Progress in Eastern and Southern Africa

Issue no. 3: March 2007

Message from the Director

We’re starting a new year full of exciting prospects for the division and IFAD as a whole. To follow up on the successful workshop we had in Malawi last November, we will focus on better design and impact of IFAD-funded projects. In response to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the One UN challenge to consolidate UN agencies and work together, we will strive to better integrate IFAD into United Nations country teams, establishing partnerships and developing links with the IFAD-funded projects in those countries.

This issue presents some of the experiences we have had with land and land tenure in Eastern and Southern Africa, not only from technical and economic perspectives, but viewed in terms of livelihoods and how better access to and ownership of land improves the lives of poor rural people.

Ides de Willebois

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Special feature on land tenure: securing land for the future

Special feature on land tenure: securing land for the futureLand is vital for farmers and the communities in which they live. Not only does it provide them with economic means to create their livelihood, but it is their most important social and cultural asset. A farmer without land has nothing. A farmer with land has a respected place in the community and society at large. However, owning land or having secure access to it are not always readily achieved. This is particularly true in many poor countries, where legal and cultural restrictions on land rights present a strong obstacle for rural people, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable among them. In many cases, women are not even entitled to land. As a result, many poor people remain without land of their own, or without secure access to land. In the absence of this critical resource, the ability for them to improve their situation is bleak.

“There is now a growing recognition that land tenure security is fundamental for economic growth and rural poverty reduction,” said Harold Liversage, Land Tenure Programme Manager at IFAD. “Rural poor and vulnerable people, including women, are the ones with the least access to land, yet they are the ones who need it the most to get out of their extreme poverty cycle,” he added. Growing populations, declining soil fertility and increasing environmental degradation, as well as the HIV/AIDS pandemic, have heightened demand and put new pressures on land resources.

Monica is a 34-year-old widow from Kuria, in the Nyanza province of Kenya. She was 28 and the mother of six children when her husband died. Because of family tradition and land customs, whereby land is passed on to future generations through the family or clan, she had to fight to keep a plot of land to grow food to feed her children.

“I had 1.5 acres when my husband was alive. After he died my brothers-in-law grabbed one acre and built a hut on the remaining half acre,” she said. “I went to the chief for help, who explained that he would need the elders to make a decision. My brother gave them 500 shillings as payment. The chief and elders walked around my boundaries and said my brothers-in-law should give me back the land. At first my brother-in-law agreed, but as soon as the chief and elders left, he told me to get off the land and if I were to come back I would lose my neck. If they make this kind of threat, they see it through.”

In Kenya and elsewhere, women’s right to own land is caught in a grey legal area, leaving them extremely insecure when they are on their own. In theory, both statutory and customary laws recognize the right of widows as dependents to continue using the land after the death of their husband. However, in an ever-growing number of cases, people no longer respect those rights, and the institutions responsible for enforcing them – chief and elders – are either unable or unwilling to do so.

Special feature on land tenure: securing land for the futureThe problem is particularly acute in areas such as Kuria, where tradition holds that when a woman marries into the clan of her husband, she remains an outsider. Therefore she is not allowed to inherit or own her husband’s land because, in the final instance, it belongs to the clan. HIV and AIDS exacerbate the issue as many women become widows when their children are still too young to inherit land from their father, as is customary practice.

In Africa, less than 10 per cent of land is registered under an official statutory system, but is mainly held according to customs and traditions. Customary systems vary between countries, ranging from individualized family tenure arrangements to systems with a mix of family and communal tenure rights.

Over the past three years, IFAD’s Southern and Eastern Africa Division has developed a set of guidelines to better address land tenure security in the projects and programmes it supports, and has seen an increase in the number of projects that deal explicitly with the issue.

“Until recently, land tenure issues were not always adequately taken into consideration in the formulation of projects, but the situation is changing, and it is now recognized that land tenure security is an important aspect of development,” explained Liversage.

For instance, a new project that started in Madagascar in October 2006, the Project to Support Development in the Menabe and Melaky Regions, is one of the largest and most innovative in the region dealing specifically with land tenure issues. Of the US$13.48 million allocated to the project, around US$3.75 million (27.8 per cent) will support the new Land Tenure National Programme as well as decentralization of land administration to the commune level (see News and Events section for details).

