Réforme et application de la politique d'aménagement du territoire au Mozambique - aide de la FAO: étude de cas
Le présent article a pour objet l'étude du rôle de soutien de la FAO vis-à-vis de la «Commission foncière» du Mozambique depuis 1995, dans le cadre de trois projets consécutifs. Bien que d'une durée relativement courte, chacun de ces projets a été planifié et mis en oeuvre au sein d'un cadre théorique unique ayant un objectif à beaucoup plus long terme, ce qui a permis de développer et d'étoffer progressivement la question, difficile et complexe, dans un délai réaliste, tout en assurant une participation nationale réelle au fil du processus.
Les auteurs constatent que le soutien de la FAO a été fondamental, car il a permis d'ouvrir le débat à des idées nouvelles, à une époque où les réflexions portant sur les questions foncières avaient grandement besoin d'un nouvel élan. Ce soutien a également permis de garantir la participation exhaustive de ministères nationaux d'autres domaines que l'agriculture, d'ONG nationales et internationales et d'universitaires à l'élaboration des législations et à leur exécution. Ces efforts conjugués se sont traduits par un cadre politique et législatif novateur et progressif appuyé par un vaste éventail de groupes présentant souvent des intérêts opposés en ce qui concerne l'accès aux terres et leur utilisation.
La reforma y la aplicación de la política agraria en Mozambique: estudio monográfico sobre el apoyo de la FAO
En este artículo se examina la función del apoyo de la FAO a la Comisión de Tierras del Gobierno de Mozambique desde 1995, a través de tres proyectos consecutivos. Aunque todos ellos han tenido una duración relativamente corta, se han planificado y ejecutado dentro de un marco conceptual único con una perspectiva cronológica mucho más amplia. Esto ha permitido resolver progresivamente una cuestión compleja en un plazo realista, a la vez que a lo largo del proceso se ha ido consolidando un fuerte sentimiento de propiedad nacional.
En el artículo se mantiene que el apoyo de la FAO ha desempeñado un papel decisivo para abrir el debate a nuevas ideas, en un momento en que la reflexión sobre cuestiones relacionadas con la tierra necesitaba un impulso radical. También contribuyó a la plena integración de los departamentos gubernamentales no agrícolas, las ONG nacionales e internacionales y los especialistas universitarios en los programas legislativos y de ejecución. El resultado de este esfuerzo combinado es una política innovadora y progresista así como un marco legislativo apoyado por una amplia gama de grupos que suelen tener intereses contrapuestos cuando se trata del acceso y del uso de la tierra.
Christopher Tanner Ph.D. is a land tenure systems specialist and FAO consultant.1
This paper discusses the role of FAO support to the Government of Mozambique's Land Commission since 1995, through three consecutive projects. While each has had a relatively short duration, all have been planned and implemented within a single conceptual framework with a much longer time horizon. This has allowed a difficult and complex issue to be progressively developed and nurtured within a realistic time scale, while building up a strong sense of national ownership of the process.
The paper argues that FAO support has played a pivotal role in opening up debate to new ideas, at a time when thinking about land issues needed a radical stimulus. It was also instrumental in bringing non-agricultural government departments, national and international non-governmental organizations and academic specialists fully into the legislative and implementation programmes. The result of this combined effort is an innovative and progressive policy and legislative framework supported by a wide range of groups that often have conflicting interests when it comes to land access and use.
By the 1960s, when the liberation struggle began in earnest, Mozambique was a patchwork of large foreign estates, smaller Portuguese commercial enterprises and many thousands of small farms adhering to African customary practices of land management and use. All of these enterprises were enmeshed in a single agrarian economy with one overriding aim - producing surplus for the colonial State and its allies. All were engaged in market production, as tiny surpluses were sold to intermediaries to provide for family needs, or large-volume cash crops were produced directly for urban and export markets.
More importantly, all were interdependent, with the plantations and larger commercial farms relying upon complex patterns of wage labour provided by the thousands of "family farms" in the weakest part of the economy.2 Yet the "weakest" members of this system in terms of capital and power were in fact extremely important. Not only did the thousands of small producers account for a very high proportion of national food needs and even export production, but they also supplied labour to the bigger enterprises and plantations. Moreover, because they supported a large part of their own household reproduction costs, the larger farms were able to keep wage costs to a low minimum.
