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Land tenure

One of the Eldis RSS newsfeeds on major development issues

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Alliances for Religions and Conservations (ARC) “Faith Engagement in Climate Smart Agriculture and Sustainable Land Management in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda

10 Jun 2016 06:11:49 GMT

This is a desk appraisal of the Alliances for Religions and Conservations (ARC) done for the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) by the Department of International Environment and Development Studies, Noragric, at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU).

Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and the fisheries, livestock and crop sectors: adjustments in the pasture leases

16 Mar 2016 12:50:59 GMT

This study focuses on the responses of pasture leases to the possibility of agrarian reforms by using the survey of 145 pasture leases in Masbate, Bukidnon and South Cotabato where pasture leases where concentrated. This paper relies mainly on the descriptive method of analysis. Results indicate the opening up of pasture leases to bidding for the most productive use of the land subject to the clear-cut regulations that such activities be environmentally and economically sustainable.

DAR, land reform-related agencies and the CARP: A study of government and alternative approaches to land acquisition and distribution

10 Mar 2016 05:11:49 GMT

This study examines the land acquisition and distribution process of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) by analyzing the nature and extent of participation of the various government agencies. Attempts are also made in identifying the areas where land reform can be hastened. While there are opportunities for change, the paper concludes that the overall impact of these changes on land reform may not be as large in terms of area coverage. Generally, there are many agencies involved in land reform, many documents required and many check and balance systems have been instituted that tend to prolong the land acquisition process.

Land accumulation dynamics in developing country agriculture

09 Mar 2016 01:58:44 GMT

Understanding land accumulation dynamics is relevant for policymakers interested in the economic effects of land inequality in developing country agriculture. This Working Paper explores and simultaneously tests the leading theories of microlevel land accumulation dynamics using unique panel data from Paraguay. The results suggest that farm growth varies systematically with farm size – a formal rejection of stochastic growth theories (that is, Gibrat's Law) – and that titled land area may have considerable infuence on land accumulation. Furthermore, the authors' estimates indicate that a dualistic agrarian structure is the likely product of the unfettered operation of land markets.

Agricultural sector assessment for St. Kitts and Nevis

04 Mar 2016 10:07:49 GMT

This study presents the findings of an agricultural assessment for St. Kitts and Nevis in 1983 funded by USAID.

It suggests that more intensive use of labour and land could occur if individuals or groups of individuals have more widespread and secure access to government controlled land. The paper recommends that a project be developed that assists several hundred people to become farm operators, through land purchase arrangements or long term land leases, on land that is government controlled.

CARP institutional assessment in a post-2008 transition scenario: toward a new rural development architecture

03 Mar 2016 12:25:21 GMT

The main objective of the paper is to explore possible institutional arrangements among the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), Philippines, implementing agencies in a post-2008 transition scenario for CARP. There were three reasons cited for the implementation of the agrarian reform program, namely: (i) to increase productivity, (ii) to reduce inequality particularly in the countryside, and (iii) to address one of the main causes of the persistent Communist insurgency in the country.

After reviewing previous studies on new institutional arrangements, the paper recommends the following based on two scenarios. For scenario 1: (extension of CARP for another 7 to 10 years), the following are proffered: a) shifting manpower and resources toward units in DAR that are engaged in LAD and AJD; b) identification and publication of privately agricultural lands that will be covered by the LAD component; c) retooling of DAR personnel to assist in establishing agricultural enterprises out of a partnership between ARBs and agribusiness firms; d) providing capacity-building training for LGUs in preparation for the closure of the program; and e) exerting efforts to collect amortization payments from the ARBs.

For Scenario 2 (closure of CARP is envisioned in the next 3 to 5 years), the following are recommended: a) an attractive retirement package should be given to DAR personnel; b) creation of a Land Tenure Administration; c) conversion of PARC into a Joint Commission on Rural Development (JCRD); d) renaming of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD); e) capacitating LGUs to provide support services to the ARBs; f) passage of a “Progressive Agricultural Land Tax” for private agricultural lands and “Progressive Rents” for public lands; and g) deregulation of land tenure contracts and land markets.

CARP institutional assessment in a Post-2008 transition scenario: implications for Land Administration and Management (LAM)

03 Mar 2016 12:19:55 GMT

The objective of this paper is to present the land administration and management (LAM) issues on CARP and determine the necessary institutional reforms on LAM in view of CARP expiration in 2008. The paper discussed the adverse effects brought about by weak land policy and poor land administration on attaining the objectives of CARP. The poor land records, the lack of information sharing among government land agencies, the tedious land titling and registration process, the unclear land policies have resulted not only in prolonged implementation of the program but also flawed land redistribution and incomplete transfers of property rights. These outcomes evolved second-generation issues as “unperfected” titles are traded despite the restrictions imposed by the land reform law. The current LAM in the country showed that the system cannot handle the land transactions that evolve and continue to evolve from hundreds and thousands of transactions involving CARP-awarded lands. There is a need to restore not only the confidence on Torrens system of titling on agriculture lands but also to restore the functioning of the rural land market. This is a key challenge on LAM since it would require reconciling information from key land agencies and including that of the LandBank. It will also require legislative actions on land market regulations, land use policy, and land administration in the country.

Land rental market activity in agrarian reform areas: evidence from the Philippines

03 Mar 2016 10:58:51 GMT

Using data from 3,120 farm households surveyed in 2000 and 2006, the paper tests for factors that affect the degree and extent of households’ participation in the rural land rental market. The survey period coincided with the full implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) which imposes restriction on the conveyance and transfer (including rental) of all lands awarded under the program.

Econometric results show that the rural land rental market is not functioning efficiently. Transaction costs in land leasing are significant resulting in high proportion of nonparticipants and incomplete adjustment toward desired cultivated area for households that participate in the market. Moreover, the poor and landless have limited access to the land rental market since participation in the market is not determined by agricultural ability but is strongly influenced by endowment of land and access to formal credit. While households with less land tend to rent-in more land, the demand for land increases for household owning land more than five hectares.

