60, 000 Land Parcels Registered in Malawi Through Projects

At least 60, 000 customary land parcels have been registered in the country through various land and agricultural based investments in relation to the newly enacted Land (amendment) Act of 2022.

Ministry of Lands spokesperson, Enock Chingoni says the pieces of land have been registered in several districts through the Agricultural Commercialisation Project, Shire Valley Transformation Programme, Integrated Land Governance Project and Malawi Watershed Services Improvement Programme among others.

"Cumulative total of 60, 000 customary land parcels have been confirmed and registered. These have been registered under land based programmes and projects which government is currently implementing," he said.

Chingoni has however told Zodiak Online that six months after the law came into force, government is yet to commence the mass customary land registration due to financial constraints and lack of operational structures. 

Meanwhile, he added that the registered individuals are receiving customary state certificates to authenticate boundaries and ownership through land committees and chiefs thereby minimising long-standing land wrangles in the country.

Considering the importance of the legislation, a land governance expert, Laudon Luka suggests that government can use some funds under the land administration component of the new Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) for the mass registration exercise.

Luka said: "I think government has navigated funding challenges by including land administration within the newly signed Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC). You know the new land law is set out to resolve the long-standing land wrangles in the country. There are dispute resolution structures in the law. How long are we going to live with these land wrangles?"

Another land expert, Landnet Executive Director, Edward Thole thinks government can carry out the exercise slowly through pilot projects targeting hotspot districts with disputes.

"It is indeed expensive to carry out a mass land registration at a go as we did with the National Identity Cards. But in places where we can call hotspots where there are a lot of land disputes, government would consider prioritizing those areas," he suggested.

The new Land Act was amended in order to harmonise and standardise the interests in private land titles, avoid conflicts and the sale of land to foreigners will-nilly unless they meet investors conditions of the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC).

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