March 8, 2004

Land law translated into the vernaculars

Mozambican Agriculture Minister Helder Muteia has announced that, with the translation of the country's land law and its regulations into four Mozambican languages, the conditions have been established for peasant farmers to increase their opportunities to make use of the land for agricultural production and food security. Previously the Land Law, passed by the country's parliament in 1997, was only available in Portuguese. Although it is the country's official language, the vast majority of rural Mozambicans speak little or no Portuguese. The legislation is now also available in Shangaan, one of the main languages of southern Mozambique, Sena and Ndau, spoken in the central provinces, and Macua, the principal language of the north. Muteia promised that further translations, into other Mozambican languages, and also into English, would follow. The translation into the first four languages cost about US $ 24,000. According to the minister, the translations would help guarantee that vulnerable rural populations could be involved in a participatory dialogue concerning the use of land as a natural resource, and as one of the pillars of the government's poverty reduction strategy. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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