On the other hand, the wealth bias of rural credit market is creating more barriers for the poor to access land. The poor has been able to participate in the rental market through share tenancy arrangements but dependence on informal credit markets constrains them to operate desired cultivated area. The twin effects of inefficient land rental market and credit market imperfections can offset labor advantages of family farms and cause farms to operate below optimal level. The need to achieve an efficient farm size is critical for rural development and should be viewed separately from land ownership. In particular, the land rental market plays a critical role in access to land by the poor and in households’ adjustment to an optimal farm size. It would thus be desirable for the government to improve the regulatory framework for the land rental market to operate efficiently.

Transnational agrarian movements struggling for land and citizenship rights

05 Feb 2016 11:37:32 GMT

Rural citizens have increasingly begun to invoke perceived citizenship rights at transnational level, such that rural citizen engagements today have the potential to generate new meanings of global citizenship.

La Vía Campesina has advocated for, created and occupied a new citizenship space that did not exist before at the global governance terrain – a public space distinct for poor peasants and small farmers from the global South and North. La Vía Campesina’s transnational campaign in protest against neoliberal land policies is a good illustration of this in the sense that rural citizens of different countries collectively invoke their rights to define what land and land reform mean to them, struggle for their rights to have rights in reframing the terms of the global land policymaking, and demand accountability from international development institutions. It has been inherently linked with campaigns for land and citizenship rights. One of the outcomes of this initiative is that the public space created and occupied by various civil society groups got expanded. Such space has also been rendered much more complex, with the subsequent creation of various layers of sub-spaces of interactions. 

Property and prosperity: reforming landholding in Africa

19 Jan 2016 02:09:38 GMT

How Africans access – or ‘own’ – their landholdings is a matter of profound importance for the continent’s future. It touches on social welfare as well as prospects for economic development. This policy briefing provides an overview of the land question, drawing heavily on the Country Review Reports (CRRs) of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). It argues that weak property rights are a major problem for Africa, but cautions against an assumption that full titling is an immediate solution. Rather, drawing on existing informal rights regimes in Africa – and gradually building formalised systems on this basis – offers a more promising avenue for creating effective and durable systems of property rights aligned with the continent’s realities.


  • enhance property rights through informal mechanisms that recognise the capacity and financial limitations of African states. Universal formal titling may not at this point be feasible, but it is a worthwhile long-term aspiration
  • improve the capacity of African states to manage the administrative complexities of landholding and the gradual adoption of formal titles
  • invest in support for rural economies, with an emphasis on agriculture, with a view to boosting their productivity
  • research and understand the complex political economy of landholding – land retains a great deal of conflict potential. Policy approaches must be mindful of and sensitive to this


Legitimate land tenure and property rights: fostering compliance and development outcomes Rapid Evidence Assessment

10 Dec 2015 10:55:45 GMT

Growing populations and economic change resulting from globalisation and climate change are increasing pressure on land, particularly in urbanising countries. This exposes many of those occupying and using land, particularly the poor and women, to risks resulting from tenure insecurity. Customary practices in land management are giving way to market-based statutory systems of land tenure. This development has been accompanied by a significant increase in demand for land for investment; in some countries this has caused land users to lose rights and access to their land and other natural resources. Altogether, these trends have presented governments with significant challenges to effectively govern land tenure and property rights in a way that is socially acceptable and legitimate, and at the same time delivers inclusive economic development.

This rapid evidence assessment (REA) seeks to address the question of which policies and interventions or approaches have been successful in fostering compliance with legitimate land tenure rights and what impact these strategies have had on development outcomes.

The research reviewed for this paper shows that there is evidence that a range of strategies employed by government, civil society and local communities have improved tenure security and property rights. There is also some evidence that these strategies have resulted in some immediate or short-term outcomes, i.e. improved living conditions for vulnerable groups such as women. However, there is limited and mixed evidence that strategies have had an impact on development outcomes. Many of the examples that were found to have fostered compliance have not been in place long enough for evidence of positive outcomes on poverty reduction, gender equity, and access to formal credit, or public services to emerge and manifest themselves.


Public overseas investments: ensuring respect for and protecting legitimate land tenure rights: rapid evidence assessment

10 Dec 2015 10:40:15 GMT

This rapid evidence assessment (REA) investigates how public overseas investments supported by developed country governments respect legitimate land tenure rights, especially in countries without a strong system for protecting existing tenure rights. The REA assesses material from the limited number of studies (20) available about donor-supported investment projects involving land. Most are from African countries, but the evidence also includes cases from Afghanistan, Guatemala and Cambodia. Agricultural projects predominate, while two cases look at the impact of road projects on local land rights.

The studies suggest that:

  • most foreign direct investment (FDI) actors are aware of the need to accommodate local land rights. Nevertheless, evidence from a wider body of material (see Appendix 5) relating to FDI-based and private sector projects shows that most large land-based investments are failing to take into account either legitimate local rights and/or local livelihoods impacts
  • where a public donor is present – either directly funding or promoting a project – and is advocating the use of instruments, like the FAO Voluntary guidelines on the good governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests (VGGT) and the Principles for responsible investments in agriculture and food systems (RAI)1, investment projects can include effective mitigation measures and/or be designed to produce real benefits for those holding legitimate rights over the land used
  • inclusive business and investment models (i.e. models which engage communities fully and allow sharing of the investment benefits while respecting community land needs) are available which bring local people fully into the project process and turn it into an opportunity for social development and life-enhancing changes
  • donors must be fully informed about legitimate local rights at the design and appraisal stages of new projects, and cannot assume that government or private sector partners will rigorously adhere to agreed approaches
  • there is a need for more research into how projects, funded or supported by donors, can be designed and implemented to ensure respect for and protect legitimate local tenure rights


Food & Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture - ROSA : Land Tenure And Gender: Approaches And Challenges For Strengthening Rural Women's Land Rights | capacity4dev

22 Sep 2015 01:34:15 GMT

Land tenure security is crucial for women's empowerment and a prerequisite for building secure and resilient communities. Tenure is affected by many and often contradictory sets of rules, laws, customs, traditions, and perceptions. For most rural women, land tenure is complicated, with access and ownership often layered with barriers present in their daily realities: discriminatory social dynamics and strata, unresponsive legal systems, lack of economic opportunities, and lack of voice in decision making. Yet most policy reform, land management, and development programs disregard these realities in their interventions, which ultimately increases land tenure insecurity for rural women. This paper seeks to further develop the evidence base for access to and control over land.