In Kenya, the division is helping women like Monica in the Nyanza Province to have their voice heard and gain more secure access to land under the Southern Nyanza Community Development Project, which started in 2004, and in which IFAD is investing US$15.6 million. The project aims to empower rural communities by strengthening local institutions and community-driven development activities. It has a particular emphasis on the empowerment of women and on HIV/AIDS-related issues.

In Tanzania, the Agricultural Development Support Programme – Livestock will support registration of village land rights. The first step will be a participatory land use planning and conflict resolution process that takes into account women’s and pastoralists’ land rights. IFAD is investing US$20.6 million in the programme, of which US$4.53 million (22 per cent) is being invested in improving land tenure security and management.

In Rwanda, Phase 2 of the Umutara Community Resource and Infrastructural Development Project will address land tenure security issues through support for land use planning, land conflict resolution and registration. The project is being carried out in an area that used to be a natural park and is now inhabited by people who were displaced by the 1994 genocide. More people are emigrating there from other overcrowded regions of Rwanda, putting further pressure on the land. IFAD’s investment amounts to US$12 million, with US$2.38 million (19.8 per cent) earmarked for land tenure issues.

In Swaziland, IFAD support for the US$162.8 million Phase 1 of the Lower Usuthu Smallholder Irrigation Project will focus on ensuring that the poorest and most vulnerable people in the project area gain equitable access to irrigated land.

In a number of cases, projects or programmes that did not explicitly address land tenure security issues in the initial design were adjusted when these issues became obstacles to implementation. For example, the Vegetable Oil Development Project in Uganda was originally created to increase domestic production of vegetable oil. However, at the outset there were serious land tenure problems, such as restricted access to land, or access to only fragmented land, making it more costly or difficult to run the project. Often the land had not been surveyed and was unsuitable for palm oil plantations. To address these obstacles, the project engaged surveyors to help land owners and tenants sort out family wrangles, and hired a lawyer to help them work through legal and administrative matters.
IFAD is also supporting the African Union Commission’s initiative to develop Africa-wide land policy guidelines through a US$200,000 grant (see News and Events section for details). By addressing land issues as a priority in development projects, IFAD, local governments and other international institutions can sow the seeds for a better future.

For further information, please contact:
Harold Liversage, Land Tenure Programme Manager

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Success stories from the field

ANGOLA: Rebuilding agriculture through farmers’ access to credit

After more than three decades of war, peace has opened the way for the country’s reconstruction. Angola is a potentially rich agricultural country. However, the war and lack of investment have severely limited the agricultural sector, to the point that Angola does not produce enough food to meet the needs of its rural population, and the shortfall must be covered by food imports.

IFAD has been working in Angola since 1991, supporting two initiatives during the war: the Northern Fishing Communities Development Programme and the Northern Region Foodcrops Development Project. It also has a portfolio of small, active research projects that are funded by grants. New loans are being prepared for these smaller projects.

A particularly successful small grant was the one given to the Cooperative League of the USA (CLUSA), also known as the National Cooperative Business Association, an NGO specialized in international cooperative development programmes and present in 18 countries, mainly in Africa. The purpose of the grant, which IFAD provided in 2004, was to support CLUSA in its efforts to link financial services to farmers’ associations in Angola, and to give small-scale farmers access to credit and loan services. In particular, support aimed to reach vegetable growers in the Kwanza Sul province, just south of the capital Luanda, where rural financial services were non-existent.
CLUSA managed the grant, giving small vegetable growers credit in kind, such as fertilizer sets, tubing for irrigation, seeds and tools, and received cash in return for payment. As a result, 711 producers (486 men and 225 women) were organized into 126 so-called solidarity groups or producers’ associations which received in-kind loans valued at around US$210,000 (US$32,224 in the first year and US$176,934 in the second year).

About 312 group leaders were trained to make credit applications and analyse reimbursement costs, and improve marketing of agricultural products. They were helped to open bank accounts, prepare loan applications and sign loans with the local bank.

One of the project’s prime achievements was to help women form cooperatives and access credit. “In the first year, only men applied for loans and credit. CLUSA indicated that an effort should be made to make sure women were also included,” explained Carla Ferreira, IFAD Country Programme Manager for Angola. “That was quickly taken on board, and by the end of year two the number of women who participated increased dramatically.” In fact, between 2004 and 2006, 116 women joined a solidarity group and a total of 225 associations, from an initial seven, were granted bank loans.

