Securing Her Land Rights in Tajikistan.

March 6, 2019

I have my own money; I can pay my expenses and taxes and divide the profits among family members who work with me.

Salomat Chorieva

Ms. Norbekova was formerly a farmer herself and is now a skilled tashabbuskor. She has consulted with more than 280 farmworkers to date, arming them with information on land rights through focus groups, roundtables, and group meetings. Her path first crossed with Ms. Chorieva’s in December 2017, at a land rights focus group meeting. The meeting sparked the inspiration Ms. Chorieva needed to begin her entrepreneurial journey.

Tashabbuskor Norbekova explained all heads of dehkan farms were men, yet women who served as the majority of farmworkers were [able] to own their own shares,” she recollects.

Since then, Ms. Norbekova has guided Ms. Chorieva to register her land, receive certification as the head of her farm, and find the resources to succeed in her business.

Ms. Norbekova’s efforts were fruitful in this case, but the work of tashabbuskors is not always easy. Challenges include servitude (in which farmers’ property is subject to easement); the intricacies of the land registration process; and barriers to gender equality (while women comprise approximately two-thirds of Tajikistan’s workforce, farms are predominantly owned by men.) However, like Ms. Chorieva, tashabbuskors are not working alone. Their efforts are sponsored and supported by LMDA, which trains tashabbuskors and equips them with the tools needed to tackle these tricky cases.

Behind the Scenes: Feed the Future LMDA

LMDA, funded by USAID and implemented by Chemonics, supports land use rights and reforms, thereby establishing a functional agricultural land market in Tajikistan. It focuses on capacity building and public awareness campaigns in the Khatlon province to create greater transparency in land administration. Using this framework, LMDA not only helps current generations of farmers, but also works to set up future generations for success.

More specifically, the project supports tashabbuskors like Ms. Norbekova by developing legal aid centers, providing legal and land rights training, and facilitating land transfer, including through automated land registration systems. In turn, tashabbuskors can guide women like Ms. Chorieva, who give back to their communities by contributing positively to market-based principles and promoting economic growth.

By helping Ms. Chorieva learn her rights and by training tashabbuskors to guide local farmers through the land-registration process, LMDA is working with local partners to unlock accessible land markets, paving the way for economic growth in Tajikistan and, eventually, for a transition away from donor assistance.

Ms. Chorieva is but one of the many beneficiaries positively affected by LMDA. To date, LMDA has supported 11 land-related policies and legal instructions that improve land rights and facilitate related processes. It has also supported the resolution of more than 224 land disputes, 90 of which were resolved by tashabbuskor mediation. During the first two years of implementation, nearly 70,000 farmers were trained on land-related topics, benefiting more than 30,000 households in the Khatlon province.