Looking back, looking ahead : land, agriculture and society in East Africa : a festschrift for Kjell Havnevik

19 Sep 2015 08:21:21 GMT

Professor Kjell Havnevik is retiring from the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) in 2015. For four decades, he has carried out research, taught and supervised students as well as participated in policy debates on different aspects of agriculture, the environment and African and international development policies. His output has been voluminous and is internationally recognised. His academic record includes research and teaching positions at universities and research institutes in Tanzania, Norway and Sweden as well as shorter assignments in several other countries. Yet his intellectual home has over the last three decades been at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala.
NAI has therefore taken this opportunity to publish a book mainly centred on development issues in Tanzania in the context of rural development in Africa – a theme that Kjell has pursued throughout his career. The book brings together research issues with which Kjell himself has been actively involved.
It is NAI's hope that this will be more than a traditional Festschrift, inasmuch as it includes reflections on the academic and wider intellectual debate on development issues from the 1970s until today.

Grassroots facilitators as agents of change for promoting sustainable forest management: Lessons learned from REDD+ capacity development in Asia

24 Aug 2015 03:57:21 GMT

This article explores the issues and concerns of grassroots stakeholders with regards to REDD+ policy and program development.

The lessons shared here are generated from REDD+ capacity development at grassroots level in South and Southeast Asia. Keeping in mind that the climate change and REDD+ are continuously evolving topics, the paper argues that sustained capacity development is needed alongside building skills to effectively communicate aspirations and concerns of grassroots communities to policymakers and thus help bridging a gap between them. At a macro level unclear land tenure, poor governance and conflicting land policies continue to pose challenges for designing and implementation of REDD+ and sharing potential benefits from it. To address some of these challenges, the paper argues that multi-pronged and multiscale sustained interventions are needed, supported by building partnerships, collaborations and synergies among stakeholders. Such a coordinated effort will ultimately contribute to future global climate regime and help in poverty reduction among forest dependent communities.

[Adapted from source]

Na Ot village case study: Land tenure and resource rights

29 Jun 2015 03:39:46 GMT

This case study examines eight equity dimensions in sustainable forest management through the case study of Na Ot Village, Na Ot Commune, Mai Son District, Son La province in Viet Nam.

It highlights that securing forest tenure and resource rights is a critical cornerstone and a first prerequisite for promoting community forestry through mobilising local communities to manage and benefit from forest sustainably, to participate in the democratic decision-making process, and establish their own customary practices of forest management in Viet Nam.

It argues that giving forest tenure to local community should take a customary community forestry law in the area into account, thereby retaining the flexibility and capacity to adapt that often gives these systems their power.

Transferring tenure rights and management responsibilities to local communities should be not seen as simply allowing communities increased access to the forest resource, but as a process of power sharing and capacity building.

[Adapted from source]

Past, present and future: fifty years of anthropology in Sudan

20 Apr 2015 03:07:31 GMT

This book is about the history of anthropology in Sudan. Contributors to the book represent different generations of anthropologists who at some point in time either taught at the department in Khartoum or had some sort of connection to it. They also represent different countries: Sudan, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Germany, and France. Some contributors taught at the department during the 1960s and 1970s, and they represent different traditions of anthropology. British, American and Norwegian anthropologists were part of the department staff during the early days and brought different experiences and traditions of anthropology to Sudan. Their involvement in both teaching and research directed the orientation of the discipline in Sudan and influenced Sudanese anthropologists. The chapters in this book therefore illustrate the diversity and dynamism of anthropology in Sudan and also show how the discipline developed in relation to the specificities of a developing country like Sudan. Through teaching and research, foreign and Sudanese anthropologists contributed to development efforts in Sudan to the extent that the topics with which they engage are relevant to local development needs. Sudan anthropology has been important for world anthropology. The seminal contributions of E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Fredrik Barth, Ian Cunnison, and Talal Asad remain  classics in anthropology. The department also occupies a prestigious position in the region: it played important roles in establishing an anthropology department in Ethiopia, and teaching anthropology in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Property rights in land reform areas

17 Mar 2015 03:06:54 GMT

Land redistribution or the transfer of ownership rights to the tiller has been the focal point of the land reform program in the Philippines. This transfer was envisioned to result in a significant shift in income and productivity in the agrarian sector. While some equalisation of incomes may have indeed occurred, the full benefits of this asset transfer, however, have not been realised. This Policy Note suggests that the reason might be due to the fact that ill-defined land rights brought about by regulatory and bureaucratic impediments have rendered such lands as practically "dead capital/asset." The roots of this property rights problem are traced in this paper.

Land Rights and Food Security: the linkages Between Secure Land Rights, Women and Improved Household Security and Nutrition

11 Mar 2015 03:32:45 GMT

As governments, the private sector, multilateral institutions, and international development organisations weigh the options for improving food security around the world, they must consider one of the most promising elements for addressing the needs of the world’s hungry and malnourished: secure land rights. Addressing land rights issues—in particular, women’s land rights—in programmes and policies designed to address food security and nutrition through agriculture can deepen the impact of those interventions and lead to improved development outcomes.

This short five page brief concisely sets out the key issues linking secure land rights, women and improved household food security and nutrition.

Adapted from source.


