Madal and USAID encourage productive use of land by community members

Speeches Shim

May 6, 2021

Innovation and Inclusion

Sifa Atumane Assane was overjoyed. After a couple of seasons of growing food on land belonging to the company Grupo Madal without the company’s permission, one of the oldest and largest landholders in northern Mozambique, she received the news that she never expected: the company was going to grant her a contract to use a portion of Madal’s land, thereby formalizing her situation and offering her the chance to be part of a network of coconut suppliers.

Thanks to support from USAID’s Integrated Land and Resource Governance activity, Grupo Madal gave Mrs. Assane permission to use a larger piece of land to grow crops that the company wants to buy, along with a contract guaranteeing that the company will provide her with seeds, extension services, and a purchasing contract. In addition, she received a bag of cowpea seeds and coconut saplings to plant and care for on her designated farmland. Under the program, she has the company’s permission to use half of the land to grow food crops for her family.

Sifa is one of nearly 2,000 people, the vast majority of whom are women, who are receiving contracts for producing coconuts and other crops on Grupo Madal’s land.  Called “ingrowers”, she and others are allowed to use clearly marked out (or ‘delimited’) plots of company land. This ingrower model is a key innovation of the ILRG activity that pushes Madal to the forefront of community first and farmer friendly engagement on local land use.  Madal also plans to register a further 3,000 farmers as ‘outgrowers’; these are farmers contracted to supply the firm with crops grown on the farmers’ land, in the 14 communities adjacent to the company’s four farms in Quelimane District.

Clarifying Land Rights

The process of contracting farmers as ingrowers and outgrowers starts by clarifying land rights.  In the communities adjacent to Madal’s farms, local leaders allocate land to families. While legally correct, these land rights were never documented. Also, there is no longer enough land to ensure that everyone can get land within the community. This led to many people to look beyond their community at Grupo Madal’s land.  While community members recognize that Madal hold the rights to the land that they use to farm, hundreds of people began to informally use small tracts of Madal’s land for growing crops, usually less than a quarter hectare. None of the community members have any documentation that provides them with clear tenure rights, neither in the community nor on the company’s plantations.

Through ILRG, USAID in partnership with Madal, the local NGO NANA and local communities, is helping to improve land tenure security both on company land and in the communities, while also providing opportunities for cash income through contract farming. ILRG supports Madal to mark out about 1,000 hectares of its land as ½ hectare plots allocated to farmers like Sifa. Mr. Alberto Alberto is NANA’s specialist leading the delimitation of Madal land for ingrowers and community land for outgrowers; this entails using satellite imagery and saving GPS coordinates to confirm boundaries of plots and of communities. Alberto notes that this activity means that “participants will be able to produce with security while using larger areas and have food that will carry them through the year. The opportunity for sale of crops to Madal means that women will be able to cover important costs at home.” He pointed out, “many of the women live alone with their children because their husbands are working far from home in other parts of the country. Many of the men in the area have left to find jobs far away and return only every 6 months or even just once a year with money. This project will enable women to buy clothes and pay for school for their children, and to maintain their homes.”

The USAID’s ILRG activity is also supporting the 14 communities that border Madal’s farms to mark out the boundaries of each community, and then to delimit the land parcels allocated to individuals and families. The documentation of land rights, either through a contract with Madal or through delimitation of rights to community land, provides the foundation for income generating farming schemes and rural development.

Peace of Mind

The ILRG and MADAL partnership is offering Sifa, and thousands of other women, the chance to feel secure about the land they are using. This security, together with the additional agriculture support offered through Grupo Madal, means that these women can grow food for their families while also producing and selling other crops.

Grupo Madal sees this activity as a major opportunity to establish clarity on land rights and strengthen trust with the community. By supporting local communities instead of evicting or ignoring them, Grupo Madal expects to see an increase in reliable production since community members will have clear access to farmland and income.

Issuing Country 
Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 8:45am

Last updated: May 25, 2021