The U.S. government supports land reform
U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan Ken Gross and Deputy Prime Minister Murodali Alimardon yesterday officially launched the United States Agency for International Developmentís (USAID) Land Reform Project, which will strengthen and protect land rights in Tajikistan.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, this $4.5 million project continues USAIDís strong support for land reform efforts, which began in 2005.
Ambassador Gross noted that ďLand reform should give farmers secure rights to their land and develop a land market. It will encourage investments that will increase farm productivity and profitsĒ.
During the next three years, USAID will work to improve the security of land tenure rights and introduce legislative reforms that will facilitate the development of a market in land use rights. These changes will contribute to greater food security and create opportunities for economic growth in the agricultural sector.
The project will support a network of regional legal aid centers (LACs) and tashabbuskors (land activists) to educate farmers on their rights, train local government officials on new laws and policies, mediate disputes, and advocate on behalf of farmersí interests in court. The network will also report on the status of freedom to farm and provide field-level information to help guide the projectís legislative reform efforts.
To reach farmers outside the LAC/tashabbuskor network, the project will publish a monthly newspaper and produce a series of radio and television programs featuring land-related news and articles about farmers defending their rights.
A total of 49,172 citizens received direct assistance under previous USAID Land reform projects. These efforts have included mediation to settle land related disputes, coordination with local governmental authorities, and even court resolution of land issues in cases where there was no alternative solution. The project helped over 1,500 farmers to cancel more than 8 million somoni of illegal or improper debt, and more than 10,000 farmers directly benefited from project-supported court cases.
Project activities will place a special emphasis on women's issues, recognizing that women provide approximately 70 percent of Tajikistanís agricultural labor.
The USAID Land Reform Project is one of the many assistance projects the American people, through USAID, have provided in support of the people of Tajikistan. Since 1992, the American people have provided approximately $900 million in programs that support Tajikistanís democratic institutions, health care, education and economic growth.