The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations are developing voluntary guidelines on good governance for land, fisheries and forests to generate income for farmers to maintain ecosystem services.
RICS says better management of agricultural land is required to ensure immediate economic needs and food demands are balanced against long term productivity.
The West Africa Regional Manager for RICS, Benjamin Manu, says part of the international land management standards is ensuring that there is consistent and comparable land tenure rights globally.
“All these bodies including the FAO realised that to be able to make sure that we have sustainable development over a long term, land is critical. Land is critical because it is a critical property for everybody. Globally, we need to make sure that we have uniform sustainable comparable way of measuring land so that land owners, users are assured of the benefits of having land,” he stated during RICS stakeholders meeting in Accra.
The meeting was organised by RICS in collaboration with Broll Ghana, to introduce International Property Measurement Standards and International Valuation Standards to stakeholders in the construction and built industry. The event was also used to mark the beginning of operations of RICS in the ECOWAS region with Ghana serving as the hub of RICS’ operations in West Africa.
Manu continues that measuring land in a common manner results in long term benefits for any infrastructure that occupies the land, compared to a situation where there are no consistencies which leads to conflicts and misunderstanding which eventually discourages investment.
Sustainable intensification, protection of soil and crops as well as mitigation against natural disasters are some of the practices being implemented in agricultural sectors.
Earlier this month, standards bodies representing land professionals in more than 150 countries met at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome to establish the guidelines–which will become the first globally applicable framework for recording land information under the globally agreed Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure in a drive to improve tenure security, land rights, access to investment and economic development.
At the meeting in FAO meeting in Rome, RICS Standards Director, James Kavanagh said, the guidelines will allow countries to benchmark risk and improve public confidence in land ownership and exchange.
This is a landmark effort by the professional organisations responsible for training, qualifying and in many cases regulating experts in land surveying, land management, cadastre, valuation and registration.
Manu emphasised that the guidelines is in the process of drafting and later followed by some consultations with stakeholders for review.
RICS believes that land professionals need to be familiar with emerging technologies, such as precision farming techniques to advice clients on sustainable practices, especially, when research shows that by 2030, the world is expected to require 50% more food, 45% more energy and 30% more water than in 2012.
By Samuel Hinneh