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Land and productivity: The challenges and opportunities

of Ugandas land tenure systems

Presenter: Francis Mwesigye, PhD


Research Fellow, Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC)

10TH May, 2016

Introduction
Land is a critical factor of production and an essential pillar of national
development and poverty reduction
The way it is used, managed, controlled and transferred has far
reaching implications economic development
- About than 80% of the population are employed by agricultural sector
- 69% are into subsistence farming

- Agricultural sector contributes 24% to GDP, and 40% of export earnings

However,
- Productivity of most crops is still low
- There are low levels of intensification: less than 30% use fertilizers and improved seed

Could land tenure arrangements be contributing to this??


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Fertilizer application and agricultural productivity

Kilograms per hectare of arable land

90000

Trends in Productivity of the major crops in


Uganda)

80000
70000

Yield (MT/ha)

60000
50000
40000
30000
20000
10000
0

Years
Rice

Maize

Potatoes

50
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0

Ferilizer Use in East Africa (2002-2012)

Kenya
Beans

Bananas

Year

Rwanda

Tanzania

Uganda

Coffee

Evolution of Land tenure arrangements in Uganda


Prior to 1900, there were various clan specific, customary tenure
systems
These revolved around kings and chiefs

Land allocation was according to customary norms and practices


E.g, in Buganda land was controlled by chiefs who allocated usufruct rights to clan members
Land access was by descent clan membership, holding political position or both

One common feature of all customary holdings was that no


individual land ownership was recognized.

The signing of Buganda Agreement in 1900


First and fundamental land reform
19,600 sq miles was divided between the Kabaka and other
notables, and the Protectorate government.
Kabaka, members of the royal family, the regents, chiefs, and other officials received 958 square
miles
Top 1000 chiefs received 8 sq miles each, totaling to 8000 square miles
92 square miles were granted to three missionary societies
1500 sq miles for forest reserves and the 9000 sq miles of waste and uncultivated land was vested
in Her Majestys (Queen of England) government as Crown Land

Buganda agreement remained silent to old rights of occupation


particularly about land cultivators (tenants) whose usufructory rights
were not legally recognized
This spurred discontentment
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Bataka (tenants) upraising the introduction of


Busuru and Envujo

After WWI, cotton was introduced as a cash crop. economic value of


land increased. This altered relationship between landlords and
tenants
The original tithe (envujjo) tremendously increased to include cotton
harvest
At one time land lords demanded one bag out of three harvested bags of
cotton.

Discontement le to the formation of the Federation of Bataka in


1921
Enactment of the Busuulu and Envujo Law in 1928.

Stipulations of Busuulu and Envujo Law


Statutory limitations were put on the dues payable to mailo-owners by
tenant-occupiers.
- Busuulu was fixed by law at 10 Uganda shillings per annum
- Envujo became a cash levy upon the growing of certain commercial crops (mailnly coffee and
cotton)

In return the tenant and his successors received statutory protection


of their rights of occupancy
- This right was only revocable upon eviction and order granted by the court
- The landlord would compensate the tenant in case land was sold
- The tenants could only bequeath and not sell their land

Land tenure arrangements in other regions


Freehold was established in western part of the country as a system of
owning land in perpetuity
- set up in the agreement between kingdoms and British government
- Most of this land was issued to church missionaries and academic institutions

customary tenure remained largely in Eastern and Northern Uganda


By 1962, There were 4 tenure regimes:
- Customary, Freehold, Mailo land, and Crown land

Post Independence Land Tenure systems


The government enacted the 1975 Land reform decree
All land be vested in the state in trust for the people
Land to be administered by Uganda land Commission
Other land tenure systems including mailo were abolished and previous legislations that
protected kibanja tenants were repealed.
Individuals occupying land, whether under customary or mailo tenure, could obtain long-term
leases

However, pre-1975 land arrangements remained largely recognized


save for two major changes;
- crown land permanently became public land
- the tenants stopped paying busuulu and Envujo

The 1995 Constitution


It altered the stipulations of 1975 land decree
- the tittle to land was vested in the citizens of Uganda
- Pre-1975 decree tenure systems were established
- New tenure systems were: Customary, Mailo, Freehold and Leasehold
Uganda Land Commission was mandated to manage the ownership and
allocation of public land
District Land Board, in liaison with area land committees facilitates the
registration and transfer of interest and handling of other land-related
issues within a district
In the case of land disputes mainly relating to registered land, land
tribunals are mandated to determine the source of dispute and the
compensation required
Women rights over land were strengthened

