Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja has called upon the people of Kigezi region to desist from land fragmentation if they are to develop themselves out of poverty.
Nabbanja who was speaking at Kakomo Play ground in Kabaale District on December 10 while handing over certificates of customary ownership to 4,000 beneficiaries said land fragmentation is causing the biggest number of land wrangles in the country today.
She revealed that the government is working towards bridging the gap of poverty through such programs such as giving people security to tenure so that people can ably develop themselves.
“Stop land fragmentation. It is dangerous to your families. Do not demarcate or fragment this land amongst your children. Let them use it as a whole,” she said, adding that this will limit the rampant land wrangles.
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 your road out of poverty. Do not put your titles in the bank to get money, study such decisions carefully before taking them,” she cautioned.
In her remarks, lands minister Judith Nabakooba said most of the 4,000 beneficiary families are small holder farmers with customary land that is now demarcated and registered by government at the sub county level.
She explained that the biggest family land parcel registered so far is 11.32 acres for the male headed households and 5.72 acres 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, the minister revealed that 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 the 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 programme.
Emphasizing the importance of land security for farmers to exercise their development and 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 lands. 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 assist them.
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.