MAPUTO, Apr. 9 - The Mozambican agriculture ministry has warned that land titles will be cancelled in all cases where the title-holders are not using the land.
Under the Mozambican constitution, there is no such thing as private ownership of land. All property in land vests in the state, and land cannot be bought or sold. Land titles are issued, valid for a specific period, and for specific purposes - but there have been many reports of clandestine markets in land, and of people applying for titles and then leaving the land unused, apparently hoping to cash in, if land is privatised at some date in the future.
To end any speculation in land, Deputy Agriculture Minister Caterina Kassim has ordered the National Land Directorate to draw up a survey of all title holders who are not complying with the land use plans they submitted in order to obtain the titles.
According to a report in Saturday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", Kassim also demanded a list of all state officials who have obtained land but are not using it - particularly in fertile areas in Maputo province. She issued these instructions after a visit to Boane district, some 30 kilometres west of the capital, where she found that large areas of fertile land were not being tilled. Kassim remarked that land title-holders who were not exploiting their land "are blocking the country's development".
"That's why I've asked the National Land Directorate to draw up a list of title-holders who are not using their land, so that I can take it to the government and see what to do", she said.
She made clear that she was in favour of cancelling the land use titles of people who produced nothing, and allocating the land to others.
At the Eduardo Mondlane locality in Boane, over 100 hectares of fertile land, with access to water, are not being exploited "Noticias" reports. Local information was that most of the people with title to this land are linked to the government.
It was at this point that Kassim demanded a list of such people.