The role of small farmers changed after Independence and the advent of the socialist agrarian model. All land resources were nationalized and the large estates and colonial properties became State farms, singularly responsible for meeting national development needs. Local farmers were still denied access to the lands from which they had been expelled by the Portuguese and had either to move to more marginal areas or stay on as workers for the new State enterprises. The many thousands who existed in more marginal areas were categorized as the "family sector", seen by policy-makers in Maputo as being purely interested in subsistence agriculture. The result was the substitution of the more complex integrated agrarian system of pre-Independence times with a classic dualist model, at least in the minds of policy-makers and urban elites.
With the official focus on State farms, family farms were denied access to modern inputs and technical assistance, and had little or no access to transport services as these were all State-run and served only the State farms. Indeed, in the decade after Independence most small family-run farms became increasingly subsistence-oriented, with production geared principally to meeting household food needs. This "involution" was basically a survival response to policy changes going on around them, exacerbated by the rigours of a civil war that was crippling the rural economy. Whether mainly due to policy or war, the subsistence character and absolute poverty of small farm agriculture was not a reflection of its inherent backwardness or lack of market awareness and skills. Yet this rural "reality" did reinforce the view of urban-based policy-makers that the "family sector" was mainly subsistence-oriented, and that "development" had to rely upon other, better endowed and more capable elements of society.
Empirical research since the mid-1980s, however, has again revealed the important contribution that the thousands of small farms have been making to national production and exports. With the collapse of the State farms and the progressive handing over of these estates not to their original Mozambican occupants but to private capital interests, the agrarian economy of Mozambique is again beginning to resemble physically the pre-Independence situation - thousands of small family farms on their own machambas (ostensibly producing only for household subsistence), large enterprises based on old colonial estates and State farms, and a growing "private sector" of larger, commercially focused farms operated by a newly emerging national middle class.
This de facto replication of the pre-Independence situation also echoes the underlying logic of surplus extraction, including cheap wage labour imperatives for the newly emergent private sector. Small farmers find it hard to escape this effective poverty trap. They are seriously under-capitalized after years of war and climatic catastrophes, and suffer labour shortages as both men and women look outside the farm for wage labour elsewhere. Moreover, because they do not formally own their land and cannot rent or lease it, they cannot use it either as collateral for bank credits or as a capital "stake" in dealings with outsiders who want access to underused resources.3
This is where the new land policy and law come in, providing small farmers for the first time with the possibility of using their land and other natural resources to generate new capital and income in collaboration with outside interests, as opposed to being in opposition to them. This is the fundamental point that is proving so difficult to get across at the present moment.
Meanwhile, in the absence of effective implementation backed up by appropriate support programmes, national development imperatives remain and must be addressed. For a State that is desperately short of capital and technical skills the solution is obvious and echoes older colonial and post-Independence policy responses: allocate the most productive resources to outsiders who do have the capital and technology to raise national production to new levels in as short a time as possible.
Another process has been evolving alongside this focus on external investment. With the shift to a market economy and the end of the civil war in 1992, land also suddenly acquired real value as a productive asset.4 The basic principle of State ownership has meant that access to land (or, more correctly, new land use rights) is managed through centrally directed State administrative structures. As market-based mechanisms and local land management capacity play no formal role, gaining access to land has become a very low-cost exercise in real terms, bearing in mind the real asset value of the resource and the de facto secure rights (renewable and inheritable long leases) that are attributed by the State to successful applicants.
Pressure and competition over land has therefore been steadily mounting since 1992, leading to the conflicts and problems that persuaded the Government of Mozambique to embark upon the 1995 policy and legislative reform process. Large areas have been allocated to private sector interests - national as well as foreign - to the detriment of local producers.
Overall, this situation leaves small farmers unable to use their major capital resource effectively, and exposes them to the serious risk of losing this resource in any case. The new policy and law were developed precisely to address these two aspects of a complex situation, and to promote a consensual process whereby private interests and local people would both benefit from the development of the countryside with outside capital and skills. Deeply rooted conservative thinking on how best to respond to evidently urgent national development needs now threatens to undermine this strategy, precisely at the moment when it is poised and ready for full-scale implementation.
