the Khatlon Region” to increase the potential of women leaders in Khatlon and empower them to exercise and protect their land rights.
- Supported farmers to protect their rights to land through LACs and tashabuskors.