Access to land was one of the reasons why women didn’t initially apply for loans. “In many instances, the land is assumed to belong to the man. He belongs to a legally recognized group and holds an ID card, whereas women don’t,” explained Estêvão Rodrigues, CLUSA representative in Angola. “However, what also happened was that women came forward for the credit but later handed the money to their husband.”

CLUSA also conducted an educational campaign to improve the timely repayment of loans so that producers could have a clean credit history and access other types of loans such as cash loans. New women’s groups were formed to access cash loans for multiple purposes. The majority of farmers’ associations or solidarity groups repaid their loans before the eight-month due date. Only three out of the 126 associations completed payment one month late and another three defaulted,  which CLUSA field agents attributed to the cooperative leaders’ inadequate selection process. They also highlighted that a lack of representation of the local bank in the nearest town made it more difficult to evaluate credit applications and monitor reimbursement of loans.

CLUSA was also actively involved in collecting market prices, publishing them in its monthly bulletins and broadcasting them on the radio. It also trained cooperative members to manage and use working capital, and keep inventories of stock and accounts.

To consolidate the advances made so far, a legal framework is needed so that cooperatives can be legally recognized and registered. In a two-year follow-up project that started in January 2007 and which also includes the provinces of Bengo, Huíla and Benguela, CLUSA will work with Angola’s Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development to improve the legal framework for cooperatives and assist in implementing new laws and legalizing ten cooperatives in the four provinces. IFAD will provide a grant of US$100,000, which will cover almost half of the US$220,706 budget. USAID and the international oil company Chevron will cover the balance.

For further information, please contact:
Carla Ferreira, Country Programme Manager, Angola

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RWANDA: Microenterprise, an alternative culture

A new book published on rural microenterprise in Africa: 
La micro entreprise rurale en Afrique, le cas Rwandais"La micro entreprise rurale en Afrique, le cas Rwandais" by Jean-Luc Camilleri, published by L’Harmattan and available on the Internet

This book analyses how microenterprise in rural Africa has been a major driver of local economic development, and how rural poverty can be overcome through the spirit of enterprise and business initiatives at the micro level. The author examines sociological, economic, educational and financial opportunities and constraints, illustrating them with one success story, an IFAD-funded project in Rwanda (described below) that was created to support rural microenterprise, helping 5,000 micro companies to strengthen their activities. The project began its second phase in 2003.

The following article about the project was published on IFAD’s website and is based on a field visit:

Kigali – From the outside, it looks like a little house by the side of the road, like so many others, except for the sign painted over the entrance that reads Umubano Restaurant. A restaurant it is not, however, much less a house like any other. A little notice board indicates its real function: Bistrot Chez Bizarete, selling banana wine and passion fruit juice.

RWANDA: Microenterprise, an alternative cultureWe are in Rwanda, in the Remira commune, district of Bugarura, in the heart of Ruhengeri Volcano area. Vicentie Bizarete is a woman with an open gaze and confident gestures whose warm welcome contrasts with the spartan decor inside the house. In the main room, there is only a small shelf serving as a display case for bottles and a long table flanked by two benches. The walls are torn open where electric cables once passed through them. Now there is no electric power and the cables have been taken away for another use. In the only adjacent room, wine is fermenting in barrels lined up on the floor.

Despite its plainness, Chez Bizarete is one of the most popular locations in the district, especially on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, when office workers and artisans from across the way come to relax after a long week’s work. Policemen, soldiers, teachers and health workers all come to sip banana wine and pass the time of day.

Her secret: originality
Vicentie Bizarete is one of the thousands of Rwandan entrepreneurs who have chosen to diversify their activities and earn a better income by obtaining technical training and learning how to manage a business. She was already producing banana and sorghum beer, two popular drinks in Rwanda, when she heard about the Rural Small and Microenterprise Promotion Project.

Project officers analysed her needs and suggested a training course and study trips, and together they came up with a business plan. "The course taught me to make banana wine and passion fruit juice," she recalls.

"I also learned how to make papaya and strawberry jam, and now I sell them at my store. All my products have a label that I designed and had printed," she adds proudly, showing off the labels. "I learned that at the course, too."

Today, she is the only banana wine producer in her district and has captured the entire local market. She also exports to three other districts. With more than 60 per cent of her production sold outside the district, the local market accounts for less than 40 per cent of her earnings. Simply by applying the production techniques she learned in training, Bizarete was able to generate a profit, which she immediately reinvested in the business. Today she owns a banana grove, which supplies her with raw materials, and two cows, which supply the fertilizer.