Were the more conservative approach to gain the upper hand in this context, the potential for a rural-urban shift and entrenched absolute poverty in the cities could be catastrophic. Once again, however, it is important not to be conveniently cynical; it is clear that many senior politicians and technical managers genuinely believe in the ideas they are advocating. The alternative - presently represented by the effective implementation of the new Land Policy and Land Law - does indeed involve a leap of faith and a lot of hard work. To make it work, the policy-makers of today need to overcome convictions that are deeply rooted in the history of their country and:
FAO support to the Government of Mozambique Land Commission5 and its Technical Secretariat (TS) dates back to the early 1990s, when a group of national consultants was contracted to trace out the underlying issues and present guidelines for proceeding towards a reform agenda. This exercise was followed by three successive projects that began in January 1995: two FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) projects and a third, Netherlands-funded, Government Cooperation Programme (GCP) project that ended in December 2000. Broadly speaking, the TCP projects supported the Land Policy and Law development phase, while the third project focused more upon the need to prepare regulations and other legal instruments to implement the law in practice.
The support provided by these projects is highly regarded by the Government of Mozambique and international observers alike, and is a notable achievement for FAO in Mozambique. The "land question" is, by definition, highly political and very complex, and a great deal has been achieved by a small FAO team supporting an equally small but dedicated national counterpart team. Moreover, this success has been at relatively low cost - the total budget for the three projects was less than US$2 million, with around three-quarters of this covering the GCP project with its considerably higher equipment, materials and training costs as well as consultant inputs.
While the initial TCP project was planned as a one-year, short-term project to provide immediate technical assistance to one government sector (the Ministry of Agriculture, responsible at the time for the then "Ad Hoc" Land Commission), it was clear at the outset that: a) the land question would take far longer than one year to deal with; b) the resources provided by the first TCP were inadequate on their own for dealing with the overall question; and c) the issue required the involvement of a far wider range of both government departments and non-governmental groups.
Early in the process the FAO team traced out a potential ten-year horizon during which all the key steps could be realized: policy development; legislative reform; institutional strengthening and capacity building; implementation in practice; feedback and refinements. Work was initiated on this basis, but in the full knowledge that immediate resources were restricted to only the one year. Success in the first year - policy and a first draft of the law - secured approval for a follow-on TCP project, which in turn led to support from the Government of the Netherlands for a GCP project lasting three years, focusing on capacity building and start-up implementation of the policy-legislative package.
Along the way, the FAO team also saw its role as one of mobilizing additional resources around a common set of objectives and within a single programmatic framework within which each donor/agency played a specific and mutually reinforcing role. Early budget proposals for the Commission/TS programme were developed on this basis, and in the first two years it was possible to mobilize approximately an additional quarter of a million dollars - from the Ford Foundation, bilateral donors in Maputo, and the Norwegian Refugee Council - for specific aspects of the programme that TCP resources were unable to cover.
This strategy has continued to a greater or lesser extent since then, although in the last three years there has been far greater reliance on a single donor, the Netherlands, for most aspects of Land Policy and Land Law implementation. Nevertheless, donors with an established interest and history of past support have provided key support at critical moments (for example, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency [SIDA], the Lutheran World Federation, and the Danish International Development Agency [DANIDA]), while national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have provided field support resources at critical points in the training programmes on a joint-venture basis.
This approach is essential in the case of an issue as complex as land, and has helped to generate good debate and consensus over key issues along the way. It is also realistic - with an issue such as land, or indeed many other complex development activities - to adopt from the outset a far longer-term programme horizon than is usually the case. This allows a good base to be set, people to be trained, and complex activities to be planned and carried out in an appropriate time frame and without the sudden ruptures caused by the ending of short-term projects before things are really complete.
The other features of this series of projects are: a) the use of practically the same core team of consultants over the entire six-year period and b) the use of these resources in short-term visits but planned according to the overall longer-term programme. In this way, it has been possible to achieve several important objectives from the FAO point of view, namely, to:
From the national side, this process has also had clear benefits:
This approach is well suited to the kind of activity undertaken over the last six years, especially the earlier policy and legislative stages. However, it became apparent during the third, GCP, project, that, as implementation and other training activities took on a stronger role, the dependence upon short-term inputs did raise problems. With several complex sets of activities underway, it became evident that having at least one or two people in-country would have been useful. This issue is also linked to that of the longer-term institutional capacity, which now presents itself as a major challenge in the next phase of land programme activities.
