In June, Ethiopian State Minister of Agriculture Ato Sileshi Getahun joined USAID/Ethiopia Mission Director Dennis Weller, to officially launch the Land Administration to Nurture Development (LAND) project. The LAND project builds on the success of two previous USAID projects that supported the certification of rural land rights, the reform of federal and regional laws governing land administration and land use, and the strengthening of government capacity to administer these rights. Those previous projects were the Ethiopia Land Tenure Administration Program (ELTAP) and the Ethiopia Land Administration Program (ELAP).
Under the ELAP and ELTAP projects, USAID, in collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia, surveyed over one million parcels of land. Two hundred thousand of these parcels received certificates that officially recognize the landholder. Since the projects began in 2004, poverty rates have fallen by more than ten percent in areas where property rights were strengthened through certification, and household incomes have increased by up to twenty percent. As a result of these successes, several donor agencies have committed to expanding the benefits of land certification to millions more households, primarily in the highland areas of Northwest Ethiopia.
The LAND project, which will be carried out under President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative and implemented by TetraTech, aims to translate the lessons learned and successes from the highlands to the pastoral areas. The LAND project has four components:
- legal and policy reform at the national and local levels;
- strengthening the capacity of national, regional and local land officials;
- strengthening the capacity of Ethiopian university and technical institutes;
- and increasing community land use rights in pastoral and agro-pastoral areas to facilitate market linkages and improve livelihoods.