– New institutions proposed to oversee rural lands
– Caps land collateral period to ten years
A new draft proclamation introduces sweeping changes to rural land management, giving mandate to regional states to establish offices for its implementation. If passed, the “Rural Land Administration and Use Proclamation” would devolve authority over agricultural lands to regional administrations.
Under this proposed legislation, regional states will be mandated to establish dedicated offices to oversee the transformative implementation. Should the proclamation pass, the onus will be on regional governments to establish their own Rural Land Administration agencies.
This draft aims to replace an outdated legislation that has been in effect for the past 18 years. Currently, rural land issues are handled by regional agriculture bureaus. However, the proposed draft suggests the formation of separate institutions dedicated to rural land management.
The newly established Rural Land Administration agencies will be responsible for recording rural land holdings, ensuring tenure security, valuing land properties, preparing and implementing land use plans, resolving land disputes, and collecting, analyzing, and disseminating land information.
“Rural land is the backbone of the country depending on agriculture. Hence, regional states must establish institutions that have their own budget, manpower, and all necessary supports. The separate institutions will be empowered to introduce legislations required to govern rural land,” states the explanation document attached to the draft.
A national committee comprising experts from various public institutions has been diligently working on the draft for several years, with the Ministry of Agriculture leading the efforts.
Although the initial draft was presented to the Council of Ministers two years ago, it was subsequently returned to the Ministry of Agriculture due to the restructuring of federal institutions by the Prime Minister. The Ministry of Agriculture has since revised the previous draft, and the final version has now been prepared and presented to the House of Peoples Representatives (HPR).
The draft law introduces significant changes compared to the previous legislation. It is scheduled for discussion on November 9, 2023.
Under the current proclamation, three types of landholding are permitted: private, communal, and state holdings. The draft proposes regulations on how landholding rights can be acquired under specific scenarios.
For instance, if a couple marries and one partner does not own land, they will have the right to obtain a new landholding right. However, under the existing law, if one of the spouses already owns land, the other partner cannot claim a new landholding right.
The draft also provides guidelines on lease agreements, inheritance, donations, sharecropping, joint development, using land as collateral, mandatory consolidation of holdings, and mandatory clustering. If approved, land leases will be limited to 10 years for crops and 30 years for perennial crops. The draft also imposes a 10-year limit on using land as collateral for loans.
Privatization, partitioning, or redistribution of communal lands is prohibited by the new draft. However, it suggests conducting a study to allow such decisions for pastoral communities.