WATCH: Farmer driven participatory mapping with STDM in Kalangala, Uganda

Women picking oil palm fruit in a garden in Kalangala Island.

Land and Natural Resources Tenure Security Learning Initiative for Eastern and Southern Africa (TSLI-ESA) Projects in Uganda

The experience of Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP), Kalangala, Uganda

VODP is an IFAD supported investment programme of Ugandan Government (GoU) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIFS).  It has been running from that started in 1998 to support Uganda’s growth strategy of achieving poverty alleviation, increasing farmer incomes, generating employment opportunities and diversifying into import substitution oil palm production and processing. A farmers’ local trust, the Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Trust (KOPGT), was established to support the smallholder out-grower farmers increase their production of crushing material (both oil palm and oilseeds) and establish commercial relations to link them directly to processors.

Uganda is characterized by multiple land tenure systems and multiple land rights for the same land holding. Less than 20 per cent of the land is titled and over 80 per cent is under customary tenure system. Most of the smallholder out-grower farmers in Kalangala are migrants from the main land who came to the island as fishermen or charcoal producers. The land on which they farm belonged to various owners including the GoU, and some absentee land lords. With the ever rising value of land in the district following the booming economic activity anchored on the production and processing of oil palm, absentee mailo land owners returned to lay claim on the land which the smallholders oil palm farmers had set up their homes and farms creating conflicts and fear of evictions

With support from IFAD, the GoU through KOPGT has been providing support to the tenant/squatter farmers to regularize their settlement so that farmers have security of tenure for the land that they worked and lived on. To support these efforts, starting 2014, they collaborated with GLTN to support the development and implementation a “famer-driven enumeration” (FDE) in Kalangala District, Uganda, where the GLTN’s Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) is used to upgrade land database system for farmers under the Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Trust (KOPGT). GLTN provided STDM software and trained the staff of VODP and Kalangala Oil Palm Growers’ Trust (KOPGT), and farmers on the use and application of STDM, spatial and attribute data collection, database management, data analysis and production of reports. Likewise Socio-economic and spatial information of 1535 farmers and their respective gardens was collected in 7 blocks in Kalangala (Kalangala, Bujumba, Kayunga, Bbeta East, Bbeta West, Kagulube and the Islands block – Bunyama and Bubembe islands)

This has come at a time when the number of oil palm farmers has been increasing with more than 37 percent reported to be women and a majority being migrants with insecure tenure. With the STDM database, KOPGT is able to produce maps showing the location of all smallholder farmers and their garden boundaries. They also provide information on their tenure situation, which facilitates their field operations. KOPGT is hosting the LIMS database and will manage, update and use it for its operations, including issuance of garden certificates.

Watch the video