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DR Congo takes steps to integrate land governance concerns in agriculture

Senior officials from the Government, Ministry of Land Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, and the national commission on land reform (CONAREF) along with the national alliance of traditional authorities have pledged to promote the integration of land governance in the national agricultural investment plan (PNIA).
In a final communique issued at the close of a workshop on “mainstreaming land governance in national agricultural investment plans”, the representatives of the government and traditional authorities, as well as the private sector and civil society organisations of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) committed to implementing a business plan validated by the participants.
The business plan along with a report identifying key land issues hindering agricultural transformation and entry points for their resolution by the Ministry of Land and CONAREF, were developed in the context of a joint project supported by the African Land Policy Centre (ALPC) with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Ms. Joan Kagwanja, the coordinator of ALPC lauded the support and commitment of the government along with other stakeholders in working together over the past year to develop a comprehensive plan that will see key land governance issues integrated in the second generation national agricultural investment plan (PNIA).
“These efforts are in line with the call to domesticate the 2014 Malabo declaration on agricultural transformation which identifies land tenure issues as constraints,” she noted. She further observed that DRC along with the other five countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania) implementing the 6-country pilot project, are leading the way for others in this regard.
The Secretary-General for Land Affairs, M. Leon Ntondu Lumuka Nantole expressed his appreciation for the support received by ALPC and IFAD, noting that Ministry of land affairs “stands ready to play its role in ensuring that the land related challenges are addressed to facilitate agricultural development.”  “It is the Ministry of land that facilitates access to land for all land users including agricultural investors, yet previously we have not comprehensively consulted the ministry of agriculture to ensure land is set aside and secured for agricultural purposes. This project has been an eye opener on how the two ministries can work together to promote development in DRC,” he observed.
He noted that the project to integrate land issues and governance in the development of the agricultural sector is timely and is likely to solve some complex issues that have not been resolved or addressed for decades.  “
We must also, within the framework of the land reform, subscribe to the harmonization of legal documents that govern us, with other sectors with a view to seek various bi- or multilateral financing,” he declared.
Mr. Ephraim Balemba Gubandja, Country programme officer, IFAD noted that alleviating land governance related constraints is central to achieving an inclusive agricultural transformation in DRC.
"In view of all the efforts that are being made, this issue must now be included in the national agricultural investment plan, and we, as institutional investors, should also change our ways to launch our approach and include interventions from various stakeholders in support of land and land governance."
He further noted that the land question in the DRC is a constraint in investment planning efforts. “This is an issue which we have no control of and which can negatively influence investments, he said, and added that IFAD supports the work of ALPC in this regard and will endeavor to integrate land governance issues in its support to the agricultural sector” He said.

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