There are 85 irrigation schemes in Niger that cover around 16,000 ha and are cultivated by 40,000 farmers. The informal status of these irrigation schemes, and their occupants, has created problems due to population growth and the increasing scarcity of natural resources. Holders of traditional land rights have challenged government decisions concerning land attributions and property rights within the schemes, and have occasionally prevented construction from proceeding.
Access to Land & Tenure Security
Land tenure is the relationship, whether legally or customarily defined, among people, as individuals or groups, with respect to land. (For convenience, "land" is used here to include other natural resources such as water and trees.) Land tenure is an institution, i.e., rules invented by societies to regulate behaviour. Rules of tenure define how property rights to land are to be allocated within societies. They define how access is granted to rights to use, control, and transfer land, as well as associated responsibilities and restraints. In simple terms, land tenure systems determine who can use what resources for how long, and under what conditions.
Land tenure is an important part of social, political and economic structures. It is multi-dimensional, bringing into play social, technical, economic, institutional, legal and political aspects that are often ignored but must be taken into account. Land tenure relationships may be well-defined and enforceable in a formal court of law or through customary structures in a community. Alternatively, they may be relatively poorly defined with ambiguities open to exploitation.