Giving power through Joint Land Ownership (JLO) in Nepal
'After the acquisition of joint land ownership I feel powerful in my household. Now, I have also access to land which we both (husband and wife) use for growing our children's well-being." Pangula Tharu and Chahari Tharuni, Bardiya.
Altogether 21 couples acquired JLO in 13.65 hectare of land in Bardiya district in 2018. To inform the importance of JLO, Community Self reliance Center (CSRC) has been conducting different campaigns at local level. The representatives of CSRC facilitated to collect documents for JLO.
Here are their stories.
Shiva Narayan Yadav of Mahottari district had been tilling land of landowner since his childhood. His father was also land tiller. Their family had been tilling land from Rana regime, but they did not have land rights certificate. The government announced a campaign to register tenant certificate of land in 1966. He acquired a tenancy certificate from the encampment organized by government of Nepal. Although he got the certificate the land was not registered in his name. The landlord used to live in Kathmandu. Shiva could not ask to register the land in his name with his landlord because it was difficult to speak in front of the landlord's at that time. The members of VLRF came to Yadav's house last year and took the information of tenancy certificate. They also briefed about his rights in land.
"I did not believe that I would get land from my landlord. However, I gave all answers what they had asked me".
A total of 12 people including the members of VLRF went to Kathmandu to see the landlord in November 2015. They stayed for two days in Kathmandu and discussed with the the landlord about the separation of land. After two day's discussion he was ready to separate land and also ready to provide land rights certificate to Yadav. Now, Yadav who was tilling landlord's land have 0.56 hectare of land. "I can do anything by taking loan from bank because I have my own land", Yadav said.
'I Acquired Power through Land': Dolmaya
Her name is Dol Maya Karki. She lives in Kisan Nagar of Mahottari district. Her parents never sent her to school due to poverty. Her parents forced her to be married to a farmer- Netra Bahadur Karki from Bardibas ward-6 Kishannagar, Mahottari district, southern plain of Nepal. Her husband's family was richer than she did, by owning 2 hectares of land. Though so, the total land of the family was registered on her step mother-in-law's name who claimed as a superior person in the family. She fell ill one day and the family members compelled to sell 0.63 hectare of land for her medical treatment. She finally died.
After the death of the step mother-in- law, Dolmaya's family members partitioned properties including the land. All portion of land she got from the family was registered under her husband's name. She, however, said nothing for fearing her husband.2
Albeit she heard the name of village land right forum (VLRF) in her village, she was totally unaware on what it was. One day she saw a crowd in Rastriya Primary School, and when she reached the school, she found that the crowd was a joint land ownership (JLO) encampment organized by VLRF. She shared her land ownership issue to the members of the VLRF, who later came to her house and convinced her husband. She and her husband have finally received JLO on 21 May 2017 issued y the district land revenue office, Mahottari. Now, she owns 0.133 hectare of land.
Rana Maya Katuwal, 56 years old, is a permanent resident of Sukoshi rural municipality-8 in Okhaldhunga district. She did not have any source of income before 2012. Ranamaya was completely dependent with her husband's and sons' income. She affiliated at Samabeshi VLRF of her Tole in 2012 as a member. She participated every meeting of VLRF and discussed about the problem of village. She was acquainted on the problem of landless people and importance of agro-based enterprises through the meeting.
"The DLRF members came to our meeting one day and asked us if we were interested in conducting vegetable farming, as per our request they were ready to provide training on vegetable farming."
Ranamaya participated in the training which was facilitated by agriculture expert in Okhaldhunga district. She learned about seasonal farming and preservation of vegetables from bacteria during the training. "When the trainers showed us a model of tomato farming I thought it was just like a dream." She recalled the training, "but it was true when I produced about a quintal of tomatoes in next year." She also shared that the DLRF provided her some seeds and tunnels for tomato farming.
Ranamaya earned Rs 15,000 by selling tomatoes in first year. According to her, she could not sell all production due to the lack of market at the beginning. After two years, she earned Rs 50,000 by selling vegetables. "Now I do not need to ask money with my sons and husband. I have cultivated chilies, turmeric including tomatoes in my farm and I hope I can sustain by selling the vegetables" Ranamaya smiled showing the fresh chilies.