Cadastral Surveys: Addressing Territorial Disputes In Somaliland

By Abbas Idriss (John Drysdale) 
John Drysdale describes how Natural Area Codes and a Geographic Information System (GIS) database are enabling farmers in Somaliland to gain legal title to their land.

Abdi Hassan, a farmer in the Gabiley district of Somaliland, proudly holds out a laminated ID card to a visiting extension worker. The card is a land ownership certificate issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, and includes a headshot of Hassan, his name and a 10- digit code. `This code represents the exact location of my farm’, Hassan explains.

Somaliland’s NAC mapping process begins with land surveys (top) and culminates in land ownership certificates (below). Photos: Cadastral Surveys

`Every farmer in the area now has one. For generations, our farm land had not been formally surveyed, so there were no officially recognized boundaries. The authorities would not issue any land title deeds. The situation has been worse since the end of the civil war. When the farmers returned there were many disputes over land, which sometimes became violent. No more – our land boundaries are now indisputable’. >> More

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