29253, Malawi launches big land redistribution project - with world bank money|
Posted by naame, Thu Apr-14-05 10:29 AM
-the fact that this programme was launched with world bank money raises questions, what type of land is this?, are these 20,000 people of one particular tribe, etc. but i'm glad to see any land reclamation even if the white folk are getting paid off.
what is the next step in this process, education on land use? or influx of cash crops for the malawians to raise up and hock at the market?
Malawi launches big land redistribution project
Wed April 13, 2005 5:27 PM GMT+02:00
BLANTYRE (Reuters) - Malawi's government has begun buying up property in areas dominated by tea and tobacco estates to give to 20,000 landless families, officials said on Wednesday.
"Government is buying land from estates and other land owners, especially those who have excess land, on a willing buyer, willing seller basis to distribute to the needy families," Commissioner of Lands Francis Majankono told Reuters.
The huge land redistribution project, funded by the World Bank at an estimated cost of $28 million, has started in four districts in the southern region, which has huge tea and coffee estates run by British and Italian nationals.
Government official have suggested the programme will expand to other parts of the country later, but they have not said how much land they aim to redistribute in total.
Rights groups have applauded the new policy, saying it would resolve the problems of encroachment and avoid conflicts between estate owners and villagers.
"Land redistribution is welcome because it would give a chance to the landless to own land and avoid disputes with estate owners," said Rafik Hajat, director of the Institute for Policy Interaction.
The country's new land policy, approved by cabinet almost a year ago, stops non-Malawians and foreign companies from owning land, only allowing them to lease land from the government or private land-owners.
Malawi's policy gives foreign landowners a seven-year window in which they should decide whether to take Malawi nationality or keep the land under a leasehold arrangement with the government.
Land ownership is a sensitive issue throughout southern Africa, where decades of colonial and apartheid rule long kept the best land in white hands.
Land reform programmes have been undertaken in a number of countries, notably Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe's government embarked on a programme of seizing white-owned farms by force to give to landless blacks.
About 90 percent of the poor in Malawi are smallholders who have less than one hectare of land for cultivation, while large areas of the best agricultural land particularly in the south of the country are owned by tea companies operated from Britain.
Nowadays silence is looked on as odd and most of my race has forgotten the beauty of meaning much by saying little."
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