Awareness program on land litigation and afforestation

Justice & Peace

This year, Madagascar experienced drought which retarded cultivation of food crops and planting in general. The fear is that the country may experience famine in the long run. According to the analyses made, we believe that, this might have been caused by the global climate change which is being caused by the behavior of man vis-à-vis creation. Normally, the rains set in, in late November. Nevertheless, they arrived in March. Very soon, the winter season will begin and many crops will not survive if no divine miracle is performed.

In Madagascar in general, trees are fell for building and construction of houses, boats, canoes, roads etc and for farm lands: charcoals are also produced. Most at times, the trees felled are not replaced. This affects man in the long run. And if measures are not taken, this beautiful island can become a desert in the future, where animals, plants and human beings will find it difficult to survive.
To address the problems of afforestation and of illegal tree felling, the local council of Mahela called on the coordinator of JPIC to come to their aid. That is the reason why the coordinator invited officers of the forestry department and the topological department to talk to the local population on the need to replant (afforestation) more trees (when they are felled) to curb the problem of climate change which is having immense effect on us. This gathering took place in the end of March 2017.

The officer from the topological department gave a talk on Land and its related issues because this, most at times leads to fights and death. He advised that because of poverty, land issues be resolved on the village level through the help of village chiefs to save time, money and personal and family dignity. According to him, all lands belong to the state. He added that there is lack of land titles in the whole of Madagascar. Many lands are not registered legally and this might cause a lot of problems in the future. He advised that names of owner of land registered be changed in the law court with the help of lawyers and the officers of the survey and topological department in case of death or the sale of land. Witnesses are needed. Homologation of lands, certificate of sale and buying are all necessary to prevent unforeseen problems. He reiterated on the right and responsibilities of all owners and buyers of land.

The officer from the forestry department insisted that one needs a special permission and authorization from their office to cut or log trees, to burn lands and forest, even if it belongs to him or her, otherwise a fine is imposed on those who (transgress the law) cut or log trees without permission. Failure to comply with the law is prosecution at the law court. He stressed that a payment is made in the form of replanting trees to replace felled ones. He counselled that there should be a Communal forest reserve to curb the climate change and for future use since the community cannot do without felling trees. He clearly spelt out the right and responsibilities of all vis-à-vis felling of trees. He added that deforestation also leads to erosion. Here, he gave a long lecture on its negative effects on man.
The number of people who participated in the workshop and talk was very encouraging in spite of the bad weather that day. It rained all day. People from all walks of life and from different religious background were present and many questions were asked. From their faces, one could conclude that the population was satisfied but then they asked that the same program be organize at another time for the benefit of those who couldn’t make it because of the rains.

SVD  JPIC Coordinator