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Programme de Conservation et de Gestion des Ressources Naturelles - Bénin ProCGRN. Benin: Linking Land Rights to Land Use Planning. “Conference on New challenges for Land Policy and Administration „ 14 - 15 February, 2008 Washington, USA.

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Programme de Conservation

et de Gestion des Ressources

Naturelles - BéninProCGRN

Benin: Linking Land Rights to Land Use Planning

“Conference on New challenges for Land Policy and Administration „

14 - 15 February, 2008 Washington, USA

why give support to a sustainable natural resources in benin
Why give support to a sustainable natural resources in Benin?
  • Agriculture and forestry are the driving force of the national economy
  • cotton is the major commercial crop (40% of exportation revenue)
  • Huge potentials are untapped
  • But the sustainability of natural resources is at risk implying vital challenges for rural municipalities
benin republic at a glance some characteristic figures
Benin Republic at a glance (some characteristic figures)
  • West African country (eastern neighbour = Nigeria)
  • Area : 114.763 sq. km
  • Population : 8.053.690 inhabitants (3.3 % of rate of growth)
  • GDP (2005 ): $8.6 billion.Real GDP growth rate (2005): 3.9%.
  • Per capita GDP (2005): $1,100.
  • Inflation rate (2005): 3.2%.
land tenure characteristics in benin
Land tenure characteristics in Benin
  • Co-existence of traditional and modern laws regulating access to land.
  • Individual rights in the south and common property/ heritage management in the centre and the north.
  • High pressure in the south, semi-arid climate and fertile land scarcity in the western north push peasant from both side to migrate into the centre.
  • More and more land commodification in the south mainly in the suburb of urban area.
  • Arrangements/transactions are usually verbal /unwritten, therefore can be denied.
  • The resulting insecurity hamper medium and long term investments in sustainable production and perennial crops (e.g.: migrant in derived rights situation is not allowed to grow trees).
  • Natural resources are degrading increasingly and soil fertility depleting as well.
  • Increasing conflicts e.g. between farmers and transmigratingherders
  • Access to land is gender biased (unless she buys, woman has no inheritance right; herder even settled has limited right over land)
problem solving approach of german development cooperation
Problem solving approach of German Development cooperation
  • Face to the problems mentioned above, the following activities have been developed :
  • Participatory establishment of land use plans at village level (179 villages);
  • Local user conventions
  • Establishment of Rural Land Plan or simplified cadastral plan (41 pilot villages) and participatory mechanisms to up-date them;
  • Feasibility of using GPS techniques for land surveying have been successfully tested to ensure future scaling-up;
  • Land use plans at District level (scaling-up the experience developed at village level);
  • Process facilitation and technical support of the elaboration of the new land legislation;
  • Proposal of institutional setting / framework and sustainable funding mechanism for the implementation of the law.
securing fair access to land for all in rural area the plan foncier rural
Securing fair access to land for all in rural area: the Plan Foncier Rural
  • Land titles (title-deed) are the legally recognized instrument which guarantees property rights over land . However, land titles are not wide-spread in Benin‘s rural areas, as the procedures to obtains them are complex, very time-consuming and thus expensive.
  • The Government of Benin has then decided in 1992 to introduce the Rural Land Plan (Plan foncier rural) as a tool to provide secured access to land in rural area .
  • The instrument has been tested from 1992 to 1998 in different agro-ecological zones of the country
  • In 2000, the approach of Plan Foncier Rural has been adopted as central tool of the new rural land law which was in preparation.




Organising aerial photos campaign

Organising basic documents for mapping

Map of plots

Drafting map of plots and Land register

Informing the target population

Land register

Land surveying

Investigating regional level tenure system

Publishing the documents

Lexiques des normes et termes fonciers locaux

Getting ready the final documents

Investigating Village level tenure system

The Process of establishment of a plan foncier rural










  • Nbr of villages : 04
  • - Total area: 20.000 ha
  • - Average plots size: 46ha


- Nbr of villages : 07 - Total area : 8.522 ha

- Average size of plots : 5 ha









































- Nbr of villages : 08 - Total area : 9.000 ha

- Average size of plots : 46 ha

  • Nbr of villages : 07
  • - Total area : 8.099 ha
  • - Average size of plots : 35 ha







Zogba Trékou









  • Nbr of villages : 08
  • - Total area : 6.754 ha
  • - Average size of plots : 4 ha
  • Nbr of villages : 07
  • - Total area: 4.279 ha
  • - Average size of plots : 4 ha