As for electric power, she doesn’t worry about it. "When she needs to use the mixer, she comes to my place next door," says her neighbour, the only customer at this late hour of the morning. But without a refrigerator, diluted juice does not keep long, two months at most. "I want to take a course to learn how to make concentrated juice, which can be stored for about a year," she says. Next year, she plans to have a more visible sign made for her business, without the ’restaurant’ description. First of all, though, she needs to pay her daughter’s high school tuition fees.

Meeting demand
RWANDA: Microenterprise, an alternative cultureWhen it began in 1998, the Rural Small and Microenterprise Promotion Project was the first project working with rural small businesses and microenterprises. Financed by IFAD, it is managed by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Investment, Tourism and Cooperatives. Today, donors are increasingly focusing on the area of rural small businesses and microenterprise, which is a priority for the Rwandan government. Plots of land suitable for cultivation are so small, and so difficult to obtain, that promoting off-farm revenue has become a real necessity.

The success of the project, now in its second phase, can be largely attributed to its participatory approach. The entrepreneurs themselves decide which activities and occupations to finance. The possibilities are wide-ranging: shoemaker, weaver, dressmaker, cabinetmaker, artisan and baker are just some of the options. Then it is up to the associations and federations to make decisions, evaluating each application and making sure that the enterprises are sufficiently diversified. These associations, whose members are local entrepreneurs, also oversee microfinance institutions supported by the project and approve loans granted to entrepreneurs.

Learning by travelling
The project provides technical training and a course on managing a business. By organizing study trips and paying for travel to annual fairs, it helps the most dynamic entrepreneurs learn from their peers through experience, and make contacts for exporting their products.

Pierre Célestin Nsengiyaremye, who started out in 2000 with a single sewing machine and a stand at the bazaar, is among those who have used the project opportunities to full advantage. In just five years, his sales have increased 20 times.

"I opened two workshops and bought 20 new machines," he says, on a visit to the premises where his 12 employees are working busily. "The project sent me on study trips, and I made a lot of commercial contacts in provinces like Byumba and Umutara, where garment making is not well developed."

Nsengiyaremye, who started out with virtually nothing, is today the President of the Ruhengeri Artisans Federation. He offers training in garment making and takes in participants from the study trips made available under the project.

Taking over
Federations like the one in Ruhengeri are the project's natural successors. Two years from now, the project will be phasing out in the areas where it is now active and moving to new ones. Although many of the entrepreneurs are worried about the transition, Laurent Nsengiyumva, project coordinator for the provinces of Byumba and Ruhengeri, is confident: "Our role is to help them towards self-management, and above all to give them self-confidence." Even now, the project only intervenes in cases of need. Although worried about a projectless future, the entrepreneurs and institutions supported by the project are just one step away from being fully independent.

For further information, please contact:
Claus Reiner, Country Programme Manager

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KENYA: Bringing policymakers to the field

KENYA: Bringing policymakers to the fieldMuch of IFAD’s work in Eastern and Southern Africa is geared toward improving dialogue and sharing knowledge and best practices across countries and economic sectors. For example, the IFAD-funded Improved Management of Agricultural Water in Eastern & Southern Africa project, which focuses on improving agricultural water management, has been particularly active at promoting dialogue and knowledge sharing by organizing field visits for official representatives from participating countries.

In December, policymakers from the Kingdom of Lesotho visited  water management sites in the Meru Central and Isiolo districts of Eastern Kenya, where they also met local government and IFAD representatives. They visited smallholder farmers in the dry northern slopes of Mt. Kenya who specialize in irrigated horticulture for the export market. They also met with members of the Isiolo River Water Users Association and saw its initiatives to restore the ecosystem and manage water resources using local resources and technologies. “The team was able to appreciate community-driven wealth creation initiatives being implemented under the country’s water and agriculture sector reforms,” said Faith Livingstone, part of the IFAD delegation. These reforms are part of the Kenyan government’s initiative to revitalize agriculture and water resources management.

KENYA: Bringing policymakers to the fieldDuring the visit, representatives of the two countries agreed to strengthen collaboration in agriculture and water. This would start with transfer of locally manufactured equipment from Kenya to Lesotho. As a follow-up to the visit, preparations are underway for the policymakers to return to Kenya in 2007. “We are happy with the outcome of this exchange visit, and would like to see more of them happen,” said Bancy Mati, project manager.

