For the first time since Tanzania’s (or at that time, Tanganyika’s) independence in 1961, 359 people of Kinywang’anga Village in Iringa Rural District will receive a certificate of customary right of occupancy (CCRO) that gives them formal legal rights and secure tenure as the owners of their land since before colonialism. While Tanzania’s legal framework provides clear land tenure protections, the reality is that most villagers do not have a CCRO for their land, and the district government offices responsible for issuing CCROs often lack the capacity and resources to complete them. Furthermore, many villages have not yet completed the village land use management plans that are a prerequisite for CCRO issuance.
In September 2016, the Feed the Future Tanzania Land Tenure Assistance activity (LTA) in partnership with the Iringa District Department of Land and Natural Resources successfully completed fieldwork in the project’s first target village, Kinywang’anga. A total of 359 villagers registered land claims to 838 parcels. The average number of parcels per claimant was 2.5, but individuals claimed between one and 12 parcels. Women comprised 55 percent of claimants, and 21 percent of the claimants were young people (under 35 years). Secure tenure for women and youth provides empowerment and can catalyze agricultural investment and economic growth especially for vulnerable households.
The LTA team introduced themselves to the Kinywang’anga Village Council on July 19, 2016. The Village Council was very excited and motivated to participate and they quickly nominated the members of the Village Adjudication Committee. Together with LTA Field Manager Mustapha Issa, they selected 10 youth to be trained as para-surveyors which are individuals with the skills to utilize mobile platforms for land parcel boundary mapping, but who lack the formal training necessary to receive licensing as a professional surveyor. The Village Council organized a village assembly on July 22, during which the LTA team trained all participants in the Village Land Act No. 5, and the process that LTA and the District Land Office (DLO) would use to map and register all the claims in the village.
A five-day intensive training was given to the Village Council, Adjudication Committee, and parasurveyors using the Mobile Application to Secure Tenure (MAST), a mobile mapping technology that makes it easy and fast to create maps of parcel boundaries.
The para-surveyors, adjudicators, and hamlet leaders met with each one of the 359 claimants on their land during a one month period. Together they walked around the boundaries of each parcel, using an Android tablet and the MAST application to create a map of the parcel. The adjudicators recorded all the details about the claimants, including their choice of tenancy (e.g. single or joint tenancy).
The LTA team worked with the DLO to analyze the data and to create large public displays of all of the parcel maps and the claimant information. The maps and information were displayed at the Village Executive Office for the “objections and corrections” period. During this period, all claimants were responsible to verify that the parcel map and the claimant information were correct, and to request any changes.
Now that all the information and maps are ready, the DLO will prepare the CCROs to be delivered soon to the land owners in Kinywang’anga Village.
The Feed the Future Tanzania Land Tenure Assistance activity will support district and village authorities to complete village land use management plans and issue 50,000 CCROs in 41 villages in Iringa Rural and Mbeya Districts. LTA will collaborate with and build districts’ capacity to develop a comprehensive system for community-based, low-cost, large scale first registration/regularization of land tenure that will be replicable, scalable, and sustainable for future implementation by the Tanzanian Ministry of Lands (MLHSSD).
It is envisioned that such large scale issuance of CCROs in rural villages will reduce land tenure-related risks and lay the groundwork for sustainable agricultural investment for both smallholders and commercial investors, particularly in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), and in the value chains of focus for Feed the Future’s activities in Tanzania.