From Brazilian fields to Norwegian farms

03 Mar 2015 05:22:21 GMT

• Brazil has a Federal Constitution and consolidated legislation that provide for the protection of the environment, health and welfare of workers in rural areas.
• The large-scale agricultural export model used in Brazil, i.e. the state of Mato Grosso and particularly in the region where the soy exported to Norway is produced, has been causing severe social and environmental impacts.
• Although Norway is a relatively small player in the global soy market, it has been a leader in the effort to fight deforestation of tropical forests and ensuring good sustainability standards throughout global production chains.
• Denofa, through its Brazilian partner Amaggi, is responsible for most of the soybeans imported from Brazil to Norway; despite Denofa’s good efforts to maintain best sustainability standards throughout its production chain, important challenges still remain to be addressed.
• Openness and transparency of the entire supply chain are key elements to corporate social responsibility. Denofa possesses detailed information on suppliers and cargoes shipped from Brazil to Norway. However, the company has so far refused to disclose such information based on business sensitive reasons that are not entirely clear.
• Denofa relies on comprehensive certification schemes managed by Amaggi to ensure the highest possible sustainability standards in the soy production chain. However, there are certain limitations related to such certificate schemes that may jeopardize the traceability vis a vis the actual situation on the ground. Lack of autonomous third-party verification and full confidentiality clauses are limitations that represent a breach in standards of transparency.
• Interviews with local farmers during the field trip evidence that a departure from Brazilian laws and certification standards may exist in the following areas:
• Use and spraying of pesticides close to houses and villages, which even if compliant with local regulations, represent an unacceptable risk to the health of residents and workers in the areas where the soy exported to Norway is produced.
• Failure to comply with federal and state forest laws by suppliers;
• Concern that Denofa may be importing soy planted inside indigenous lands, in violation of the Constitution.

What drives the global land rush?

19 Feb 2015 07:06:03 GMT

Recent increases in the level of agricultural commodity prices and the resulting demand for land has been accompanied by a rising interest in acquiring agricultural land by investors. This paper studies the determinants of foreign land acquisition for large-scale agriculture.

The paper estimates gravity models using data on bilateral investment relationships, together with newly constructed indicators of agro-ecological suitability in areas with low population density as well as land rights security. Consequently, the results confirm the central role of agro-ecological potential as a pull factor.

Nevertheless, the results suggest that, in contrast to what is found for foreign investment more generally, rule of law and good governance have no effect on the number of land-related investment. Moreover, and counterintuitively, the document finds that countries where governance of the land sector and tenure security are weak have been most attractive for investors.

Based on the findings, the author concludes that, to minimise the risk that such investments fail to produce benefits for local populations, the micro-level and project-based approach that has dominated the global debate so far will need to be complemented with an adequate policy. This policy will need to emphasis and determine actions to improve land governance, transparency and global monitoring.

A comparative study on cotton production in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

18 Feb 2015 11:01:05 GMT

Center for Development Research (ZEF) report to evaluate the cotton production sectors in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and to develop potential avenues for improvement.

In this report a broad comparison of the cotton growing sectors in these two Central Asian republics is presented, followed by specific recommendations for the cotton sectors of both countries that cater to their respective challenges. The broad conclusion that can be drawn here is that Uzbek farmers and stakeholders can learn much from the Kazakh experience. In terms of natural and historical conditions for cotton growing, there are many similarities between the two states. However, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the two countries have followed different trajectories with respect to market reforms, with high levels of government control over the cotton sector prevailing in Uzbekistan while Kazakhstan experienced a gradual relaxation of government control (Baffes 2007; Shtaltovna 2012).

Comparing these divergent experiences, the following recommendations for improving the performance of the cotton sector in both countries emerge from the analysis:

  • professionalisation of farmers should be encouraged;
  • farmers associations that represent farmers’ interests should replace state organisations;
  • communication between farmers and the state should be improved; cotton monocultures should gradually be transitioned to diversified cropping systems;
  • and on-site capacity for cotton processing should be supported. 

A promise betrayed: policies and practice penew the rural dispossession of land, rights and prospects

13 Feb 2015 10:17:00 GMT

South Africans assumed on 27 April 1994 that their vote for freedom would erase the ethnic enclaves known as ‘Bantustans’ or ‘homelands’ and guarantee a common citizenship with equal rights under one law. Officially, the 10 homelands were dismantled under the interim constitution that introduced democracy in 1994, paving the way for the reversal of the dispossession that had been entrenched by the 1913 and 1936 land acts. Instead, 20 years later, a series of laws, bills and policies proposes a separate legal regime for people within the boundaries of those former Bantustans. The effect is to consolidate the unilateral authority of chiefs in relation to land ownership and to deny other rural South Africans the right to decide for themselves how to use and share the newly discovered mineral wealth of the land they have owned and occupied for centuries.

This policy brief argues for the following:

  • national and provincial policy and legislation should remove superimposed tribal boundaries based on the architecture of apartheid and allow people to define their own identities. Customary
    law must be recognised as consensual
  • the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform should facilitate independent research to clarify the historical and customary entitlements of different groups. This would lead to more nuanced mining agreements reflecting the consent of those with specific interests in particular areas of land
  • the provisions of the Interim Protection of Informal Land Right Act of 1996 must be actively enforced by the state
  • the state needs to intervene in litigation by traditional leaders to uphold the right to tenure security set out in s25(6) of the Constitution and prevent threats to the basic land rights of poor people

Evidence of impact: Climate-smart agriculture in Africa

12 Feb 2015 04:47:08 GMT

Agriculture across Africa must undergo a significant transformation to meet the multiple challenges of climate change, food insecurity, malnutrition, poverty and environmental degradation. The case studies described here are just some of the climate-smart agricultural practices that already exist in Africa. This publication aims to inspire farmers, researchers, business leaders, policy makers and NGOs to take up the mantle of climate-smart agriculture and accelerate the transformation of Africa’s agriculture into a more sustainable and profitable sector.


[Taken from the authors]

Scaling up index insurance for smallholder farmers: Recent evidence and insights

12 Feb 2015 02:34:19 GMT

This report explores evidence and insights from five case studies that have made significant recent progress in addressing the challenge of insuring poor smallholder farmers and pastoralists in the developing world. In India, national index insurance programmes have reached over 30 million farmers through a mandatory link with agricultural credit and strong government support.

