UGANDA, Apac | Real Muloodi News | President Museveni presented 4006 customary land titles to households across Northern Uganda, mainly in the West Nile and Karamoja at Ibuje Primary School in the Apac District.
On Thursday, September 15, the State Minister of Lands, Judith Nabakooba, was also there to carry out the crucial task of registering customary land and distributing Certificates of Customary Ownership to households in Northern Uganda.
The Ugandan government is registering and granting land titles to legitimate property owners with financial assistance from the European Union and United Nations Capital Development Fund in collaboration with the Cadasta Foundation and CEDP of the World Bank.
At the occasion, President Museveni reiterated the risk posed by land fragmentation as one of the obstacles to the growth of Ugandan communities.
He said splitting property among children when the owner dies cannot support commercial agriculture, which is now the backbone of Uganda’s economy, since they will instead turn to selling the land individually rather than pooling their resources.
According to the President, the average land ownership in West Nile is barely two acres in the Maracha District.
He said, “Now that you have got these titles, I want to point out to you one danger for Uganda as a whole. When the owner dies, there is a culture of subdividing the land; physical fragmentation of land is very dangerous for the development of the country. Because if the land is too small and you subdivide it among the children, in future they will have nowhere to cultivate.”
The political and technical leadership of the Apac, Agago, and Maracha District Local Governments were praised by Minister Nabakooba for their continued support of the initiative to ensure that customary landowners register their land and get official documents as proof of ownership.
She specifically mentioned Hon. Betty Engola, an Apac Woman MP, for mobilising the locals to embrace the government initiative, “to the extent that she articulated to our people, the benefits of land registration which would stop ‘Mayo Lobo’ (Land grabbing) and ‘Laro lobo’ (Land disputes).”
“Because of this achievement ‘Kuchi’ (Peace) has returned. I am informed that families and communities have began to engage in producing surplus food for sale, including growing Palm trees, Soya Beans, cotton and sunflower among others, knowing that no one will destroy their cash crops through acts of illegal land evictions and destruction of their investments on land,” she said.
Minister Nabakooba stated that the government vowed in its current campaign to process and provide legal papers to landowners.
“That is the basis for processing 4,006 customary titles for families in the Greater Northern Uganda. More customary titles are to be processed by Government, targeting the registration of 275,000 families, 630 clans and indigenous and vulnerable communities within the next 2 years,” she said.
She added, “Our target shall be to reach out to land owners in 35 districts in the country. This is the best way to secure customary ownership rights and thereby prevent public outcry, including stopping the abuse, stealing or grabbing of customary land by unscrupulous individuals, speculators and land dealers.”
Apac district has a total of 6,393 beneficiaries, 3,943 (62%) of whom are men, and 2,450 (38%) of whom are women, according to the minister.
In the Apac District, families typically own 4.8 acres of land, compared to 2 acres in Maracha and 8 acres in Agago.
“The act of registering customary land has moved many of the beneficiaries from the subsistence economy to the market economy where they can now use their customary land titles to help them create wealth and break out of poverty,” the Minister said.
She said that both conventional and cutting-edge methods of delineation were utilised in the parcel mapping process.
“Even if the traditional boundary markers are uprooted or shifted, it is easy to re-trace ones boundaries because the boundary coordinates have also been provided for each title, using SMART technologies,” Minister Nabakooba said.
Apac now joins Kasese, Nwoya, Pader, Adjumani, Katakwi, Butaleja, Kabale, Kisoro, Dokolo, and Amolatar districts in assisting land owners to benefit from land registration in safeguarding their customary land rights and proving their land ownership claims using contemporary and scientific means.
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