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Land Reform and Poverty Alleviation in Southern Africa 4-5 June 2001

For more details please contact:
Scott Drimie
[Programme]     [Delegates]     [Papers]     [Report & analysis]


The Southern African Regional Poverty and Development Network (SARPN) hosted a two-day conference on land reform and poverty alleviation on the 4th and 5th of June, 2001 at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in Pretoria, South Africa. The central intention of the conference was to establish a set of policy recommendations and guidelines derived from regional perspectives of land reform policy within the context of pro-poor poverty alleviation.

Land reform has the potential to make a direct impact on poverty through targeted resource transfers, particularly in the rural areas. It is viewed as an instrument for redressing the inequities in access to economic opportunities and resources. Indeed, land reform literature is saturated with empirical arguments arguing the case for land reform. These arguments relate to the economic benefits derived from tenure security; the link between equality in the distribution of assets and positive economic growth; the advantages of smallholder agriculture from an efficiency standpoint; and the desirability of transferring land to more efficient users through land sales and rental markets. This conference intended to explore these arguments according to southern African country experiences of land reform and poverty alleviation.

The first day consisted of a series of presentations outlining land reform in a regional perspective. The initial session was entitled Land Reform in a Regional Context: Country Experiences. A general overview of the status of land reform in the region was presented followed by a series of country studies, which outlined experiences of seven Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, namely Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, South Africa and Mozambique. This took the form of a retrospective and prospective view of land reform from the point of view of prospects for enhanced poverty alleviation. Each speaker presented a paper that attempted to answer the following questions:
  1. What has been the view of land reform and poverty alleviation in the past twenty years? (at the time of the transition in some countries?) (i.e. what were the policy choices, objectives, goals?).
  2. What has been learned about each country's land reform and its connection to poverty alleviation programmes? (Gender implications?)
  3. What are the prospects for further land reform in each country?
  4. What might national governments, SADC, civil society and international development agencies do to enhance or underpin land reform and poverty alleviation in the region? (i.e. what are the strategic policy options?).
The second session of the day, entitled Land Reform in a Regional Context: Overarching Themes, entailed an interactive discussion facilitated by a leading southern African land reform practitioner. The intention was to map out the major themes affecting land reform in the region in order to inform policy directions from civil society, government, international development agencies and the private sector.

The second day consisted of a series of roundtable discussions exploring themes in greater depth through micro-studies of land reform experiences in the region. Each roundtable incorporated two or three short papers that explored a common theme followed by an informed discussion. The day of roundtables was concluded through a final workshop, which brought the dominant themes of the roundtables together along with the proceeding day's deliberations.

Therefore the discussions were structured as follows:

Day One: Monday 4th June
ROOM 150
Richard Humphries (SARPN)
1010 FRAMEWORK Scott Drimie (HSRC)
1015 First Speaker: Regional Overview
Martin Adams, DfID Land Reform Co-ordinator
1035 Open Discussion Chaired by Sue Mbaya, Land Tenure and Land Policy Consultant, Zimbabwe
1115 Country Studies Chaired by Ben Cousins, Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS)
1125 Namibia Study Wolfgang Werner, Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit (NEPRU)
1145 Zimbabwe Study Sue Mbaya, Land Tenure and Land Policy Consultant, Zimbabwe
1205 Lesotho Study Qubela Selebalo, Project Co-ordinator - Land Management and Administration, Lesotho
1225 Swaziland Study Alfred Mndzebele, Coordinating Assembly of NGOs (CANGO)
1300 LUNCH  
1400 Mozambique Study Amade Suca, Associação Rural de Ajuda Mutua (ORAM)
1420 South Africa Study
(including Appendix)
Sipho Sibanda, Department of Land Affairs, (DLA)
1440 Malawi Study
(including Appendix)
Fredrick Kandodo, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP)
  Workshop and mapping exercise led by Ben Cousins and Sue Mbaya. Four breakaway rooms were arranged to facilitate the interactive and participative workshops. Each session engaged with two of the country studies with the intention of drawing out issues around policy processes, political dynamics, the role of civil society, state capacity and complementary programmes.
FORUM A: Namibia and Zimbabwe
FORUM B: Malawi and Mozambique
FORUM C: Lesotho and Swaziland
ROOM 150: South Africa
1615 Plenary and report back Ben Cousins
1730 Close Scott Drimie

DAY TWO: Tuesday 5th June


0900 Welcome and Introduction (ROOM 150) Scott Drimie
  Summary of 1st Day and Linkages to 2nd Day Ben Cousins
0930 Roundtable Discussions(1.5 hours each)
  Stream One: The Impact of Aids on Land Reform and Rural Livelihoods (FORUM A)

Chair: Neil Marsland (Regional

Food Security Advisor: SADC region) Zamokuhle Zwane (Treatment Action Campaign) “Impact of HIV/Aids on the Land Reform Programme, South Africa”

Dan Mullins (Regional HIV/Aids Co-ordinator, Oxfam) “Land Reform, Poverty Reduction and HIV/AIDS”

Stream Two: Farm Workers and Land Reform in Southern Africa (FORUM B)

Chair: Henry Machina (Land Alliance of Zambia)

Godfrey Magaramombe (Farm Workers Community Trust of Zimbabwe) “ Rural Poverty: Commercial Farm Workers and Land Reform in Zimbabwe”

Ruth Hall, Karin Kleinbooi and Ndodomzi Mvambo (Centre for Rural Legal Studies) “What land reform has meant and could mean to farm workers in South Africa”

1115 Stream Three: Issues around Tenure and Food Security in the Region FORUM A)

Chair: Meshack Khosa (HSRC)

Durkje Gilfillan, (Legal Resources Centre) “Poverty alleviation, economic advancement and the need for tenure reform in rural areas”

Peter Bechtel (Land Law Adviser - Cabo Delgado) “Land Law and Agricultural Development in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique and in Swaziland”

Sam Bonti-Ankomah (NIEP) “Addressing Food Insecurity in South Africa”

Stream Four: Establishing Small-Scale Production on Land Reform Farms in Southern Africa: The Case of KwaZulu-Natal(FORUM B)

Chair: Sihle Mkhize (Association for Rural Advancement)

Bigman Maloa (Canegrowers) “Sugar Cane: A Case as a Development Crop in RSA”

Duncan Stewart (KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Development Forum) “Land-rental reform in communal areas”

Nigel Taylor and Rob Ciarns (OXFAM) “May farming make a contribution to poverty alleviation in a “deep” rural area in South Africa? — Lessons from Oxfam GB's Sustainable Livelihood Programme in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal”

Stream Five: Citizenship, Development and Land Reform(FORUM C)

Chair: Mike De Klerk (HSRC)

Carolien Samson and Dave Husy (Land Bank) “South Africa and the Social Discount Product”

Andile Mngxitama (National Land Committee) “Farm Workers, Citizenship and Land”

1245 Lunch
  A final session was conducted by Ben Cousins to explore key issues emerging from the roundtables. The chairs of the roundtables fed into the discussion at lunchtime and final comments from participants were taken at the plenary. A particular emphasis was placed on a post-conference document and synergistic research opportunities.
1500 Close and Way Forward Scott Drimie

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