News: Revised land bill provides financial access to smallholder farmers through tenure certificates

On 14 May, 2024, legislators approved the amended Rural Land Management and Use Bill, which expands land use rights and permits farmers to use tenure certificates as collateral for loans (Photo: Social Media)

Addis Abeba – Lawmakers sanctioned the revised Rural Land Management and Use legislation on 14 May, 2024.

This revised bill broadens land utilization privileges and authorizes farmers to leverage tenure certificates as security for financial loans.

During the bill presentation, Solomon Lale, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Agriculture, articulated that the legislation endows explicit land utilization entitlements to women, youth, and underprivileged demographics that encountered difficulties in obtaining land tenure previously.

“The bill is designed to promote effective governance in the administration and management of rural lands,” Solomon told legislators.

The legislation sets forth a legal structure mandating regions with pastoralist communities to implement designated pastoralist land statutes. It includes provisions for the surveying and registration of rural lands to establish formal tenure and delineate boundaries.

One of the extensively deliberated clauses permits rural landowners to seek financial loans from lending institutions by leveraging their land tenure certificates as security. The stipulation specifies a maximum loan term of 10 years, after which the lender may assume control of land use rights in cases of unpaid debts.

Furthermore, this provision facilitates landless young individuals access to credit by utilizing their family’s land as collateral through formal agreements for entrepreneurial or income-generating endeavors.

Eyasu Elias, the State Minister of Agriculture, underscored that the absence of a cohesive land policy has played a role in environmental degradation, underscoring the need for legislation that harmonizes land rights with environmental conservation responsibilities.

Various stakeholders contributed their insights, with particular experts expressing reservations about averting the misuse or alienation of land through the collateral provision in the course of implementation.

Solomon Lale recognized the significance of the raised concerns.

He provided assurance that, notwithstanding the comprehensive framework established by the federal bill, individual regional states will devise their particular laws to oversee implementation, thereby addressing these concerns at the grassroots level. AS

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