On September 11, 2018 parliament passed an amendment to the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin (VFV) Land Management Law. This law has been criticized by many groups ranging from civil society groups to mining companies. The primary concern is that it will cause further insecurity for farmers and ethnic communities. For purposes of this report when we refer to the VFV Management land law we refer to both the original 2012 VFV and the 2018 amendment to it – which has introduced new problems for farmers.
Most of the lands classified as VFV are in ethnic rural areas and up to 10 million people live or rely on this land for their livelihood. The new law means that these people must now apply for 30-year concessions to use their own land. If they fail to do so and another group such as a company is awarded their land, they face up to two years in prison for trespass. While the amendment does exclude land being used under customary tenure from being classified as VFV, the law provides no definition of customary land or any procedure by which communities can register their land as customary.
This report presents new data from a survey of 290 farmers who depend on land classified as Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Land.