OPINION: More land rights mean fewer fires in Mozambique - By Arlinddo Macuva
Photo: O País
The second panel of the XV CASP event, which brought the government and the CTA together at the Joaquim Chissano Conference Centre in Maputo yesterday afternoon, included three speakers: Katia Santos Dias, National Director of GAIN – Global Alliance for Improved Nutrittion; Francisco Ferreira dos Santos, Administrator of João Ferreira dos Santos (JFS); and USAID Land Consultant Ian Rose.
First came Katia Santos Dias, who urged the creation of demand for and consumption of more nutritious food among the population. The National Director of GAIN concluded her remarks by observing that land use would make Mozambique a more productive country.
Francisco Ferreira dos Santos, of João Ferreira dos Santos (JFS), focused on agriculture, an activity that, he noted, was commercial and not philanthropic. From which point of view, he said, for agriculture to be strong there had to be the right policies, and that capitalisation was paramount.
The third speaker on the theme of land use was Ian Rose, USAID Land Consultant. Rose argued that the country should have better procedures for managing land and allocating it to the best user, so as to make it more productive. The market was sufficient in itself, instead of the government deciding who would use the land.
In a passionate debate, and with great contributions from the audience, Minister of Land Celso Correia, one of the more than one thousand people who following the debate at the Joaquim Chissano Conference Centre, disagreed Ian Rose, saying that it was no use creating conditions for land transferability if there is no supervision. Such oversight was important, the minister said, because it provided the state with a record of land occupation.
Correia also said in an eloquent statement that in the last ten years, one million hectares “had been ceded for productive purposes”. The minister understood that land must be treated differently, with concerns involving electricity, housing conditions and infrastructure.
Also, Correia said, in Mozambique, people fail to pay the land use fee.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Ragendra de Sousa also disagreed with Rose, even saying that the land consultant’s thesis contained a false assumption. For De Sousa, what had been on the table was the discussion about the land that the settler left.
A straightforward reform is needed
The second session also saw an intervention by lawyer José Caldeira, who argued that, without legislation limiting bureaucracy and corruption, the land use situation was complicated. Caldeira said that it was necessary to reformulate land legislation. If not, the investor would be afraid to invest in land. “We need a straightforward reform that allows DUAT to be made on the basis of a clean and transparent system, which is favourable to the state in terms of tax collection,” he said.
By José dos RemédiosSource: O País
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