Land administration in Nicaragua: PRODEP expands to new territories in its third phase

Mother and daughter in rural Nicaragua

The Agrarian Reform undertaken by the Sandinista Government of Nicaragua in the 1980s proposed the democratization of access to land and reorganization of property. 30 years later, however, it is still necessary to strengthen land administration by modernizing the institutions that provide services and reinforcing the property rights for the land owned by the country’s poorest families.

Consequently, in 2003, the Project to reinforce property rights (PRODEP) aimed to provide greater guarantees for land ownership to small owners in rural and urban areas of four departments in Nicaragua. The Project was based on the assumption that greater legal certainty in land tenure would have a significant impact on productive investments, housing improvements and the resolution of agrarian conflicts. It would also promote community development, which would be reflected in a clearer delimitation of indigenous territories and greater gender equality in terms of access to property.

Thanks to the Project’s positive results, a second phase was initiated in 2012. PRODEP II was established in a regulatory and institutional context, aiming to establish a favorable situation for policy creation and the modernization of land administration services, including the municipalities. PRODEP II also included cadastre land survey, land tenure regularization and the demarcation of protected areas in two additional departments.

To date, the results of the second phase have been encouraging, exceeding the initial goals. For example, land titles have been granted to 85,000 households, more than half of which have been given to women. In addition, municipal cadastres have been updated in order to facilitate the collection of local taxes, a system has been developed to link the Cadastre with the Property Registry in Chinandega and Managua, the transaction times have been reduced, and there has also been a decrease in agrarian conflicts.

Before the Project’s second phase has even concluded, the World Bank has already given the green light for financing the third phase of PRODEP, which will expand the actions taken in regard to property rights and land administration services in four new departments located in the central-northern areas of the country. This area overlaps with the Dry Corridor in Mesoamerica, a region that is regularly affected by extreme climate events. According to FAO expert Fabrice Edouard, who is also a member of the project team, “a program for the regularization of land tenure rights for small producers, especially coffee growers, will also be initiated, in addition to 80,000 new property titles for land from the agrarian reform.”

The announcement of the launch of PRODEP III, backed by an investment of 50 million dollars, is part of a new agreement with the World Bank to support 3 projects in the Mesoamerican country – for a total investment of 145 million dollars.


Photo Credit: Lon&Queta (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)