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New actors and land acquisition around Lake Bazèga. Burkina Faso

Sayouba Ouédraogo

Issue paper, 44 pages

In Burkina Faso, undeveloped rural lands, especially fertile wetlands, are being appropriated by a new type of farmer known as the ‘new actor’. Supported by government policy and attempting to modernize agriculture through agribusiness, these new actors are mainly active or retired officials from the public and private sectors, commercial managers, salesmen and politicians from large urban centres, or rural people that have made money rearing livestock or through business. By making these new actors key players in rural land relations, the government strategically avoids direct engagement with customary land management rules that proved so controversial in the past. This latest encounter between modern and customary land regimes is an opportunity to re-establish a rapport between urban and rural citizens and between modern and traditional agriculture. This study looks at the process around Lake Bazèga in central southern Burkina Faso, where private operators have cultivated orchards for several decades. This report looks at the study which had two major objectives: (i) to highlight the different ways that actors use legal and customary arrangements in land transactions; and (ii) to show, through case studies of conflict, the strengths and weaknesses of the various options, the roles played by the different decision-making bodies and the strategies adopted by the actors involved.

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