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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

Notes to broadcasters: Land ownership

The article on which this story was based can be read in full at this address: http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/12/bringing-cameroons-marginalised-poverty-debate/

Land tenure and access to good quality land are key issues for small-scale farmers. Many countries have complicated and unclear laws regarding the sale and purchase of land. This is especially true where families have inhabited land for centuries but have no paperwork to prove ownership.

When land is divided up through inheritance, children and spouses are often left with small plots. Often their lands are dispersed over a wide area. Those who inherit this land may prefer to sell it and emigrate to urban areas. This is especially true when their land is marginal and has poor soil.

Farm Radio Weekly published a series in 2009 on international land grabbing and investment. Issue #69 was the first in the series. It is a good place to start for more background on international land issues: http://weekly.farmradio.org/topic/frw-issues/issue-69/.

In 2010, FRW looked at women’s land rights. Here are the Notes to Broadcasters for that topic from March 2010: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/03/15/notes-to-broadcasters-on-women%E2%80%99s-land-rights-3/.

And here is a Farm Radio International script that looks at women’s land rights: http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-57-women-are-key-to-rural-development/land-ownership-rights-access-denied-why-women-need-equal-access-to-land/.

Notes to broadcasters on land tenure are available from FRW #201 (May 2012 http://weekly.farmradio.org/2012/05/21/notes-to-broadcasters-on-land-tenure/), and Notes to broadcasters on women and land ownership are available here: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2012/06/11/notes-to-broadcasters-on-women-and-land-ownership/ (#204, June 2012).

One Farm Radio Weekly story from 2012 describes how land pressures have led farmers to grow crops in unusual places. Read Lack of land drives residents to grow food in cemetery to hear about one farmer who found life in an old cemetery near the city of Pointe-Noire, Congo-Brazzaville (FRW #190, February 2012 http://weekly.farmradio.org/2012/02/27/congo-brazzaville-lack-of-land-drives-residents-to-grow-food-in-cemetery-by-john-ndinga-ngoma-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-congo-brazzaville/).

Why not examine the issues surrounding land tenure in your listening area. Issues to explore include:
-Is it easy to purchase agricultural land? Does formal law take customary practices (such as inheritance) into account?
-Do laws apply equally or equitably to men and women? To what extent are women allowed to own land outright?

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