Since June, 2000, under the initiative of the new Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, greater priority has been given to the community consultations required for the processing of land concessions. However, there are still concerns expressed by some NGOs regarding the nature and quality of these processes. These concerns were shared by the PROAGRI Joint Land Mission, which reported that community consultation processes were not being carried out in an effective and transparent manner according to the law. As a result the Technical Secretariat of the National Land Commission recommended that a study be conducted of those consultation processes that have taken place. Initial research completed under the auspices of the ZADP (Cau, 2001) demonstrates that there remain many uncertainties regarding the quality of both the consultation processes and the information about agreements that is captured and recorded.
The development of a methodology and training materials that can assist in enabling government, NGO and private sector staff to complete the consultations in an effective way in the future is also important. The consultation process is an important opportunity for the beginning of the establishment of a potential long-term partnership between a local community and private sector investors in rural areas. To date the formalisation of agreements between land concessionaires and communities has been weak and there appear to be no formal economic partnerships being created. This seems to be the case in other parts of the country also. A report on Cabo Delgado states: "In reality, the new law has not turned out quite as well as planned. While it does defend community land rights, it has not produced the close relationships between investors and rural communities that its designers envisioned. Instead of contracts spelling out ongoing financial relationships between investors and communities, the practice of one-off (compensation) payments continues, leaving community members with a short-term flush of cash and long term loss of their lands" (Bechtel, P. 2001).
The thorny question of the involvement of legitimate community representatives in the consultation processes has recently taken a new twist with the approach adopted by the government in relation to traditional leaders. Despite clear stipulations in the Land Law that community members generally should participate in the process, that they should have the opportunity to elect representatives and that there should be at least 3 representatives involved in giving formal approval, many land applications are now being reviewed and approved solely through formally recognised traditional leadership structures. The government justifies this approach by reference to a decree passed in 2000 that re-instates the traditional leaders to the status of semi-official public servants2.