São Tomé and Príncipe government monitors abandonment of agricultural land

The São Tomé and Príncipe government will “soon” start a programme of inspection and monitoring of agricultural land, especially plots that have been abandoned, the Minister of Agriculture, Francisco do Ramos said recently.

The minister, after saying that most of the land granted by the state under the agricultural assistance privatisation programme is in a “total state of neglect”, added that “in order to change this state of affairs we will soon begin the inspection and monitoring of all agricultural plots, whether small, medium or large.”

“In order to realise this policy we understand that the only way forward will be to transform our subsistence agriculture into a business, which must respect pragmatic issues such as profitability of production, growth mechanisms, brand image, quality certification, distribution, promotion and sale.”

The 2007 Charter for Agricultural Policy, Rural Development and Fisheries showed that 28,367 hectares of arable land were distributed in the country, with 69.7% to small farmers, 0.2% to medium-sized entrepreneurs and 30.1% to other citizens.

Industry experts cited by the STP-Press news agency noted that the lack of registration of plots granted, lack of authority in companies, indiscriminate logging and environmental degradation, lack of investment, and deficiencies in land law were some of the problems that led to the failure of the scheme. (Macauhub)