The policy and legal frameworks have been complete since December 1999, when all necessary legal instruments were approved and ready for full implementation. These instruments include the Land Law itself (Law No. 19/97, approved in July 1997), the Regulations for the Land Law (approved in December 1998) and a Technical Annex to the Regulations approved in December 1999. This alone represents a major achievement given the complexity of the issue and potential for disagreement and competing interests to undermine the work of the TS/FAO team.
Together, these instruments provide a flexible framework based upon clear basic principles that should allow implementation in practice to be adaptive and responsive to specific local conditions and opportunities. The Technical Annex in particular is a very practical document that sets out a single, legally prescribed methodology for identifying where community land rights exist and how these should be delimited through a strong community-based participatory process facilitated by trained teams.
Since 1998, however, the TS and FAO have also moved forward into what is best seen as a type of pilot implementation process, although the immediate objectives were more to complete the legislation and develop adequate instruments for dealing with the community land issue.
The analytical underpinnings of the policy and the new law are explained elsewhere.6 In very brief terms, however, the basic approach has been to promote an integrated development strategy that brings local communities and private investors together, making the best use of national land and other resources in the most equitable way possible. Neither group is excluded from the benefits of the wider development process (especially important for the communities) or from the land they need (important for investors).
This strategy is achieved in several steps:
The first thing needed was a strong policy platform. This was developed by the Land Commission/FAO team in 1995 and approved by the Government of Mozambique in September of that year. The central declaration of the National Land Policy is clear in its intention to protect existing rights whilst promoting inward investment:
Assure the diverse rights of the Mozambican people over land and other natural resources, while promoting new investment and the sustainable and equitable use of these resources.
(Government of Mozambique, 1995)
Attention then shifted to developing a new land law that would permit this kind of strategy. This law was developed through a highly participatory process that involved many different sectors of government apart from agriculture (traditionally seen as the sector in charge of land affairs), national NGOs, academics, and other specialists.
The Project Law (draft Bill) was in turn subject to intensive debate at a national conference in June 1996. Once again, all the different sectors and interest groups above actively participated and gave de facto democratic legitimacy to the final draft. While subsequent internal discussions by FRELIMO (Mozambique Liberation Front) sought to change some basic features of the Bill (the concept of "local communities" discussed below was an immediate focus of concern), later debate in the National Assembly and consistent and well-presented technical justification on the part of the TS and its support team meant that the Bill was approved by the Assembly in July 1997 with most of its major and more radical principles intact. These are as follows:
The Land Law Regulations give more practical details for implementing the law, such as specific provisions for the procedures to be followed in the case of new requests for land (often called "concessions" by many English-speakers). The Regulations also bring in new ideas, such as rights of way and common resource use - protecting, for example, access to water points and long-distance grazing routes that might otherwise be cut off by new private sector land occupation.
The "local community" concept has generated much debate, with many people asking how it can be defined in a way that is relevant to the many different cultural and socio-economic contexts of Mozambique. The Regulations left this question open, to be decided in a Technical Annex that would be based upon a process of empirical research and testing of appropriate methodologies.
The Annex approach was debated at national seminar in Beira in August 1998. A basic methodology - community-based participatory diagnosis - was proposed by the FAO team and accepted subject to field testing and refinements if necessary (see Tanner, De Wit and Madureira, 1998). The seminar also endorsed the concept of "open borders" for communities. This allows private investors access to land "owned" by community residents, and the possibility of agreements and partnerships with local people. Subsequent training exercises by the TS/FAO team included 21 pilot cases to test the methodology. The results were scrutinized in three national-level workshops, and a draft for the new Annex was prepared including the recommendations of a final national seminar in July 1999.
The Annex itself was approved in December 1999. It is important in relation to the first principle of the Land Policy Declaration, for it establishes the method through which the "existing rights" of the Mozambican people are "assured" and subsequently -where necessary - delimited. Instead of a single definition - indeed this is impossible in the Mozambican context - the law now prescribes a single methodology that, if properly applied, will result in a specific "local community" reflecting the ethnic, cultural and agro-ecological circumstances of the location in question.
The Annex details the steps and content of the "participatory diagnosis", including "participatory mapping" carried out by the communities themselves. It sets out when a delimitation should be carried out and who should pay for it in each case. It also provides for the community to elect representatives who will sign the forms - also contained in the Annex - that show the delimitation process being correctly carried out and agreed to not only by the community in question, but by its neighbours as well.
