FAO aiding counties in modernising systems of land governance

Marsabit County which has for decades relied on land services from outside, has established a Geographic Information System (GIS) laboratory sponsored jointly by the UN agency Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the national government.

FAO which has assisted eight other counties in not only digitizing services at land registries but also modernising control of land systems is spending US $ 13 million on the project set to end in 2021.

Dr. Gabriel Rugalema the FAO country Director said that with funding from the EU forthcoming, the organisation seeks to grow the number of benefiting counties by another 15.

The country director who was officiating at the handing over of the GIS lab and devices at the department of Lands, Energy and Urban Development said the new system would assist the county government and the ministry of lands in planning for the management of the vital resource.

“By modernising systems of land governance we are helping Kenya to meet the demands of the constitution for accelerated development and enriched standards of living for Kenyans,” said the country director.

He observed that all counties have to establish GIS labs as a constitutional requirement in order to attract resources and funding that would stimulate and sustain productivity.

Dr. Rugalema said the lab which was established with the county government providing the infrastructure that will enable geo-mapping, fair and equitable allocation of resources and planning for livelihoods that include livestock to be done with ease and minimal cost.

The country director said the new system that will enable titling of land at the county level would also assist in alleviating corruption in a big way as GIS gives the community a chance to monitor how their resources were being used.

 Marsabit residents will also be able to put into productive use time spent in seeking the services in far off places like Meru, Isiolo and even Nairobi hence accelerating development.

“We also intend to increase the number of trained GIS officers to over 200 so as to make the labs more effective as one stop shops for land services and access to information on investment” he said.

FAO Country Director Dr Gabriel Rugalema hands over GIS equipment to Marsabit Deputy Governor Solomon Gubo that will be used to collect information on land and all spheres of development for planning purposes in the county. Ministry of Lands ICT Director Mboni Kyalo (partly hidden in white shirt) looks on.

He observed that all counties have to establish GIS labs as a constitutional requirement in order to attract resources and funding that would stimulate and sustain productivity.

Dr Rugalema who was accompanied by Ministry of Lands ICT Director Mboni Kyalo, Marsabit county deputy governor Solomon Gubo and the CEC for Lands Ms Kulamo Bullo handed over   GIS devices that will be used in collecting data in the four sub-counties of Moyale, North Horr, Laisamis and Saku.

The multi-million shilling project funded by the European Union (EU) and which started in 2014 on pilot basis in Turkana and Tana River counties has seen over 100 GIS officers trained and employed to assist in running the labs in the eight counties.

Dr Rugalema disclosed that Vihiga County is also benefitting from the programme after it was enlisted as a self-starter in modernizing its system of land governance.

In his remarks, Mr Gubo noted that 97 per cent of land in Marsabit County was community owned owing to their pastrolalism way of life and that the residents were being sensitized on the constitutional requirement.

The deputy governor added that registration of land parcels was important as that was the only way of attracting funding for development and exploitation of available resources.

While thanking the donor for the assistance Mr. Gubo said “We are grateful for the assistance and I can assure you that we are going to use the new technology to plan for development for this county and our people”.

Ministry of Lands ICT director asked the county government to make use of the facility which he said would help spur growth if utilized for the intended purpose.

Mr Kyalo said that the essential service will now be readily available to the residents and would save them the agony of travelling long distances as titling and printing will be done in Marsabit.

He said it was the policy of the government to decentralize land services to enable residents to acquire title deeds that they could use as collateral to acces finances to initiate development and investment at personal and communal level.


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