Haiti receives $27 million IDB grant for rural land tenure project

By staff, Caribbean Journal, April 26, 2012

Haiti will be receiving a $27 million grant from the Inter-American Development Bank for a pilot programme aimed at improving land tenure security in rural areas of northern and southern Haiti. The grant's approval was announced Wednesday.

Approximately 60 percent of Haiti's citizens live in rural areas, making agriculture a predominant economic activity in the country. But landholdings average about 4.2 acres, and are generally of poor quality, according to the IDB. By some estimates, nearly two-thirds of 1.5 million rural parches have no property title.

The pilot programme will be carried out in two areas covering the Grand Riviere du Nord watershed in the north, and the Ravine du Sud and Cavaillon watersheds in southern Haiti. Haiti's Agriculture Ministry is currently carrying out investment projects funded by the IDB and other donors in the latter area. The plan will finance work to clarify property rights and identify public lands in the two regions, aiming to register all parcels in a basic land registry and to identify their owners and occupants.

Part of the project looks to reduce the average time it takes to register rural properties, from 300 days down to 60, along with lowering the average cost of the procedures from $600 to $150. The investment could benefit as many as 40,000 farmers, the bank said. The programme follows several land tenure initiatives funded by the IDB in the region.