Macha Mission in Choma District of Southern Province, Zambia was founded by the Brethren in Christ (BIC) Church in 1906 and granted title deeds to 3,003 hectares of land by the British colonial authority of the time. Since then the Mission has built a church, a hospital (which today includes a pioneering malaria clinic), two schools, and houses for its workers. A large market has grown up near the hospital, serving local workers and hospital visitors.
Local people, mainly from the Macha and Mapanza chiefdoms, have over the years settled on unused Mission land. Four villages were established, and by 2009 a total of 222 families were living on Mission land. Thirty-seven more families had fields but not homes on the land. Most were farmers, growing crops (mainly maize, groundnuts, and beans) and rearing livestock (cattle, goats, pigs, and chickens). A few individuals combined farming with small-scale food trading businesses at the market.
Since taking over the land, PrivaServe/Macha Works has planted a large jatropha field. It has also built an airstrip, an internet café, a radio station, a restaurant, a guesthouse, and a private school. There have been some positive impacts from this, such as the provision of formal employment (around 113 people work for the various development projects) and the provision of education services and new facilities such as the restaurant (although both the school and restaurant are too expensive for most local people).
However, these benefits are far outweighed by the negative impacts. People have lost their homes and the land on which they grazed their animals and grew their crops. Most have harvested little, if anything, this year, and as a result food insecurity has increased. Most of the households interviewed complain of hunger.
The study team is strongly of the view that reform of Zambia’s land laws is necessary to prevent such situations occurring in the future.
Authors and Publishers
John T. Milimo,
Joy H. Kalyalya,
The International Land Coalition (ILC) is a coalition of civil society and intergovernmental organizations promoting secure and equitable access to and control over land for poor women and men thro