His Royal Highness Chief Liteta of the Lenje speaking people issued out over 160 ‘land certificates’, otherwise known as ParcelCerts, as demonstration of his commitment to economically empower his subjects.
This article was written by Pamela Hamasaka
Speaking during the signing ceremony held in Chibombo District on Friday 24th November 2017, Chief Liteta explained that the ParcelCerts will not only assist in resolving land disputes that are prevalent in the area, but will help to attract private sector investment especially by agribusinesses to the region.
“I want my people to know the value of having their land documented so that they can benefit from the economic development taking place in other chiefdoms like Mbeza in Southern Province,” he said.
The ParcelCerts were processed by Medeem Zambia Limited, a company that works to make the land rights documentation process more affordable and accessible by everyone, including women and smallholder farmers occupying customary land.
In 2014, Musika provided Medeem with both logistical and technical assistance in scaling up its operations to the ”lower end’ of the market in chiefdoms located in Southern, Central and Lusaka Provinces.
The products and services offered to the market encompass a three-part process that includes: 1) sensitisation of the state or customary leaders, the leadership and local councils, and the landholders themselves; 2) one on one interviews of the landholders and their neighbours conducted in their villages or at their landholdings; 3) a high accuracy land survey performed to government standards and reviewed and signed by a licensed Zambian surveyor.
To date, Medeem has issued over 5000 ParcelCerts in the agriculture sector, and is rapidly gaining traction among chiefs interested in bringing the innovation to their areas. With Musika support, the company intends to further extend its primary operations by recruiting and building capacity of local agents to help increase ParcelCert sales across multiple chiefdoms.
The intervention provides the confidence among smallholder farmers to make longer term investments in the productivity of their pieces of land and mitigates the threat of land alienation, especially among women land users. This will increase the potential for maximising long term returns from agricultural land and ultimately increase the income and income security for smallholder farmers. The Medeem process also has the potential to move towards the provision of the documented land as collateral against finance and lead to increased financial access among smallholders.
As part of its overall strategy, Musika supports key initiatives that cut across agricultural markets to gain momentum and achieve scale so as to address major constraints to economic development affecting the growth of the agriculture sector.
This article was produced by Pamela Hamasaka, Corporate Affairs Manager at Musika.