Rural Life and Agriculture Tour - Kasame [ Biz/ed Virtual Developing Country ]

Small Farm 2 - Kasame

Land Tenure

Next issue - Government Policy on Land Tenure >>

In talking to the head of the household you discover that he does not actually own the land himself. It is actually communal land that he occupies and works. Land ownership is another important issue in understanding the problems of agriculture in Zambia.

Prior to colonisation land was never seen as a marketable commodity. Land ownership was communal. During colonialism due to the growth of commercial farms, improvements in agricultural techniques and rapid population growth, private land ownership evolved. The colonial administration disliked the existing customary law where villages communally owned land and in 1928 established two categories of land:

  • Crown Land that was reserved for European settlements and mining.
  • Native Reserves were for set aside for Africans

Soon after a third category of land, Native Trust Land, comprising of previously un-categorised land, was created and further extended property rights to Europeans settlers.

Kafue National Park
Woodland Savannah

These reserves and trust lands were unpopular to the Africans as they found the reserves were overcrowded and impoverished. The better land was allocated to European farmers. It was the injustices of these land tenure arrangements that fuelled the struggle for independence.

After Independence Crown land became State land and all land was vested in the President for the people of Zambia. In 1975 President Kaunda introduced reforms where all freehold land was abolished and 100-year leases introduced. The reserve and trust land continued to operate under the principle of usufruct which gives anyone free access to a piece of land but restricts people from claiming ownership of it.

How customary land is used varies. In some areas it is communally farmed whilst in others individual farmers and their families farm it. How then do individuals or communities gain access to customary land?

  • Clearing virgin bush
  • Through marriage
  • Inheritance
  • Grants to farm on State land

Next issue - Government Policy on Land Tenure >>

Related Glossary Items:
Land Tenure
Customary Law
Native Reserve Land
Native Trust Land

Related Issues:
Government Policy on Land Tenure