As the world’s population surges towards nine billion by midcentury, food production has failed to keep pace, creating rising food shortages and a global food crisis ahead, according to the United Nations. To avoid mass starvation, the world needs to produce 70% more food by 2050.
The greatest potential to deliver that growth exists in Africa. The African continent is home to 25% of the world’s agricultural land. Yet it produces just 10% of the world’s food. That compares with China, which has just 10% of the world’s agricultural land, but produces 20% of the global food supply.
If Africa can now rise to the challenge of upgrading its agricultural output, it will open the way to a takeoff in GDP, greater youth employment, and the potential of positive trade balances and rising currencies.
Yet, the continent faces two profound issues in delivering its own agricultural turnaround, with its agricultural industry both rural and fragmented and built upon smallholder farmers. It is the continent’s rural areas that have been most deprived of resources and investment: with the straight-line consequence that the continent’s core industry continues to under-perform, and under-perform badly.
The allure of city living has left rural areas neglected and strained Africa’s urban infrastructure and services, including health, water and sanitation, creating rising social problems and competition for city space. Indeed, Africa is now the fastest urbanising continent in the world, with 60% of all Africans forecast to be living in cities by 2050, according to United Nations Habitat.
But urban areas are dependent on rural populations for food. Moreover, agriculture holds more power in creating youth employment than any other sector, at a time when 10 million youth are entering the labour market each year in Africa, according to the 2015 Africa Agriculture Status Report.
In late April this year, at the G20 Conference in Germany, panelists at the ONE World no hunger meeting powerfully demonstrated the importance of attracting youth to the agricultural sector.
Rural youth are the future of the sector, with the capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship. Yet their participation has been hindered by the perception that the sector is unattractive due to risks, costs, low-profitability and agriculture’s labour intensive nature.
Additionally, rural youth have limited access to educational programs that provide agricultural skills, often limited access to land, and a lack of financial services tailored to their needs, as well as poor infrastructure and utilities.
The outcome of the ONE World no hunger meeting was the Berlin Charter, which seeks to create opportunities for the younger generation and women in the rural world by mapping out a model for rural development to achieve food security, long-term jobs and improved livelihoods.
It calls on governments to put in place agricultural, nutrition and anti-poverty policies to “lift at least 600 million people out of hunger and undernutrition” and “cut youth underemployment at least by half” by 2025. The Charter with a core focus on smallholder farmers, was presented to the G20 leaders at their meeting in July in Hamburg.
Agriculture accounts for 32% of Africa’s GDP and employs more than 60% of the continent’s total labour force. But in order to realise its full potential, the political and economic environment needs to be conducive for smallholder farmers, who make up 70% of the sub-Saharan Africa population. With smallholder output hampered by insecurity of land tenure and unequal access to land, land policy formulation and reforms are critical in Africa to in order to boost agricultural production. Rwanda has provided a benchmark in this, with over 10 million land parcels now titled and owned individually.
Other problems smallholder farmers face include limited access to markets, finance, high-yielding seeds, farm inputs and mechanisation, which, invariably, lead to low levels of productivity. External shocks such as climate change have further hampered agricultural production.
African countries urgently need to support smallholder farmers in order to capture the continent’s $300 billion food market – projected to be worth $1 trillion by 2030. At present, only 5% of Africa’s imported cereals come from other African countries, with intra-African trade running consistently at around 15% of Africa’s total trade — which is amongst the lowest intra-regional trade levels in the world (UNECA). In fact, African governments have stepped-up efforts to transform agriculture over the last decade, delivering often exceptional results.
Ethiopia, for instance, has invested in extension workers, rural roads and modern market-building enabling cereal production to increase and increasing the number of calories its rural people consume by roughly 50%. As a result, Ethiopia is now reducing poverty at the rate of 4% a year (ONE.org, 2014).
Burkina Faso, a landlocked country, has also made remarkable progress in poverty reduction and food security with government investment in the sector averaging 17% of total expenditure for the past 10 years (ONE.org, 2014). Ghana’s agricultural transformation agenda has, likewise, remained a top priority for successive governments, spurring reforms and heavy investment.
Yet, as these early investments now move these particular economies up the growth ladder, other African governments have been slower to prioritise agriculture, despite the demonstrable financial gains and growing consequences in protest on food shortages.
As the G20 now reviews its strongest commitment yet to African agriculture and rural development, African governments and investors, likewise, need to heed the clarion call to action, and move agricultural reform and smallholders to the centre of the continent’s political and economic debate.
Complaint against unprofessional conduct of the DPC Kiryandongo district for aiding and abetting land grabbing in kiryandongo district.
Professional Standards Unit, Uganda Police-Kampala.
RE: COMPLAINT AGAINST UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT OF THE DPC KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT FOR AIDING AND ABETTING LAND GRABBING IN NYAMUTENDE KITWARA PARISH KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT AND CARRYING OUT ILLEGAL ARRESTS AND DETENTION OF INNOCENT RESIDENTS/ BIBANJA OWNERS FOR PROTESTING AGAINST THE ILLEGAL EVICTION FROM THEIR LAND.
We act for and behalf of the Lawful and bonafide occupants of Land described as LRV MAS 2 FOLIO 8 BLOCK 8 PLOT 22 (FORMERLY KNOWN AS RANCH 22).
Our Clients are residents of Nyamutende Village, Kitwara Parish in Kiryandongo District where they have lived for more than 30 years and sometime in 2017, they applied for a lease of the said Land to Kiryandongo District Land Board through the Directorate of Land Matters State House.