In East Africa (Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania), the Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise (ACRE) has recently scaled to reach nearly 200,000 farmers, bundling index insurance with agricultural credit and farm inputs. ACRE has built on strong partnerships with regional initiatives such as M-PESA mobile banking. In Ethiopia and Senegal, the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative has scaled unsubsidized index insurance to over 20,000 poor smallholder farmers who were previously considered uninsurable, using insurance as an integral part of a comprehensive risk management portfolio. With strong public and private sector support, the Mongolia Index-Based Livestock Insurance Project (IBLIP) insures more than 15,000 nomadic herders and links commercial insurance with a government disaster safety net. Finally, the Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) project in Kenya and Ethiopia demonstrates innovative approaches to insuring poor nomadic pastoralists in challenging circumstances. A few common features appear to have contributed to recent progress within these case studies:

  • explicitly targeting obstacles to improving farmer income
  • integration of insurance with other development interventions
  • giving farmers a voice in the design of products
  • investing in local capacity and
  • investing in science-based index development.

Evidence from these case studies can inform the ongoing debate about the viability of scaling up index-based insurance for vulnerable smallholder farmers in the developing world. The rapid progress observed in recent years suggests that index insurance has the potential to benefit smallholder farmers at a meaningful scale, and suggests the need to reassess arguments that lack of demand and practical implementation challenges prevent index-based insurance from being a useful tool to reduce rural poverty.

Drivers of agricultural diversification in India, Haryana and the Greenbelt farms of India

19 Jan 2015 11:41:56 GMT

Traditionally, agricultural diversification is referred to a subsistence kind of farming wherein farmers were cultivating varieties of crops on a piece of land and undertaking several enterprises on their farm portfolio. Household food and income security were the basic objectives of agricultural diversification. In recent decades, agricultural diversification is increasingly being considered as a panacea for many ills in the agricultural development of the India.

Diversification at the farm level is supposed to increase the farm income; the utility of diversification as risk management practices however, remains. At the country level, diversification is supposed to increase the extent of self-sufficiency for the country. At the regional level, diversification is being promoted to mitigate negative externalities associated with monocropping

This study discusses factors responsible for agricultural diversification at different levels: country (India), state (Haryana) and farms of Kurukshetra district in Haryana. The study regressed alternate measures of diversification namely, the Simpson index and concentration of non-food crops, on several possible factors such as income, land distribution, irrigation intensity, institutional credit, road density, urbanization and market penetration.

The paper concludes by stating that the regression analysis suggests that increased road density, urbanization encourages commercialization of agriculture and with commercialization, farms in a region are increasingly specialized under certain crops and crop-groups as per the resource, infrastructure and institutions of the region.

Maize response to fertilizer dosing at three sites in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia

05 Jan 2015 06:57:10 GMT

This study examines the agronomic response, efficiency and profitability of fertilizer microdosing in maize. An experiment with the following treatments was conducted: control without fertilizer, microdosing treatments, with the rate of 27 + 27, 53 + 53 and 80 + 80 kg ha−1, and banding of fertilizer with 100 + 100 kg ha−1 of di ammonium phosphate (DAP) + urea, applied at planting and jointing, respectively. The treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replications. The experiment was conducted during the 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 cropping seasons at Ziway, Melkassa and Hawassa in the semiarid central rift valley region of Ethiopia. Compared to the control, the fertilizer treatments had higher yield and fertilizer use efficiency (FUE) profitably. The 27 + 27 kg ha−1 fertilizer rate increased the grain yield by 19, 45 and 46% at Hawassa, Ziway and Melkassa, respectively, and it was equivalent to the higher rates. The value cost  atio (VCR) was highest with the lowest fertilizer rate, varying between seven and 11 in the treatment with 27 + 27 kg ha−1, but two and three in the banding treatment. Similarly, FUE was highest with the lowest fertilizer rate, varying between 23 and 34 kg kg−1 but 7 and 8 kg kg−1 in the banding treatment. The improved yield, FUE, VCR and gross margin in maize with microdosing at the 27 + 27 kg ha−1 of DAP + urea rate makes it low cost, low risk, high yielding and profitable. Therefore, application of this particular rate in maize may be an option for the marginal farmers in the region with similar socioeconomic and agroecological conditions.This study examines the agronomic response, efficiency and profitability of fertilizer microdosing in maize. An experiment with the following treatments was conducted: control without fertilizer, microdosing treatments, with the rate of 27 + 27, 53 + 53 and 80 + 80 kg ha−1, and banding of fertilizer with 100 + 100 kg ha−1 of di ammonium phosphate (DAP) + urea, applied at planting and jointing, respectively. The treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replications. The experiment was conducted during the 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 cropping seasons at Ziway, Melkassa and Hawassa in the semiarid central rift valley region of Ethiopia. Compared to the control, the fertilizer treatments had higher yield and fertilizer use efficiency (FUE) profitably. The 27 + 27 kg ha−1 fertilizer rate increased the grain yield by 19, 45 and 46% at Hawassa, Ziway and Melkassa, respectively, and it was equivalent to the higher rates. The value cost ratio (VCR) was highest with the lowest fertilizer rate, varying between seven and 11 in the treatment with 27 + 27 kg ha−1, but two and three in the banding treatment. Similarly, FUE was highest with the lowest fertilizer rate, varying between 23 and 34 kg kg−1 but 7 and 8 kg kg−1 in the banding treatment. The improved yield, FUE, VCR and gross margin in maize with microdosing at the 27 + 27 kg ha−1 of DAP + urea rate makes it low cost, low risk, high yielding and profitable. Therefore, application of this particular rate in maize may be an option for the marginal farmers in the region with similar socioeconomic and agroecological conditions.