This work was followed by more training to create a core of national field staff in both the public and NGO sectors, to carry out the delimitation process as part of their wider activities (some are cadastral workers; others are extensionists or forest and wildlife staff, for example). These exercises resulted in the final output of the third, GCP, project, a training package for trainers to use in future training exercises (Government of Mozambique, 2001). This package includes a course book for the trainer, a field manual for the participants that they take away with them after the course and a video filmed during a delimitation exercise in Maputo Province.7
Capacity-building has been relatively successful. On the one hand there has been a major shift in the general understanding of land issues and how to deal with them. The process of policy and legislative development brought together a wide range of skills and technical disciplines around the common objective of producing a policy and a new law that had widespread support, and created an atmosphere of collaboration amongst officials and technical staff who would not normally work together. Work on the Annex in particular also improved relations between the NGOs and government departments. Many Mozambicans in different government sectors and in civil society have acquired new understanding of the land issue and have been exposed to new thinking and approaches.
This group - which today must number in the hundreds - now constitutes a significant national capacity to deal with land issues as they evolve in the future. Moreover, some 150 field technicians from government departments and NGOs working on rural development and land issues have been trained, creating a core of staff already prepared to take the implementation of the Land Policy and Law into the countryside and test it in practice.
On the other hand, many politicians and public officials responsible for implementing the new policy and law have had little real exposure to these documents, and very few have actually had them fully explained to them by technically competent people. The result is that it is quite possible to find situations where technical staff are convinced of the approach and are keen to implement it, while their directors and local administrators or political leaders are reluctant to press on with full implementation. Cases have, for example, been observed of District Administrators who are applying the old law and Regulations in the absence of any training or instruction in the new approach.
A lack of real progress on the institutional front exacerbates this situation, and is impeding effective implementation. Institutional leadership is still fragmented between key public bodies, notably the Land Commission TS (which has been responsible for the development of policy and legislation) and the National Directorate for Geography and Cadastre (DINAGECA). The TS as a mechanism has acquired a good reputation for its coordinating role and capacity to promote dialogue between interests that in the past have often been in opposition. Yet as an institution it is still weak, with a core staff of two and a very limited budget. It can count upon more than 30 colleagues from other ministries who participate in the TS meetings and who have some knowledge of the new policy and legal framework. It has a limited mandate, however, due to expire once it submits a proposal to government for the long-term institutional structure for land issues. The TS therefore lacks real authority as an institution capable of directing the effective and coordinated implementation of the Land Policy and Law across the country.
By comparison, DINAGECA is far stronger as a permanent institution with more staff and provincial delegations, and even a district-level presence in some areas. For those who still see the resolution of land issues as essentially a technical challenge - having adequate cadastral staff and resources to map everything - DINAGECA is the natural entity for assuming control of the implementation process. Yet the work of the TS since 1995 has exposed the flaw in this approach, and demonstrated beyond doubt that the land question is first and foremost a socio-economic and juridical issue that involves interests far beyond the narrower confines of the cadastral services and even the Ministry of Agriculture.
In this context, and especially once the market economy takes full hold in rural areas, DINAGECA and its delegations will have a central and important task, recording not just present land access but also tracking and legally verifying land transactions, partnerships, etc. It will have scant time left over for policy and wider land-use questions. The reality is that, in the meantime, even DINAGECA and the provincial services are very poorly resourced in real terms, and are unable to deal efficiently with the volume of cadastral work currently facing them.
The role of other important public institutions such as the National Institute for Agronomic Research (INIA) has also not been clearly defined, and there are several areas of overlap between all of these bodies. In addition, the Ministries of Planning and Finance, and of Environmental Coordination, also have programmes that touch directly on resource issues.