As they were still awaiting their Application to be processed, they were shocked to establish that the said land had been instead leased to and registered in the names of Isingoma Julius, Mwesige Simon, John Musokota William, Tumusiime Gerald, Wabwire Messener Gabriel, Ocema Richard and Wilson Shikhama, some of whom were not known to the Complainants. A copy of the Search is attached hereto
Our clients protested the above action and appealed to relevant offices, but were shocked to discover that the above persons had gone ahead and sold the same to a one Maseruka Robert.
Aggrieved by these actions, the Complainants appealed to the RDC who advised them to institute proceedings against the said persons, and assigned them a one Mbabazi Samuel to assist them to that effect. The said Mbabazi accordingly filed Civil Suit Noa 46 of 2019 against tne said registered proprietors at Masindi High Court challenging the illegal and fraudulent registration, sale and transfer of the subject land to Maseruka Robert.
While awaiting the progress of the case mentioned hereinabove, the Complainants were surprised to find that the said Mbabazi, instead of assisting them, he went into a consent settling the said suit on their behalf without their knowledge or consent. A copy of the Consent is attached hereto.
Among the terms of the said consent Judgment was that the residents would be compensated without specifying how much and would in return vacate the Land.
As if that was not enough, Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel are going ahead to execute the said Consent Judgment by forcefully evicting the occupants without compensation which has prompted the complainants to challenge the said Consent by applying for its review and setting aside at Masindi High Court which is coming up for hearing on the 29th March 2023. A copy of the Application is attached hereto.
Sensing the imminent threat of eviction, we also filed an application for interim stay of execution of the said consent to avoid rendering their application for review nugatory but unfortunately the same could not be heard on the date it was fixed for hearing (6th February 2023). A copy of the Application is attached hereto
On Thursday last week, three tractors being operated by 6 workers of a one Mbabazi Samuel [the very person who had been entrusted to represent our Clients to secure their Land through Civil Suit No.46 of 2019] encroached close to 50 acres of our Clients’ land and started ploughing it but our Client’s protested and chased them away.
We have however been shocked to receive information from our Clients that on Sunday at Mid night, 3 police patrols invaded the community in the night and arrested community members; Mulenje Jack, Steven Kagyenji, Mulekwa David, Ntambala Geoffrey, Tumukunde Isaac 15 years, Kanunu Innocent, Mukombozi Frank, Kuzara, Rwamunyankole Enock, and took them to Kiryandongo Police Station where they are currently detained.
We strongly protest the illegal arrests and detention of our Clients as this is a carefully orchestrated land grabbing scheme by Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel who are receiving support from the DPC Kiryandongo.
The purpose of this Letter therefore is to request your good office to investigate the misconduct, abuse of office and unprofessionalism of the said DPC Kiryandongo District and all his involvement in the land grabbing schemes on land formerly known as Ranch 22.
Looking forward to your urgent intervention,
C.C The Head Police Land Protection Unit Police Head Quarters Naguru
CC The RDC Kiryandongo District
CC The Chairman LCVKityadongo District
CC The Regional Police CommanderAlbertine Region
The Executive Director of Witness Radio Uganda talks about the role played by Witness Radio in protecting communities affected by large-scale agribusinesses in Kiryandongo district in an interview with the ILC.
Witness Radio Uganda wins the best CSO land rights defenders award at the National Land Forum Awards.
By Witness Radio Team
Uganda’s leading land and environmental rights watchdog, Witness Radio has been awarded the best CSO land rights defender award 2022 in the recently concluded National Land Forum Awards held last week at Mestil hotel in Kampala.
Witness Radio’s executive Director, Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala attributed the award to the community land and environmental rights defenders who stand up against the intimidation and different forms of harassment from land grabbers (economically powerful and politically connected companies and individual investors).
“This is an award for defenders at a community level. They work in very deadly environments filled with harassment, torture, death threats, arrest, trumped-up charges, and kidnaps among others to advocate for community land and environment rights. This is happening at a spate where criminalization and silencing of community land rights defenders are at increase.” Jeff added.
The award has come at a time when hundreds of Ugandans in different parts of the country are accessing services provided by the organization ranging from legal service provisions, non-judicial mechanism engagements, empowerment to help them understand their rights, and using the same knowledge to use the same skills to push back against illegal and forced evictions
The chairman of the organizing committee of the second National Land Forum, Mr. Jimmy Ochom noted some progress on legislation in Uganda’s land Governance. He cited growing inequalities on land where the poor are more vulnerable.
During awards, the state minister for housing, Hon persis Namuganza revealed that the government approved the plan for 2018-2040 that maps the land use in the country.
According to the minister, the government had identified land for settlement, game reserves, wildlife, arable land for farming, and water bodies among others in the plan which she said was passed a few weeks ago.
The event was organized by Oxfam and partners and provided a platform for discussions by the different actors in the land sector on issues around land governance, including land rights, land administration, and land governance for improved collaboration, cooperation between the actors, and improved land service delivery for Ugandans under a theme “Taking stock of the National Land Policy in addressing Land inequality in addressing Land inequality in Uganda.”
Other categories of awards that were won by different organizations and individuals including Mr. Eddie Nsamba-Gayiiya for his contribution to research on land rights, Justice Centers Uganda for Promoting Access to Land Justice, and Mr. Henry Harrison Irumba for Championing Legal Reforms among others.
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