The Effect of Land Conflicts on Food Security in Kasese District
Author: TINKASIMIRE BWAMBALE CLEOUS
Supervisor: Musinguzi Simon
This study investigated the effect of land conflicts on food security in Kasese district. Specifically, the study reviewed three objectives that were: to explore the nature of current land conflicts in Kasese district; to investigate the availability and access of land on sustainability of food in Kasese district; and, to examine the extent of land conflicts on food security in Kasese district. An exploratory and descriptive research survey designs were adopted using a representative sample of 445 who included community members, members of the district land board committee, members of the district production committee, politicians, opinion leaders and other community leaders. Self administered questionnaires, interview guides and documentary checklists were used to collect data from the respondents. The empirical data was analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative techniques to obtain the findings. The findings revealed that there are many factors that cause land conflicts in Kasese district which included inappropriate land laws and policies, inequitable distribution of land among ethnic groups, erroneous land tenure systems and high value speculations. The common land disputes occur between land lords and squatters, disputes between widows and family members, disputes between cultivators and cattle keepers and between communities and government institutions. It was revealed that land is not readily available and accessible to community members. The findings further revealed that there is no relationship between land availability and food sustainability; and that an increase in land conflicts lead to decline in availability and access to food . Lastly, the findings revealed that land conflicts play a reasonable role on food security in Kasese district. The study put it that land conflicts do not significantly cause decline in per capita income. At a tested P-value of 0.02 and correlation coefficient of 0.064, this implied that there was no correlation between the existence of land conflicts and per capita income. The study therefore concluded that the ambiguity in land laws, polices and related frameworks are the breed birth of land conflicts in Kasese district. Food security therefore depends on the land resources available to the households or communities and their ability to mobilize resources for the production and/or distribution of food to achieve an active and healthy life. The study also concluded that land availability and access do not necessarily cause food sustainability; and that land conflicts reduce productivity by 19.3% per plot of land. The study recommended that, there is a need to comprehensively review all existing land laws, policies and frameworks to iron out gaps which limit access and effective utilization of land in Kasese district. The study also recommended that there is a need for central government to redemacate part of public land including Queen Elizabeth National Park and this should however, be accompanied by equitable distribution among the different ethnic groups in Kasese district. Access to land and land tenure relations are critical where communities depend on control of land to ensure their food security. Further, government should empower lower Local governments like LCI councils to handle land matters in their appropriate mandate to reduce delays in handling land matters in high level courts since these leaders are close to the communities and are very familiar with the local setting. Similarly, government should build the capacity of lower level leadership and raise awareness of masses to ensure peaceful co-existence among different ethnic groups in Kasese district. The research finally recommended that food security should be fully integrated in all line Ministries and departments of government to ensure efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and sustainability.