Lessons Learned on Responsible Land-Based Investments in Mozambique

March 1, 2018

On February 12, 2018, Indufor North America presented the lessons learned from its latest public-private partnership project on Responsible Land-Based Investments. Through an innovative co-creation process, USAID partnered with Africa’s largest sugar producer - Illovo Sugar Africa Limited - and Indufor to test the Analytical Framework for Land-Based Investments in African Agriculture at Illovo’s plantations in Mozambique.

The Analytical Framework guides companies to improve their due diligence and risk mitigation related to land tenure rights, with the aim to ensure the company respects the legitimate land rights of people affected by investments. In addition to testing the Analytical Framework, the public-private partnership successfully supported Illovo to operationalize its commitments to respecting legitimate local land rights.

On February 12, the lessons learned were presented to an audience of government officials, NGOs, donors, and other companies focused on land-based investments. The workshop outlined the activities undertaken during the project and illustrated how these activities complement a current Mozambican government program, Terra Segura, which aims to register 5 million parcels and delimitate 4 thousand communities by 2019.


Participants at the Responsible Land Based Investment Event

Activities & Achievements

As part of Illovo’s commitments to respect legitimate land rights of communities, Indufor and its partner, Terra Firma, conducted a participatory mapping exercise in 6 out of 11 blocks around Illovo’s plantations. These 11 blocks were chosen as they are managed by the nearby communities for seasonal food crops and sugarcane, with parcels allocated through informal agreements. In the 6 blocks, the project mapped 1,841 parcels of 1,461 households, which are now being sent to the national land administration for title issuance. To date 275 official land title applications been filed with provincial authorities.

Lessons Learned

RLBIPanel
Panel Discussion with (from left to right) Inês Cuambe of DINAT, Tomás Vierira Mário, moderator of the event, Jeffrey Hatcher of  Indufor North America, Sarah Lowery of USAID,  and Filipe Raposo of Illovo

For the private sector, the project illustrated the need for corporations to recognize that their operations can have a large impact on communities to drive corporate engagement. Subsequently this engagement needs to become embedded through a formal corporate commitment and within a company’s operational priorities. Strong leadership and communications from local operational staff of the company are critical to successful project design. Illovo's guidelines on land rights and roadmap demonstrate such a commitment from the highest level of the company, which provide staff with clear goals and timeframes.

For the communities, it is recommended to use trusted independent service providers, such as Terra Firma, to engage with communities and perform a participatory mapping exercise. Given the frequently contentious nature of land ownership in areas with new investment, company-led mapping projects may be viewed with suspicion.

Broad stakeholder awareness and engagement was identified as critical to ensure better mapping results and ensuring the project is clearly communicated. Proactive steps needed to be taken to include marginalized communities or individuals, which required working with gender-balanced local field teams that were trained to engage with marginalized people and speak the local languages. As participatory mapping is a very technological data-driven process, local teams also needed to be trained to use hand-held GPS devices and tablets with digital forms that link up with a central data management system.

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