EDITORIAL: Land management should begin today

Fears are growing that with the current population growth and the pace of urbanization, a food crisis could be looming in the shadows as more and more arable land is being gobbled up at an alarming rate.

Fears are growing that with the current population growth and the pace of urbanization, a food crisis could be looming in the shadows as more and more arable land is being gobbled up at an alarming rate.

That is inevitable and the government has been gearing for it, but is the wider population aware of the consequences of unplanned urban growth.

Rwandans have an attachment to land and everyone jealously guards the little they own to see their dream come true by putting up a bungalow in case economic luck smiles upon them. But their gaze is glued to the ground; they hardly shift it upwards to figure out how they can exploit the space above their plots.

Few people can afford to build a six-storey apartment block on a small piece of land, but all that can be overcome with the power of unity. If a group of people can pool ideas to build a block of flats, they can easily convince financial institutions to come up with the funds.

A good example is the many shopping malls that are sprouting up around Kigali, many are owned by cooperatives. Why can’t the idea be applied on the residential scene and people build going upwards to make good use of scarce space?

That is what the housing authorities should be promoting as well as putting in place legislation to guide space management of what could soon be the most precious item – land. The sooner authorities make it their priority, the better.

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