Whdet’s Land Tenure System Vision
By Gezaee Hailemichael
May 06 2008
The Agrarian economic sector of Ethiopia is the backbone of the country. I have seen many places to date, I have never seen anywhere where people work so hard to yield a produce from a land like in Ethiopia. However, the agricultural practices in Ethiopia is being done based on oxen and locally developed ploughshares which has been used for a millennia. The fact that the Ethiopian education is useless can be reaffirmed. The Ethiopian education has not yet contributed anything to upgrade the existing agricultural tools. Ethiopians farmers still labor with crude, slow, household agricultural tools. There is no anything new from all these so called PHDS, people who changed themselves to paper from human. Whdet has to change all these.
The land tenure system in Ethiopia is wrong. The land is owned by the government. The people have nothing which they can say is theirs. Meles Zenawi may be claiming to the American’s that he is a capitalist. But the truth is that there is prima facie evidence that he is a pure communist, otherwise if he was a capitalist he could have handed the land to the people. Meles Zenawi believes that if the land is given to the people and they will sell the land and all will go to Addis and get crowded in the already crowded and ill-developed city.
Whdet has a better alternative, the above rationale is a weak philosophy. Whdet believes the land must be given to the people back. The people are the stewardship of the land, if the people does not look-after the land, the land cannot be tenable. This is one of the reasons that Ethiopian land is highly degraded. I have never seen anywhere a land degraded badly as that of Ethiopia. If the land does not belong to the people, the people cannot put natural fertilizer on it, and cannot plant a tree beside it because they know it does not belong to them. This was actually what had happened during Mengistu Hailemariam when everything had been taken by the government, the derg Cadres claimed everything belongs to them and they starting cutting, selling all the Eucalyptus trees which belonged to the farmers. I remembered when I was a small kid when the derg cadres took our small Eucalyptus tree farm and my families and relatives were in grief. Now in Ethiopia the land tenure has remained the same as that of derg time which implicates the difference between derg and EPRDF is a little one. EPRDF is different from derg only because EPRDF is a friend of America and EPRDF has covered themselves with capitalist coverlet.
Whdet is a pure Ethiopian ideology, it is neither communism nor capitalism but better than both. Whdet believes the land has to be privatized so that the people can look-after and develop their land because they will know the land belongs to them and whatsoever they do on the land will also belong to them. They can plant fodder trees, they can plant fruit trees, they can build terrace around it , they can put natural fertilizer and protect it.
Why people sell their land? Meles say they will sell it, why they sell it? The remedy for that is to do rural urbanization which means schools, clinics, transportation, communication, power system, water system infrastructures must be taken and/or developed in the rural areas so that the impression that one gets school, clinic, other modern services, jobs will not be the reason for the people to go to the ill-developed cities.
If the land is privatized, one can teach the farmers to harvest rain-water around their farm which can be used through the year. They can use that water with proper management to do multistory farming, they can grow fodders for their animal, grow vegetables, grow fruit trees, do chicken farm, bee farming, fish farming at house hold economy level altogether throughout the year. The Ethiopian weather is perfect for through year farming. They can even generate electricity from their biomass of fruit, vegetable, fodder foliages and organic waste. These can be done in a small land which means privatization of the land allows the land to be protected, developed and increase productivity per unit area and per unit time. But if the land is owned by the government who will have the appetite to do that. I would not do that because I know the land does not belong to me.
The fear of Meles Zenawi that the farmers will sell their land is a weak reasoning. One can still have a law which does not allow the farmers to sell the land. Whdet has an alternative to the fear of Meles Zenawi, a law can made that allows farmers to rent their land to someone for a limited period of time and with their right protected to reclaim their land back when they needed it.
After privatization of the land Whdet envisages the Ethiopian land has to be reclaimed, since the land is degraded, the land needs to be rehabilitated and biomes, flora, fauna of needs to be reclaimed. The indigenous plants are not there anymore, without having those indigenous plant, it is hard to claim the land back. The first thing whdet would like to do is to reclaim the indigenous plants and have nursery centers which grows the seedlings for the indigenous plants. Then whdet will initiate the farmers to plant those indigenous plants around their quarters of lands. Actually Ethiopian farmers are skilled, they are teachers themselves. I would rather say to initiate or sensitize or motivate them to do such things since I know they know better than I do. If whdet trains them to harvest rain-water and reserve that water and use it through out the year, the plant they plant will not die for lack of rain. I know tree planting in Ethiopia is done only during the rain seasons and most of the seedlings or all die if there is no rain at all. This is useless scheme which every government had been doing all along. I have seen Meles planting trees? I am not sure if Meles Zenawi is checking that tree if it is still alive, or just he put it for a picture of millennium? With whdet that will not be the case. Trees will not die because a planted tree or fruit tree seedlings will have survival technology beside it. Then it will be easier to claim everything back thereafter.
The other issue, fertilizers, as we can witness it, I myself as a naturalist, I see no benefit of using artificial fertilizers. The healthiest and best way to increase productivity is to use natural fertilizers instead of importing the high input and poisonous chemicals. Ethiopia imports high input fertilizers, sometimes Ethiopia imports from donation after the fertilizers are being found poisonous and expired. These are chemicals which destroys the local fauna, flora, and pollute the air , pollute the water system, the soil. This is a great concern for people who really knows what goes on with these fertilizers after these fertilizers are being administered on the farming land. I know Ethiopians import and strongly long to get these fertilizers to solve poverty. But honestly, we do not need those fertilizers to solve our food security problem. The cause of our food security problem is not because of lack of fertilizers. We are the problem for that. We always look for a solution from outside without checking inside. It is not the land, it is not the soil, it is not the nature, we are the cause of the problem. Instead of putting chemicals on our soils and water system, we better put fertilizers on our brains. One great American writer said, “ the brain of human being is like a plot of land, if it is left uncultivated, un-ploughed, it will grow weeds, thorns and become useless.” I find his assertion pertinent to the brain of Ethiopian. We have the best and healthiest mode of life but we are destroying it because of our ignorance. We have so much inside, but we are tuned for everything from outside. Africans has the lowest cancer diseases in the whole planet because of the healthy food we eat, but we never realize it. Whdet will initiate local and natural fertilizers. To learn from others is not bad, it is good, but when one has easy and accessible tools nearby to look from outside for everything is self-marginalization. Prime minister has listed many books he has read in his book of the beginning of the end, but he did not mention anything he learnt from his own country. He thinks we are going to judge him genius because of all those list of those books. We need to get back to our roots and build up from there instead of attempts to redesigning ourselves to look like others. That is the worst type of self-rejection.
The other thing worth mentioning, Ethiopian farmers through out the country cut trees every year for fencing which has a huge effect on deforestation, whdet will change that. Whdet will introduce a new way of fencing farms or others which protects tree cutting at all.
In order to give a break to the land, whdet will take off the pressure from the land by introducing technology based commerce and hand on skills which disengaged the society from the land to other commercial and industrial activities. Whdet will make people depend on skills than on land to live on.
In such a fashion, the land can be more tenable and productive to support the ever increasing population of the country. It would be infeasible to give land to everyone for the future and present generation. People must rely on skills. Although the current education system cannot deliver those skills, whdet has to figure out to make a radical change to the education system so that people who go to schools can get skills to be innovative, entrepreneurs than ones who look for jobs in America while they have all the opportunities at their backyard if they are thought the right way. Whdet will develop local rain water harvesting technology using local resources and also introduce such technologies from countries which are good at it.
Whdet Ideology will continue