In Niger, in a context threatening the sustainability of irrigation schemes, securing land tenure helps sustain the investments of the State and the future of farmers. A practical guide, the Guide to securing land tenure in irrigation schemes in Niger, is now available to accompany and facilitate this operation at the national level. This fact sheet details the context and the issues that led to the development of this guide and presents its characteristics and structure.
According to the census conducted by the Directorate of Development and Economic Analysis of the National Office for Irrigation Schemes (ONAHA), there are 85 irrigation schemes in Niger today, covering approximately 16,000 hectares and employing more than 40,000 farmers. Under the "Kandadji" programme for ecosystem regeneration and development in the Niger Valley, an additional 45,000 hectares are expected to be developed by 2030.
In Niger, the National Office for Irrigation Schemes (ONAHA) sought GWI's support to examine how to improve smallholders’ performance in irrigated schemes. In order to improve agricultural advisory services, this study was conducted through a diagnosis of six schemes (Konni 1, Konni 2, Namardé Goungou, Famalé, Gabou and Kandadji) in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the implementation of agricultural advice and water management depending on the age (old, new) and the types of production (rice cultivation, polyculture) of the schemes.
In Niger the land converted for public use is now facing a dual problem: on one hand, customary landowners or their descendants claim property rights on this space which supposedly belongs to the State, on the other hand, government bodies who manage this area do not have the legal documents to justify the State's rights over the developed (irrigated) land and, consequently, to protect it. How to ensure secure land tenure for the State on the developed land while preserving the legitimate rights of those working the land?
Construction of the Kandadji dam in Niger will involve, among other consequences, the appropriation of agricultural land owned by customary holders but also in many cases sub-holdings of other non-landowners. The government offered a long lease of 50 years for owners in compensation for their expropriated property rights.
How should the State compensate for the loss of the right of use by non-landowners farming land expropriated for the development of the Kandadji dam? This study aims to answer this question and proposes the use of a 'contract of occupation'.
This is the report of a workshop held on 8 and 9 June 2015 in Bamako, Mali, to present and discuss the results of a study on securing irrigated land tenure in the six countries within the Permanent Inter-State Committee for the Fight against Drought in the Sahel (CILSS) in the context of the "Dakar Declaration".
Large scale projects such as dams often involve displacing people. Obtaining the agreement and the collective consent of affected groups to compensation measures, in a written form which has legal authority, is not an easy undertaking. Recent experience with the Kandadji Programme, supported by the Global Water Initiative (GWI), shows how, at relatively low cost: (i) the consent of affected groups can be obtained through a collective process, and how (ii) this agreement can be embodied in a document which, in principle, is legally valid proof of the commitment.
Example of the official (signed) record of the consultation of one of the communities affected by the Kandadji dam on the issue of the expropriation of their traditional land for 'public use' and the drawing up of a 'lease in perpetuity' (with its terms and conditions) which aims to provide the community with 'just and prior' compensation and secure land tenure.