Land tenure: issues in housing reconstruction and income poverty case study of earthquake-affected areas in Hazara

04 Dec 2014 09:52:17 GMT

There are many commendable successes with respect to relief, recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation to assist the earthquake affected districts of North West Frontier Province3 and Azad Kashmir. The same, however, cannot be said unambiguously about housing reconstruction. Partly, the obstacles are rooted in Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) rigid procedures. In many areas, though, housing reconstruction has also become mired in the traditional land tenure regime.

This paper deals primarily with issues of land tenure, its impact on housing compensation benefit incidence and ERRA’s handling of the matter. It also looks at the income implications of land tenure patterns and compares the situation in Hazara with that in Azad Kashmir. The study is based on a survey of two affected districts in Hazara: Mansehra and Batagram.

Obstacles in housing reconstruction and low employability and incomes both are outcomes of land tenure related constraints. While the early response to the earthquake was excellent, the rehabilitation effort has been less successful on account of deeper structural problems that the earthquake has aggravated. The situation not only provides an opportunity to rebuild houses, but also presents an opening to improve the land tenure equation and, as the Azad Kashmir case shows, create the conditions for enhancing incomes and for realizing the region’s economic potential. There is, thus, a case for land reform.

Any mention of land reform generally brings to mind a scenario where the landowner is removed and ownership is transferred to the cultivating tenant. This does not necessarily emerge as the preferred option in Hazara. Given the already small unit size of farms, even of farms reported as self-cultivated, transfer of ownership to tenants is likely to further reduce land size and lock the rural economy at the subsistence level. It may, therefore, be more feasible to consider measures to removing the tenant and turning farms into self-cultivated units.

The larger self-cultivated farms are likely to be more efficient and accrue greater income for the landowners. The displaced tenants in Hazara can be expected to be absorbed in the new industrial/tourist sector in the area. The strategy is likely to inject an element of dynamism in the local economy and provide employment opportunities to local labor force, instead of leaving them with little choice but to look for employment as expatriate labor in other areas of the country and abroad.

The impact of large scale land acquisitions on water resources – a background note

25 Nov 2014 10:31:02 GMT

Since 2008 there has been a rapid increase in the level of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in agricultural land in Sub Saharan Africa and South East Asia. In 2008-2009 land acquisitions were estimated to be approximately 56 million hectares, 70-75% of which were in Africa (although it is likely that many leases are still pending or not yet executed). Large scale land acquisitions are primarily for agricultural development (circa 80%). The remaining 20% are dominated by extractives and infrastructure. Both agricultural development and extractives are potentially water intensive and water-polluting but high-quality research and understanding of these impacts is limited.

Analysis of the location of land acquisitions for the purposes of agricultural development and the types of crops that are grown strongly suggest that access to water is a primary rationale for acquiring land. The land is predominantly located close to access to blue water resources, which suggests an intention to irrigate the land. The UK, the US and China have acquired the most land but the picture in terms of water resources is different, with the US, the United Arab Emirates and India having acquired the most. However, data on the amount of water appropriated under land deals is highly uncertain and disputed more than data on the area of land acquired.

Despite this evidence, consideration of water in current debates on the impact of foreign investment in agricultural land has been peripheral and international guidelines and principles that seek to prevent damaging land acquisitions have not, until very recently, dealt with the risks land acquisitions pose to existing water resources and the risk water resources (or their scarcity) poses to successful investments in land.

Plotting progress: integrated planning in the rangelands of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda

17 Nov 2014 02:53:54 GMT

Planning for development in rangelands, including land use planning, holds particular challenges and can impose unusual constraints on routine activities. Rangeland planners must address a number of challenges: the sheer size of administrative units with sparsely distributed populations and variable, patchy resources; the independent nature of pastoral and huntergatherer cultures; high levels of environmental variability; and the complexities of managing semi-natural ecosystems. Planners must also confront the additional challenge of managing the interface between high- and low-potential areas that are functionally interdependent. On a temporal basis too, the seasonal and flexible dynamics of pastoral systems rarely fit with the more constrained and rigid administrative, government yearly cycles of planning or finances.In response to these issues and challenges, this paper draws together and reviews current and recent experience in planning processes in the rangelands of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. Key lessons are drawn out from two types of intervention – those led by government and those led by NGOs. These form the basis of a set of recommendations for different actors.

[Taken from Author]

The challenge of establishing REDD+ on the ground: Insights from 23 subnational initiatives in six countries

13 Nov 2014 10:49:16 GMT

Since 2007, it has been hoped that REDD+ would deliver on the 3E+ criteria (effectiveness, efficiency, equity, social and environmental co‑benefits) for strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This report highlights that the early enthusiasm for REDD+ has dissipated among some stakeholders – this is largely attributed to the failure to attain an international climate change agreement.

In its Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (GCS), CIFOR undertook a survey of 23 subnational REDD+ initiatives in six countries in order to examine their strategies and approaches, the nature of the challenges they faced, and how they intended to overcome them. The study found that the 23 initiatives were persisting in their efforts to reduce local deforestation and forest degradation, as well as deliver on a wide range of goals. However, questions remain about whether and how the REDD+ concept will persist and evolve.

Improving land sector governance in South Africa implementation of the land governance assessment framework

29 Oct 2014 04:16:55 GMT

Land governance and administration are critical for achieving economic growth and development in any country. It is within this context that the World Bank introduced the Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF) for identifying specific areas for land reform while also providing a means for monitoring.

This report serves as the country report for South Africa. It provides an outline of the process, background information on the country, an assessment of land governance and the concomitant policy analysis, recommendations and conclusions. The report is intended to be a resource document for government and other land practitioners within the non-governmental and private sectors to guide policy development and interventions within the land sector.