Finally, since the late 1990s the "land question" has also been inexorably brought back into the context of the agricultural programme by being included in the so-called "land component" of the government agricultural sector programme PROAGRI. The wider "National Land Programme" concept espoused by the TS/FAO team has been difficult to keep afloat in this context, but is still extremely relevant. Full implementation of the Land Policy and Law requires the engagement of other ministries with no role in PROAGRI, notably State Administration and Justice. A new project with the Supreme Court, training judges and advocates in the Land Law and also the new Forestry - Wildlife and Environment Laws also underlines the point.8
To sum up, while considerable national capacity has been created to deal with land issues in a wider, "less cadastral" setting, the institutional context is making it difficult to programme and use these new skills and resources in a coordinated and mutually reinforcing way. Institutions almost appear to be working against another at times, or are intent upon replicating work already done. Inconsistent messages arrive at provincial and district levels from different bodies. Practical field activities are then held up or simply not implemented. The goodwill of most of those involved is not in question. However, until some institutional clarity and lines of authority and accountability are established, implementation of the policy and legislative package will face difficulties that reduce the effective impact of the scarce resources so far available.
If adequately implemented, the new policy and laws will promote investment and the best use of underused resources, while also protecting local interests and bringing real development benefits to local people. At the time of writing, however, progress has been slow and there are real signs that many people are beginning to question the whole approach or become disillusioned. There is also evidence that even where it is being implemented, the underlying principles are poorly understood and instruments like the Annex are being correctly interpreted and applied.9
Longstanding proposals to provide information and training for public administration and other senior government officials have also not yet materialized. Many District Administrators - key figures in the day-to-day resolution of land conflicts and related matters - remain ignorant of the underlying principles and content of the policy and the law, and have yet to receive clear and adequate orientation from their superiors in provincial capitals and in Maputo. The result is slow and haphazard implementation that is causing doubts even among supporters of the approach.
Delays and uneven implementation are also fostering a climate in which more unscrupulous investors and interests groups, inside and outside Mozambique, are bypassing or paying minimal attention to legally prescribed procedures in order to secure access to resources. Community participation is treated cursorily if at all, and the longer-term participation of local people as stakeholders in development initiatives is still viewed solely in terms of (low-paid) employment creation and fringe benefits.
It is also convenient to see more sinister motives, or just plain greed, in conservative reactions to the TS/FAO approach. Yet the overview of the historical context show that is perhaps even more important to understand the deep roots of conservative thinking about land issues in Mozambique. Ideas that were in circulation in 1995 still exert considerable influence, but they have a much longer history in earlier strategies adopted by both colonial and post-Independence governments that were short of capital and human resources.
Conservative thinking also reflects a deep and persistent view, among urban elites especially, that small farmers are purely subsistence oriented, and unable to assume responsibility for reaching the development objectives that are so important for the country. In this context, implementation of the new policy and legal framework is as much about changing deeply ingrained attitudes, or in effect a cultural view of small farmers and the role of the State in development. In the meantime, the constellation of forces driving the surplus extraction process of colonial times is again increasingly evident in Mozambique, albeit with a different ideological justification - national development.
Against this is the positive impact of the TS/FAO approach in areas where it has been implemented on a trial basis. Much of this success has also been built upon working alliances with the NGO sector, which itself has done a great deal to spread the news about the Land Policy and Law through its Land Campaign. Field visits confirm how local people have been empowered and stimulated to reassess and value their natural resources, and explore new ways to use them. Their ability to comprehend the new law and understand its implications for their present and future lives is startling, and lays to rest any assertion that they are somehow unable to make the most of new opportunities and rise to the development challenge.
It is also clear that serious private investors are willing to do business with local people, based upon a recognition that local rights over land and other resources give local people a directly related right to participate as stakeholders in new development initiatives. Serious investors do not necessarily want the cheapest access to resources - they also want assurance about the conditions surrounding their investment. The one thing they do not want is conflict with local people. Better to negotiate so that all concerned get something out of the projected investment, than to press ahead without adequate local-level consultation or involvement.
These lessons are gradually being recorded and brought together by researchers and field workers. They provide an important justification for pressing ahead with the TS/FAO approach, and the full-scale implementation of the Land Policy and Land Law package that has been so carefully put together since 1995.
FAO support has played an important role since the start of the TCP projects in early 1995. It has been a key factor in bringing new ideas to the table, especially in a context where "solutions" were all coming out of the same historical tool box and at a time when thinking about land issues needed a radical stimulus. FAO support was also directly instrumental in opening up debate and getting other interests - other government sectors, NGOs, academics, etc - involved in a genuinely participatory way. The result of this combined effort is an innovative and progressive policy and legislative framework supported by a wide range of groups that often have quite conflicting interests when it comes to land access and use.
