We integrate modern techniques into indigenous production systems
to improve traditional sources of food and household income
A number of policy reforms, farming models, management techniques, and other innovative measures have been experimented especially through rural transformation projects in several communities where customary tenure abounds mostly intended to enhance economic growth among the local population amidst efforts to secure a continuum of land rights and interests involved. In this context, some of these measures have involved the certification of customary ownership as the optimal solution to addressing tenure insecurity and land market inefficiency but also as a more practical means of accessing the scarce capital required for investment and agricultural productivity. Incidentally, there has also been a tendency to convert such collectively owned land into freehold tenure which is considered to enable more efficient transactions and easier tradability. It is further argued that freehold tenure leads to optimal land use as a commodity and/or factor of production, through the transfer of underutilised parcels from inefficient smallholders to more efficient agricultural producers.
Several questions have been raised as to whether communally owned land should solely be treated as an economic resource held by persons seeking to optimise financial returns to the neglect of its social, political, spiritual, cultural, and other beneficial roles in the livelihoods of rural people. Although the transfer of land to more efficient agricultural producers as opposed to setting it aside for shared use presumably raises overall agricultural productivity in the economy it should be noted that it is mainly the grazing areas and woodlands which are held commonly and governed by community regulations that are likely to be affected during such transactions. This affects livelihood patterns by putting pressure on the indigenous crop and livestock production systems.
It should be noted that land also plays a vital role in the effective operation of other sectors that depend on it for productivity, inluding agriculture, livestock, energy, water, forestry, minerals, wildlife, and human settlement. So, indigenous farming systems and traditional land use practices need to be integrated with modern techniques in order to conserve as well as enhance land quality and productivity in a sustainable manner. This includes mechanisms to restore, maintain, and monitor the quality and productivity of land resources. We encourage local groups through their communal land asociations to demarcate zonal areas based on production potential and existing comparative advantages enablling such land to be put to its most optimal and sustainable use.
We have adopted a system-based approach to promoting agricultural productivity and economic growth by supporting smallholders through the communal land association model which improves access to agricultural inputs, subsidies and credit programmes; use of contract based inputs and credit provision programmes; as well as exploration of output insurance schemes for investment in modern hydroponic and agronomic techniques. We are testing the use of other innovations such as the monitoring of grazing efficiency, carrying capacity, stocking rates, soil nutrients, invasive species, vegetation cover, etc.