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Thailand: Issuance of Community Land Title Deeds in an Effort to Push for Land Distribution
Source: thailand.prd.go.th
Source Date: Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Country: Thailand
Created: Jul 12, 2010

The Government has set up a new office to handle community land title deeds in an attempt to push for land distribution and tackle the issue of land rights for poor farmers.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on 5 July 2010 presided over the opening of the new office, which is located at the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, Government House, in Bangkok.

The establishment of the office will accelerate the setting up of land banks and the granting of land rights to farmers, in response to the public demand. A regulation on the introduction of community land title deeds was approved by the Cabinet and took effect on 12 June 2010. The regulation led to the setting up of the office to handle land title deeds and the formation of a committee to coordinate this issue between the public sector, land owners, communities, and the people.

It is also in line with the policy of the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration, which seeks to protect and conserve land that is suitable for farming, with developed irrigation infrastructure already in place. The objectives are to rehabilitate soil quality and provide land for poor farmers through the establishment of land banks and the acceleration of the issuance of land rights certificates in the form of community land title deeds for poor farmers and communities living on state land that is no longer forest land. The policy also calls for the support of agricultural development in the form of agricultural estates.

All farmers want to have farmland of their own, which will be passed on to their children and grandchildren, so that they will not have to migrate into cities in search of jobs. Many farmers have made used of vacant plots of land for earning a living, but they are facing the problem of encroaching public land, resulting in land right disputes, which are difficult to settle. In addition, many small farmers who have grow cash crops and biofuel plants have been exploited by corporations, and finally, because of economic pressure, they have to sell their farmland.

Prime Minister Abhisit pointed out that the introduction of community land title deeds is considered a starting point in solving the problem of farmland needed for making a living. The next step is to issue a law governing the granting of land rights for the benefit of the people. In the initial stage, he said, the allocation of community land title deeds would, at least, lead to the settlement of many land right disputes.

The Government’s policy on land distribution is connected with three major issues: poverty, social justice, and sustainable development. Since the Government realizes that the strengthening of the Thai economy in the future will depend on agriculture, in terms of food and energy production, the granting of land rights for farmers is crucial to enable the country to achieve this aim. Therefore, this issue of community land title deeds has received great attention from the Government.
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