Tokanmè Aliho



Tokanmè Kpodji











A. Bata



A. Cossoé




Réalisation : Daniel TOSSOU



Pilot Villages


PGTRN / MAI 2003


Total nbr of villages : 41

impacts of rlp pfr on pilot sites 1
Impacts of RLP/PFR on pilot sites (1)
  • Land conflicts are reduced

Source : Survey 2006

+++: very frequent; ++: frequent; +: almost inexistent

impacts of pfr on pilot sites 2
Impacts of PFR on pilot sites (2)
  • Significant reduction of conflicts over land
  • Recognition of women's right to land inheritance
  • Transmission of long-term land use rights (25-30 years)
  • investissment on the long run: reforestation, land reclamation (erosion control and soil fertility improvement measures)
  • Significant increase of incomes
  • Access to credits (100.000 - 400.000 FCFA) also outside the cotton sector
major advantages of the new law
Certificate will be delivered to land owner at the end of operations (against a payment not yet stated : probably a token)

Certificate can be transformed into title-deed at a much lower cost that it uses to be (e.g. : no registration fees if plot not bought; with the map of plots, no charge for pre-demarcation).

Farmers can use Certificate as pledge to get access to credit.

Major advantages of the new law
the role of communal authorities
The role of communal authorities

It is the mayor who :

Transmits the demands from the villages for the establishment of PFR;

Launches and closes the operations;

Delivers the certificates;

Transmits the requests for transforming certificates into title-deed;

Insures the conservation of the documents (maps of plots and land registers)

Manages the land information and insures its updating.

There are land management committees both at village and communal levels.

updating the pfr
Updating the PFR
  • According to the new land law, every transaction of land must be registered.
  • To this end, the following tools have been developed :
  • A register to record the different transactions
  • A textbook/ guidelines on the process of updating PFR
  • Different models to facilitate written arrangements/ contracts (loan/ lease, donation, tree growing, purchasing…);
  • A land information management system has been developed (coupled with a GIS)
  • Appropriate equipment (hardware and software) donated to and training organized for the communal authorities;
  • At village level all transaction are registered by village committees in charge of land management. Contract models have been provided to these committees.
  • Communal (District level) land management committees are in charge of up-dating the land register on a five (5) years period basis.
  • As a sustainable technical support and funding mechanism has not yet been developed, up-dating of land registers has been supported so far by ProCGRN.
  • But proposal for mounting such a mechanism is already on the table.
what has been successful
What has been successful?
  • Great acceptance of PFR by rural population resulting into a high demand;
  • Existence of textbooks/ guidelines on the process of elaboration and updating PFR making easier its replication.
  • Successful test of GPS to cut down the time required for completing a PFR (from 8-12 months to 6) and to improve measurements/ surveying accuracy. Possibly the cost but not yet verified.
  • A new land law has been voted (early this very year)
  • Good collaboration between the different donors in the field of land reform (GTZ, AFD, Kfw, UNDP, DANIDA, MCC / MCA-BENIN)
  • Synergy between GTZ and KfW: from 2006 common (shared) strategy for scaling-up.
  • GTZ know-how acknowledged (recognized) in the field of developing appropriate tool for rural tenure system management : Contract of realization of 300 PFR between GTZ-IS and MCA / BENIN
was has not worked
Was has not worked?
  • Lack of Leadershipand strategy to develop the required capacities by the Ministry in charge of the land policy reform;
  • Inexistence of baseline situation/ information : rendering difficult to prove impacts.
  • Insufficient capacities (human and financial resources) at communal level, then difficult to implement new law.
duration of surveying operations on pilot sites
Duration of surveying operations on pilot sites
  • Depends on :
  • The extent to which plots are divided up (a lot fo small plots takes longer to be surveyed)
  • The size of the area to cover.
  • Owners availability
  • Whether transect lines and plots demarcation (staking plots corners) are prepared or not before the surveying operations start up)
the cost of land title deed
The cost of land title-deed
  • 300.000 F CFA (600 US $ or 428 €) per plot measuring 500 sq. m and costing 800.000 FCA (1600 US $ or 1,142 €).
  • 100.000 F CFA with a pilot project on a sample of 2,000 plots
prospect for the future
Prospect for the future
  • All the donors showing interest for the land reform are putting their efforts together in order to help the Benin Government settle down a national programme
  • the major objective of the programme is to give support to the implementation of the newly adopted rural land law .
  • It means mainly, developing the required capacities at communal and village levels.
  • Success relies on the existence of an effective institutional framework and a sustainable financial mechanism.
  • The trend is toward creating a common basket fund which will be self-managed by a national Agency.