In South Africa, the application of the LGAF has been challenging due to its economy (including a formal land market) and informal systems in communal land areas. However, the application of the LGAF within the South African context was useful in providing a “snap shot” of the state of land governance in the country. It managed to expose the obvious successes and failures and the sophistication and the lack thereof within the current system. The duality of land governance that is the formal in juxtaposition to the informal was demonstrated through the use of the methodology, which assessed land governance in the following themes:

  • land tenure
  • urban land use planning and development
  • rural land use and land policy
  • land valuation and taxation
  • public land management
  • public provision of land information
  • dispute resolution
  • large scale land acquisition

 The report recommends further examination of the following areas:

  • time based on large scale land acquisition within the African sub region
  • the preparation of a methodology and tools for supporting municipalities in the implementation of an incremental tenure approach
  • the determination of a possible legal framework for supporting the implementation of an incremental tenure approach
  • support with the drafting of suitable legislation for enforcing communal land rights

Large-Scale Land Acquisition : Field Findings and Recommendations

27 Oct 2014 04:55:30 GMT

The Chinese central government has consistently taken decisive legal and policy measures over the past 35 years to secure, enhance, and expand farmers’ rights to farmland and forest land in order to reduce the
gap in income and consumption between urban citizens and their counterparts in mountainous forest areas. While encouraging development of a forest land rights market to facilitate market allocation of resources, these legal rules and policy directives have particularly emphasized protecting farmers’ forest land rights and their property interests when such land rights are subject to acquisition by powerful

Among these powerful players in China’s forest land rights markets are multinational forest companies, including Asia Pulp and Paper Co. Ltd (APP). In order to understand how APP carried out land acquisition and to what extent its land acquisition was propelled by local governments, researchers from Landesa, an international land laws and policy
institute, conducted intensive field research using the Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) method in Guangxi and Yunnan provinces in February and September 2013, in collaboration with Rights and Resources
Initiative (RRI).

The report provides a comprehensive review of existing laws, regulations, and central policies on farmers’ land rights and the transfer of these rights. Based on thorough discussions and analysis of the most important issues identified in the fieldwork, a series of recommendations are offered to improve APP’s land acquisition practices.


Securing land rights in rural communities of Nigeria: policy approach to the problem of gender inequality

28 Aug 2014 12:34:38 GMT

In Africa, the pursuit of gender equality in inheritance rights remains one of the most difficult challenges due to its entrenched patriarchal characteristics. This is also the case in the rural communities of South-Eastern Nigeria. This article investigates gender discrimination in the region, among the Igbo ethnic group, with regard to land property rights; and makes policy recommendations to overcome the failures of past intervention efforts, many of which considered this problem as too culturally sensitive.

Laws protecting women’s rights are often ignored at the village level. For example, Section 43 of the Nigerian Constitution guarantees every Nigerian (man or woman) the right to acquire and own immovable property, and the Nigerian Land Use Act of 1978 also confers general powers upon men and women to own real property. However, customary law in Nigeria’s rural communities restricts women’s inheritance rights, thereby perpetuating female poverty and subordination. Furthermore, violating the land rights of women generates competition and social conflicts between men and women, which have implications for peace, social cohesion and development.

The following are among the conclusions of this study:

  • Access to natural resources in rural communities of South-Eastern Nigeria has remained a major form of economic domination by men, which has left women, particularly widows, highly vulnerable.
  • Moving away from long-held beliefs and customs toward respecting gender equity requires dialogue involving all stakeholders.
  • Change must also affect structures that generate conflict through deprivation, exclusion and other forms of injustice.
  • Peaceful conflict transformation that involves the development of perspectives through dialogue with all parties (at many levels) changes the way men and women think about womanhood or widowhood, and helps them move toward positive peace.
  • An inclusive and better gender-sensitive approach in policy making would improve the effectiveness of, and compliance with, legal and socio-economic reforms.
  • The equal rights of men and women to land are essential for ensuring sustainable rural development, social equity, economic growth and any effort to address gender inequalities.
  • Policy reform to ensure the effective, equitable and sustainable use of land in Nigeria will bring about poverty reduction and development.

Displacement and dispossession through land grabbing in Mozambique: the limits of international and national legal instruments — Refugee Studies Centre

17 Jul 2014 10:10:27 GMT

The scale and speed of coordinated land grabs over the past five years has created a new avenue through which people are being displaced and dispossessed of their lands.  This paper looks at what limits international and national law in addressing displacement and dispossession due to land grabs in Mozambique.

The author argues that the limits of law to address displacement and dispossession are not due to a lack of institutionalising international good governance norms into domestic-level legal frameworks. Nor can the limits be attributed to state incapacity. Rather, the limits of law lie within the norm implementation process, wherein norms are conditioned by the local Mozambican governance context to serve domestic interests.

Tenure rights, human rights and REDD+: knowledge, skills and tools for effective results forest carbon, markets and communities (FCMC) program

27 Jun 2014 10:23:04 GMT

This document presents a framework for identifying and asserting tenure and human rights associated with forests and land use in the context of climate change policies and measures. It argues that clearly defined land rights can help identify which actors are necessary to address drivers of deforestation and can determine shares in benefits from reduced deforestation. Local resource management may even improve forest outcomes. This brief aims to assist in the identification of rights relevant to REDD+ implementation and how those rights can be applied or supported to strengthen the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of REDD+ activities. After introducing key concepts and legal and policy benchmarks, this brief outlines the technical elements of rights associated with REDD+, as well as options for and examples of asserting these rights. The final section lists a number of tools and resources available for additional information.

Implications of community-based legal aid regulation on women’s land rights

26 Jun 2014 03:12:40 GMT

Improving women’s ability to securely access land is recognised as an effective means to increase gender equality and advance other key social and economic development goals. Despite progressive laws in many African countries, gender disparities commonly persist in women’s access and ownership of land.

Although legal empowerment of women can help to strengthen their claims to land, developing country governments commonly lack the capacity to offer legal services. Civil society is increasingly stepping in to fill the wide gap in legal service provision, with the aim of empowering marginalised groups and individuals to exercise their legal rights. Although legal aid has wide application, this brief looks on the consequences of regulating services provided at the community level to support women’s land rights, with a special focus on Tanzania.

