Urban land supply a ticking time bomb, says Dr Foukona
By ANDREW FANASIA
THE Honiara City urban land supply is running out whilst people are encroaching into the customary land outside the town boundary.
This can be seen as a ticking time bomb if authorities do not act now, says local Land Expert Dr Joe Foukona.
He made this staggering sentiment during the Yumi Toktok Forum (YTTF), open forum in Honiara last week, as a guest speaker.
The urban State land in Solomon Islands is under a great deal of pressure not because of increasing informal settlers but because of its Land Tenure System, he said.
Dr Foukona stressed that due to the rapid increase in rural-to-urban migration and population growth, land in Honiara has become a limited resource.
As a result, many business people, middle class income earners from other provinces like Malaita, Isabel, and Western including Guadalcanal landowners continue to struggle to access and acquire urban land.
He added that one of the effects of urbanization to the land tenure system is the increase of informal settlements in Honiara.
“Ministry of lands and other related land authorities must act now or else we are going to feel the pinch of this issue in the near future,” the senior University of South Pacific (USP) Law lecturer, said.
Dr Foukona also pointed out that the rate of urbanisation in Honiara is about 4.7 percent per year in terms of expansion.
“It is estimated that by 2050 the population in Honiara will increase to about 350,000 which is actually 250,000 more than the current Honiara population,” he added.
A Guadalcanal landowner also spoke out during the forum and said the government must be responsible when it comes to land matters around Honiara.
“People from other provinces are starting to slowly creeping into our customary land and claimed it as TOL,” the landowner said.
He added that the government must also address these land issues around the town boundary.
Meanwhile, Dr Foukona told the open forum that this is an issue now and the authorities must manage our land inside the town boundary to avoid future catastrophe.