Niger: Donors launch plan to curb clashes over land in Niger

Niamey, Niger (PANA) - A plan to curb clashes between pastoralists and crop farmers over land has been launched in Niger, targeting nine other African countries, as part of an effort to boost agriculture.

The launch of the European Union (EU) and the Swiss Development Corporation programme on land management in Africa, as part of the ongoing efforts by the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) to curb land-based clashes, marks a new approach in helping local communities to combat effects of climate change.

Head of EU Delegation to Niger Raul Mateus Paula said the Brussels-based body launched the programme for 10 countries to support the strengthening of land tenure administration.

“The ultimate goal of this project is to reach food security through land, fish and forestry management and to lift people suffering from food insecurity,” the EU diplomat said.

Nigerien pastoralists, left insecure by constant clashes with crop farmers, face the danger of losing their herds, posing a risk to food security and livelihoods due to their inability to access grazing land.

The EU and the Swiss-backed land policy initiative, part of an 33-million-Euro project, aims to create a system of governing the land use plans in Niger by organising local communities to resolve conflicts arising from disputes over land use and improving the community’s access to the resource.

“This project is very important to us,” Nigerien Environment Minister Ada Cheffou said during Tuesday’s launch of the project in Niamey. “It will help us to improve production in rural area. It is in line with our policy to elaborate proper land management within the LPI framework.”

Niger is receiving 3 million Euros to aid the project implementation. Land and agriculture policy experts said the project would enable 15,000 villages to create land commissions to help in resolving land conflicts.

Angola, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan and Swaziland are earmarked to receive funds to implement various land policy initiatives.

“This programme is the result of a long-term collaboration between the LPI and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to tackle land governance and food security challenges,” said Joan Kagwanja, Head of LPI, a joint Economic Commission for Africa, AfDB and the AU.

Nigerien officials say part of the land governance project’s funding would be spent on mapping and collection of land information to determine exact land ownership, boundaries and corridors.

Experts say with Niger’s population growing at 3.9%, land use planning is required to avoid clashes, boost farm harvests and lessen the effects of climate change.
-0- PANA AO/SEG 25Feb2015

25 february 2015 08:58:30

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