Webinar with journalists on Land Royalties in Cameroon
The issue of land royalty in Cameroon has raised a lot of concern especially from local communities because the value of the land that they lose to agro-industries compared to their share of the royalty payment is very insignificant. That is why it is important to generate a debate on this issue which has been neglected especially at a moment when the reform of the land legislation is ongoing in Cameroon. The absence of debate on land royalties leaves limited information available to the public.
As part of the implementation of the LandCam project, The Network for the Fight Against Hunger, RELUFA on Wednesday 26th August 2020, organized a webinar on Land Royalties in Cameroon. The objective of the webinar was to build the capacities of journalists and raise their interest in reporting on the neglected issue of land royalties in Cameroon. In all some 25 persons including 14 journalists, participated in the two hours webinar (2 pm to 4 pm). The LandCam team did a presentation on the challenges related to Land Royalties in Cameroon, payment modalities, beneficiaries, gaps in the legislation, and possible topics for investigative reports.
A number of aspects were identified as challenges that need to be in relation to the issue of land royalties in Cameroon such as:
- The absence of a definitive regulation establishing the prices to be paid by agro-industries operating in the national lands;
- The lack of harmonization of the annual land royalty payment and redistribution modalities Some actors use a decentralized system that allows checks to be given directly to beneficiaries at the local level, while other agribusinesses pay their land royalties into a central treasury in Yaounde;
- The lack of equity in the land royalty allocation mechanism;
- Limited transparency and inefficiency in the management of land royalties funds etc.
In the context of the ongoing land reform in Cameroon, the following recommendations were made as possible pathways to addressing the challenges with land royalties in Cameroon:
- Carry out a systematic and exhaustive inventory of all lands that are under the private property of the state that is occupied and granted to private operators;
- Adopt the regulations establishing the prices to be paid by agro-industries as provided in Article 16 of Decree No. 76-166, the time of payment and the modalities of redistribution, use, monitoring and evaluation of the annual land royalties, avoiding bureaucratic circuits involving additional transaction costs;
- Institute or systematize annual land royalties for land concessions in both national and in the private state property;
- Raise the share of the annual land royalties to be allocated to communities;
- Institute local committees for the management of annual land royalties that include municipal authorities, men, women, youth, and the indigenous people living along with the land concessions.