The regional project, covering 23 countries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, was designed to influence policy and promote increased investments in agricultural water management. The Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa is implementing the project through its Soil and Water Management Network and in close partnership with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, the United Nations Office for Project Services and national public and private organizations in participating countries.

For further information, please contact:
Bancy M. Mati, Regional Facilitator

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News and events

IFAD’s Strategic Framework approved

IFAD's Strategic Framework 2007-2010 was approved by the Executive Board in December 2006. The Strategic Framework  defines how the organization will contributes to achieving the Millennium Development Goals from 2007 to 2010. It describes IFAD's goals and objectives, the results the organization strives to achieve, the principles that guide decisions and actions, the instruments used and the partnerships created to enable poor rural people to overcome poverty.

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IFAD supports Africa-wide land policy guidelines

In November 2006, IFAD approved a US$200,000 grant to support the African Union Commission’s initiative to develop land policy guidelines that could be applicable for the whole of Africa. The process is being implemented in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank.

 For further information, please contact:

Harold Liversage, Land Tenure Programme Manager

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New project to secure land tenure in Madagascar

New project to secure land tenure in MadagascarIn October 2006, Madagascar’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries approved the Projet d’appui au développement du Menabe et du Melaky, a US$21 million project to support investment in Western Madagascar. IFAD will co-finance the project with a US$13.1 million loan and US$365,000 grant.

A substantial part of the funding (over US$4 million) will go towards strengthening land tenure security, with about US$2.8 million earmarked for decentralization of land administration systems and US$1.2 million invested at the national level to support implementation of the land policy. Other components of the project are focusing on measures for improving agricultural productivity, access to markets and natural resource management. The project is currently IFAD’s largest investment in land tenure security in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Over the past three years, the Government of Madagascar has embarked on an ambitious national land tenure reform process in response to land tenure security issues. The process involves the development of a new land tenure policy and legal framework, while piloting innovative mechanisms to provide more efficient and decentralized land tenure security. This represents one of the most coordinated and integrated attempts at land reform currently underway in Eastern and Southern Africa.

The European Union is an implementing partner, providing support for development of road infrastructure in Menabe and Melaky. In the Menabe region, the land tenure security-related activities are being implemented in collaboration with the Millenium Challenge Corporation, which will help build and equip ten local land administration offices known as guichets fonciers. The corporation will also provide satellite images and aerial photography for land registration and natural resources planning and management. IFAD will support the government in its reform of land-use rights and seek to reduce poverty in the region through diversification of farming activities and intensification of production. A Swiss NGO, Inter-cooperation, will provide training support for local NGOs.

For further information, please contact:
Benoît Thierry, Country Programme Manager
Haingo Rakotondratsima, Liaison Officer in Madagascar

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Market access: continuing the knowledge exchange in Mozambique

A regional thematic workshop on enhancing market access for poverty reduction was held in Maputo, Mozambique on 17-20 October 2006.  The event was part of an ongoing process of promoting experience sharing and networking amongst practitioners. The workshop was a follow-up to the one on the same theme in July 2004 in Kenya. The main topics covered in the workshop were: strengthening producer groups for improved market access; the value chain approach and partnership with the private sector for linking small farmers to markets; and market information systems.

About 45 people attended the workshop. While the majority were representatives of IFAD-supported projects in Eastern and Southern Africa, representatives from the government, IFAD/UNOPS, farmers’ organizations, NGOs, development partners and the private sector were also present. The workshop was co-hosted by the Government of Mozambique and IFAD and sponsored by the Italian government. FAO’s Mozambique office provided logistical and administrative support.

For further information, please contact:
Fumiko Nakai, IFAD Programme Manager

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New appointments in the division


Alessandro Marini Alessandro Marini has been appointed Country Programme Manager for Mozambique and South Africa, effective 15 January 2007.
Claus Reiner Claus Reiner has taken on the Rwanda and Burundi portfolios as Country Programme Manager, effective 12 February 2007.
Shaun Ryan Shaun Ryan has joined the Division as Programme Assistant to the Tanzania and Swaziland portfolios, effective 1 March 2007.

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Grants and loans approved

Regional grant
Approval of the US$200,000 regional grant for Support to the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions for Capacity Building of National Farmers’ Organizations in Southern Africa – 22 December 2007

Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of Mozambique and the signatory partners for the provision of sector budget support to the implementation of the Agricultural Sector Public Expenditure Programme II – 12 February 2007

Signing of the loan agreement for the new Agricultural Support Programme – 20 December 2006