This "integrationist" strategy is a significant departure from earlier government policies that have tended towards a "dualist" view of the agrarian economy and the respective roles of small and larger farmers. FAO today can continue to play the role it has been playing since 1995 - as honest broker, as a provider of high-level technical assistance, as the promoter of dialogue and innovation and as an advocate for now pressing ahead fully and with confidence with the implementation of the new policy and legal package.
The programme approach developed in the mid-1990s is also still directly relevant to a land programme that has many facets and many needs. PROAGRI responds to some of these needs, but others can only be met by other sectoral programmes. It is essential that all these activities are not only well coordinated, but planned from the outset within a single conceptual and programmatic vision of what the "land question" needs and, behind this, what the people of Mozambique need.
The role of external support is perhaps even more critical today in another sense. As opposing interest groups seek to gain advantage and use or circumvent the new legislation in pursuit of their specific interests, it is essential that good technical arguments are put forward to justify the bolder alternative on offer after many years of hard work, not just by FAO, but many hundreds, even thousands of Mozambicans since 1995.
Bruce, J. & Tanner, C. 1993. Structural adjustment, land concentration and common property: the case of Guinea Bissau. In H.S. Marcussen, ed. International Development Studies Occasional Paper No. 9, Institutional Issues in Natural Resources Management. Roskilde University, Denmark.
De Soto, H. 2000. The mystery of capital: why capitalism triumphs in the West and fails everywhere else. London, Bantam Press.
FAO. 2000. Land law reform in Mozambique: acquired values and needs for consolidation, by P. De Wit. Land Reform, Land Settlement and Cooperatives, 2000/2. Rome.
Government of Mozambique. 1995. A Politica Nacional de Terras. Maputo, Comissão Inter-ministerial para a Revisão da Legislação de Terras.
Government of Mozambique. 2001. Manual do Curso de Delimitação de Terras das Comunidades. Maputo, Comissão Inter-ministerial para a Revisão da Legislação de Terras.
Negrão, J. 1996. One hundred years of African rural family economy: the Zambezi delta in retrospective analysis. Lund, Sweden, Reprocentralen.
Tanner, C. 1991. Relations between Ponteiros and Tabancas: implications for a new land law in Guinea Bissau. A report for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Guinea-Bissau. St Ives, Cambridge, UK, CTC Consulting.
Tanner, C. 2000. Securing customary land tenure in Africa: one-day workshop on the local recording and registration of land rights. Proceedings of a one-day DfID/Natural Resources Institute (NRI) workshop at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London, on Securing Customary Tenure in Africa: Alternative Approaches to the Local Recording and Registration of Land Rights.
Tanner, C., De Wit, P. & Madureira, S. 1998. Propostas para um Programa de Delineação das Comunidades Locais. Document presented to the National Seminar for Delineating the Land of Communities, Beira. August.
1 Christopher Tanner was chief technical assistant for FAO support to the Mozambican Land Commission from 1995 to 1997, when the current Land Policy and new Land Law were developed and approved, and subsequently one of a core team of three FAO consultants supporting the development of supplementary instruments to implement the new law, including methodologies and training programmes for community land delimitation.
2 See Negrão (1996) for an excellent account of the relationships between small indigenous farm systems and the nearby sugar-cane plantations.
3 This point mirrors the argument of De Soto (2000), in which a failure to provide a secure framework that enables the poor to use their real assets is given as a basic underlying cause of persistent poverty.
4 See Tanner (1991) and Bruce and Tanner (1993) for a discussion of a similar process in Guinea-Bissau, which, as another ex-colony of Portugal, shares many postwar development and inherited legal and policy characteristics with Mozambique.
5 This is the popular name. The formal title - the Inter-ministerial Commission for the Revision of Land Legislation - reveals that the mandate of the Commission is in fact limited to legislative and related tasks rather than being a kind of supervisory body for land issues.
6 See Tanner (2000a,b). Also, De Wit (another consultant on the FAO team) discusses the approach adopted in FAO (2000).
7 Available from the Technical Secretariat of the Land Commission, in Portuguese and English: firstname.lastname@example.org.
8 This is also an FAO project supported by the Netherlands: GCP/MOZ/069/NET.
9 This is one conclusion from a recent mid-term evaluation of the UK Department for International Development (DfID) support to the Zambezia Provincial Service for Geography and Cadastre, provided through personal communication with the evaluation team members.