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1998 Land Act


The Acts objective was to develop an institutional framework for the
control of land under a decentralized system of governance
Land conflicts relating to customary land are handled in accordance with
area-specific customary land arrangements
Customary land owners can register and obtain certificates of occupancy
Customary land can be transferred to freehold
The rights of bonafide accupants (live on land for 12 years) were
strengthened
- Bonafide occupant was to pay annual ground rent of 1000 shs ($ 0.5)
The act empowers government to acquire any land for public interest

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Issues with land act 1998


Customary land was perceived to be communal yet it has evolved to
private ownership
It wasnt clear how the customary certificate of ownership was valued in
relation to the title deed
Most rural peasants are illiterate and cant comprehend the process of
turning land into private holding
The issue of lost counties was never addressed
The Act created overlapping land rights: Land lords had titles, bonafide
occupants were to get certificates of occupancy
The act is not clear on what public interest is to guarantee compulsory
acquisition of land by government

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Uganda Land Amendment Act, 2010


The objective was to enhance the security of occupancy of lawful
and bonafide occupants on registered land
Lawful/ Bonafide occupants to be evicted only for non-Payment of
ground rent
Any change in ownership involving a sale, grant or succession by
land lord will not affect the rights of the tenant

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Uganda National Land Policy, 2013


The policy sets out to:
(1) Clarify on the status of land tenure systems
(2) To enhance land tenure security
- The Objective was to aid transformation from a peasant society to a
modern, industrialized and urbanized society
Policy Gaps
Land is categorized into: private, public, and government land. This is
contradicting the land act and constitution
While the policy aims at enhancing equity in land use, it suggests
that only land that is privately owned can be formalized
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Gaps in land policy continued


Conflict resolution on customary land is placed in hands of customary
institutions
- However, due to across community migrations the customary institutions in some
communities are biased

The policy does not solve the problem of overlapping land rights on Mailo
land
- States that the land lord cannot evict a tenant without compensation but its not clear
how the compensation is determined

No provision for sensitizing the public about tenure systems over the land
they occupy
- Most leases expire without the knowledge of occupants

Policy suggests that a land fund will be set up to compensate land lords
but its not clear where money is to come from

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Land ownership challenges and how they affect


agriculture productivity
There is increasing land scarcity
Figure 2: Uganda's Population and population growth rate 1950-2010

0.6

35000

3.5

30000
25000

2.5
20000
2
15000

1.5

10000

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

5000

0.5

Year

2010

2007

2004

2001

1998

1995

1992

1989

1986

1983

1980

1977

1974

1971

1968

1965

1962

1959

1956

0
1953

0
1950

Growth rate

0.5

Ha/person

40000

Population ('000)

4.5

Population

1961

1966

1971

1976

1981

1986

1991

1996

2001

2006

2011

Growth rate
Linear (Growth
rate)

Uganda

Kenya

Tanzania

Burundi

Rwanda

Source:: Mwesigye and Matsumoto, 2013

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Customary tenure has evolved from communal to


individual ownership
Changes in land tenure systems over time

Year:

2003

2005

2013

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

Private ownership

0.40

0.49

0.46

0.50

0.56

0.50

Communal ownership

0.46

0.50

0.35

0.48

0.25

0.43

Mailo tenure

0.13

0.33

0.18

0.39

0.16

0.37

Leasehold/Public land

0.01

0.08

0.01

0.08

0.03

0.18

Number of parcels per household

2.53

2.06

3.09

2.47

3.77

2.66

Total number of parcels (Households)

2378 (940)

Proportion of parcels under:

2859 (936)

2820 (917)

Mwesigye and Matsumoto, 2014

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Land conflicts are increasing and these are affecting


productivity
Table 9 : Land conflicts and Yield
Independent Variables
Conflict dummy

Dependent Variable: Log of yield


(1)
-0.196*
(-1.904)

Conflict typea: Eviction =1

(2)

Distance to plot (minutes)

-0.00132*
(-1.843)

-0.368**
(-2.421)
-0.0764
(-0.571)
-0.155
(-0.712)
-0.00134*
(-1.876)

Constant

6.126***
(67.57)
Y
3,462
0.237
1,405

6.114***
(67.30)
Y
3,462
0.238
1,405

Boundary=1
Inheritance=1

Household*Season FE
Observations
R-squared
Number of groups
Source: Mwesigye and Matsumoto, 2016

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Conclusion
There is a need to:
enhance land tenure security to reduce land conflict
tackle the challenge of land fragmentation
sensitize the public about the tenure regimes over the land they
occupy
capitalize the land fund
Enhance formalization to promote use of land as collateral

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THANK YOU

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