A new program worth €33 million to improve land governance and help improve the food and nutrition security of family farmers and vulnerable communities in Sub Saharan Africa, was announced today by EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs. “This will be done, among other things, through the application, at country level, of some Voluntary Guidelines set up by the international community in 2012 to improve land governance,” the EU said in a statement.
Roughly 1.2 billion people worldwide live without permanent homes, land access or formal property rights, a reason which is often used for their land to be attributed to large scale land investors. Therefore, land governance issues are strongly linked to key challenges such as food scarcity, water shortages or urban and population growth.
Speaking ahead of the high level conference on land tenure, due to take place today at the European Parliament in the presence of President Blaise Comparoe of Burkina Faso, Commissioner Piebalgs said: “I am convinced that these land tenure guidelines, which recognize farmers’ ownership and access rights, are essential to achieve efficient, sustainable and inclusive agriculture, and to promoting human rights and peace in society. This new program will help farmers, and specially women, to make a living and feed their families, without fear of losing their property.”
Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloș, who will also attend today’s event, added: “Improving land tenure management is a key challenge to strengthen family farms, encourage investments in agriculture and increase food security. We need to support African countries concretely by sharing our experience in this field to make sure that guidelines and voluntary processes are translated into national legislation or into standard contracts for local governments.”