This column is devoted to monitor and report on issues that relate to production, processing, preservation and marketing of agricultural produce, aimed at ensuring food security in the Gambia as well as the interventions of Government and Non-governmental Organizations in this regard.
Agriculture remains both a new and old source of national revenue and (youth) employment.
Improved public awareness and discussions of the issues involved, will significantly maximize agricultural outcomes and the contribution of the sector to economic growth and job creation.
This is precisely the reason why Farmers’ Eye is critically looking at every Agricultural programme or policy, to gauge whether our Agriculture and Natural resources are properly harnessed to ensure food self-sufficiency.
Section 192 of the Constitution states: “There shall be established a Land Commission whose composition, functions and powers, shall be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.”
This Act has already been passed and assented to and the commission established.
Farmers’ Eye column called on the Executive to make the Commission functional, to address the ongoing series of land disputes in the country.
In the last edition, we highlighted the issues on investments. In this edition, we shall continue with the issues on Land Consolidation and other readjustment approaches.
Where appropriate, considering their national context, States should consider providing restitution for the loss of legitimate tenure rights to land, fisheries and forests. States should ensure that all actions are consistent with their existing obligations under national and international law, and with due regard to voluntary commitments under applicable regional and international instruments.
Where possible, the original parcels or holdings should be returned to those who suffered the loss, or their heirs, by resolution of the competent national authorities. Where the original parcel or holding cannot be returned, States should provide prompt and just compensation in the form of money and/or alternative parcels or holdings, ensuring equitable treatment of all affected people.
Where appropriate, the concerns of indigenous peoples regarding restitution should be addressed in the national context and in accordance with national law and legislation.
States should develop gender-sensitive policies and laws that provide for clear, transparent processes for restitution. Information on restitution procedures should be widely disseminated in applicable languages. Claimants should be provided with adequate assistance, including through legal and paralegal aid, throughout the process.
States should ensure that restitution claims are promptly processed. Where necessary, successful claimants should be provided with support services so that they can enjoy their tenure rights and fulfil their duties. Progress of implementation should be widely publicized.
Redistributive reforms can facilitate broad and equitable access to land and inclusive rural development. In this regard, where appropriate under national contexts, States may consider allocation of public land, voluntary and market based mechanisms as well as expropriation of private land, fisheries or forests for a public purpose.
States may consider land ceilings as a policy option in the context of implementing redistributive reforms.
In the national context and in accordance with national law and legislation, redistributive reforms may be considered for social, economic and environmental reasons, among others, where a high degree of ownership concentration is combined with a significant level of rural poverty attributable to lack of access to land, fisheries and forests respecting, in line with the provisions of Section 15, the rights of all legitimate tenure holders.
Redistributive reforms should guarantee equal access of men and women to land, fisheries and forests.
Source: Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure. Courtesy of FAO and CFS.