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 discussion 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.

In the last editions we indicated that 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 but the Commission is yet be functional. Farmers’ Eye Column called on the Executive to make this Commission functional, to address the series of land disputes in the country, highlighted as the major constraint of Agriculture which is land, because land is key to Agricultural production and Land disputes are on the increased particularly at this time of the year as the rain season is fast approaching.

In the last edition, we started dealing with policy, legal and organizational frameworks related to tenure. In this edition, we shall highlight the delivery of services.

DELIVERY OF SERVICES

To the extent that resources permit, States should ensure that implementing agencies and judicial authorities have the human, physical, financial and other forms of capacity to implement policies and laws in a timely, effective and gender-sensitive manner. Staff at all organizational levels should receive continuous training, and be recruited with due regard to ensuring gender and social equality.

States should ensure that the delivery of services related to tenure and its administration are consistent with their existing obligations under national and international law, and with due regard to voluntary commitments under applicable regional and international instruments.

States should provide prompt, accessible and non-discriminatory services to protect tenure rights, to promote and facilitate the enjoyment of those rights, and to resolve disputes. States should eliminate unnecessary legal and procedural requirements and strive to overcome barriers related to tenure rights. States should review services of implementing agencies and judicial authorities, and introduce improvements where required.

States should ensure that implementing agencies and judicial authorities serve the entire population, delivering services to all, including those in remote locations. Services should be provided promptly and efficiently using locally suitable technology to increase efficiency and accessibility. Internal guidelines should be established so that staff can implement policies and laws in a reliable and consistent manner. Procedures should be simplified without threatening tenure security or quality of justice. Explanatory materials should be widely publicized in applicable languages and inform users of their rights and responsibilities.

States should establish policies and laws to promote the sharing, as appropriate, of spatial and other information on tenure rights for the effective use by the State and implementing agencies, indigenous peoples and other communities, civil society, the private sector, academia and the general public. National standards should be developed for the shared use of information, taking into account regional and international standards.

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