The authors recommend areas for further investigation to inform future legal aid policy and regulations in Tanzania and beyond:

  • evaluate the implications for geographic coverage and program quality by defining at least two distinct tiers of paralegals to provide legal services at different levels of decentralisation

  • identify the appropriate educational criterion for each tier of paralegal that will identify individuals with the facility to access training materials and complete reporting requirements

  • undertake additional research to establish distinct, paralegal training curricula that consider topic breadth versus relevance according to the services provided in each tier. Curricula for community paralegals should be based on analysis of the cost-effectiveness of initial training investments versus regular periodic training

  • for additional insight on modalities to reduce paralegal attrition, conduct analysis on the cost effectiveness of paralegal compensation to assess the implications on programme quality and sustainability

Evidence linking community level tenure and forest condition: An annotated bibliography

16 Jun 2014 02:22:49 GMT

This annotated bibliography provides evidence that community tenure over forests can result in more forest cover and more species-rich forests, less deforestation and degradation, and fewer fires than some other approaches to protecting forests. The authors initiated the review by identifying relevant scholarly articles published since 2002 based on interviews with experts and keyword searches of databases. Priority was given to review of articles that had been recommended by an expert, were empirical studies linking tenure to forest outcomes, expanded the geographic coverage, and/or were frequently cited. Particular attention was given to articles describing previous attempts to assess the evidence that enhanced community management rights are associated with better forest outcomes.

What drives deforestation and what stops it? A meta-analysis of spatially explicit econometric studies

06 May 2014 10:32:21 GMT

This paper presents a meta-analysis of what drives deforestation and what stops it. The researchers find that forests are more likely to be cleared where economic returns to agriculture and pasture are higher, either due to more favorable climatological and topographic conditions, or due to lower costs of clearing forest and transporting products to market. It is argued that timber activity, land tenure security, and community demographics do not show a consistent association with either higher or lower deforestation. Population is consistently associated with greater deforestation, and poverty is consistently associated with lower deforestation, but in both cases endogeneity makes a causal link difficult to infer. Promising approaches for stopping deforestation include reducing the intrusion of road networks into remote forested areas; targeting protected areas to regions where forests face higher threat and tying rural income support to the maintenance of forest resources through payments for ecosystem services.

Lessons for the New Alliance and Land Transparency Initiative: Gender Impacts of Tanzania's...

16 Apr 2014 08:00:34 GMT

Full title: Lessons for the New Alliance and Land Transparency Initiative: Gender Impacts of Tanzania’s Land Investment Policy

Policy brief 67
Helen Dancer

There are gender-differentiated impacts when land is harnessed for commercial investment. Land policy needs to address the gendered nature of power relations within families and land tenure systems, and the implications of rural social relations on processes of community consultation, land management and dispute settlement. Without this, land investment policies will not reach their goals of tenure security for all, agricultural productivity and increased revenue. From the outset the full participation of women as well as men, good local leadership and gender-sensitive business practices at the local level are needed, to ensure that the fruits of land-based investment deals in the countryside are gender-equitable.

Land and conflict in Sierra Leone: a rapid desk-based study

07 Apr 2014 10:52:13 GMT

This paper is a desk-based study of land rights and conflict in Sierra Leone.  It reviews post-2002 academic and grey literature. It addresses land ownership and rights within Sierra Leone, as well as exploring the concept of land ownership as a source or driver of conflict. It also reviews literature on the current land tenure system, and government stated policies.

Academic literature suggests that power dynamics have changed in rural areas since the war, but Paramount Chiefs and elders of landowning family lineages still hold more power over local land allocation than locally elected councils. Chiefs have traditionally controlled access to land by individuals of lower social status such as outsiders, women and young men. There is some indication that inter-generational relations and relations between weaker groups and chiefs have improved in recent years.

Among anecdotal sources, there is a significant perception of ‘land grabbing’ by foreign companies involved in large bio-fuel and other projects, which cannot be easily verified due to lack of accurate land use records or research. Anecdotally, NGOs, civil society and human rights groups have documented outbreaks of violence in response to such projects.

Further evidence is required to draw firm conclusions on both foreign and domestic investment in terms of their impact on access to land and their role in sparking land disputes or violent conflict. NGOs are calling for greater transparency in land deals and informed consent, which could help to mitigate the risk of conflict.

Rwanda land tenure regularisation case study

01 Apr 2014 03:04:44 GMT

Land has historically been a source of dispute and conflict in Rwanda, compounded by the social unrest which resulted in the 1994 genocide. Up to one million people were killed and three million fled to neighbouring countries, leading to weakened political institutions, infrastructure and human capital. Traditional land allocation systems also suffered. In the aftermath of the genocide there was a lack of clarity over legal status and rights to land, with landowners returning to Rwanda to find their land occupied by others.

This Evidence on Demand Helpdesk Report provides a detailed case study on the approach taken to land tenure reform by the DFID-funded Land Tenure Regularisation Programme (LTRSP) in Rwanda. The case study should provide the reader with an understanding of how land tenure reform can work under particular social, political and economic conditions, as well as the approach taken to ensure gender equality in land rights.

Mozambique land policy development case study

01 Apr 2014 02:51:34 GMT

Mozambique has experienced accelerated rates of growth over the past decade, averaging 7.2% per year, with projected growth rates of over 8%. However, this high growth rate has failed to translate into significant reductions in poverty and inequality has increased in almost all parts of the country.

This Evidence on Demand Helpdesk Report provides a detailed case study on the evolution of land policy in Mozambique and provide the reader with insights into what is viewed as one of Africa’s most progressive land laws, recognising multiple forms of tenure.

Donors are planning to continue to support improved land administration and management through land tenure regularisation and land-use planning, and by rolling out a land information management system nationwide. Other opportunities for donor support include: enhancing awareness of rights and responsibilities under the Land Law and Regulation, particularly for women; deepening ongoing efforts to develop effective mechanisms and fora to resolve land disputes; developing further opportunities for innovative community-investor partnerships; improving land policy/legal consultation mechanisms; strengthening current investment project review processes; and supporting monitoring of land allocation and project implementation. This would usefully be underpinned by the strengthened coordination of donor engagement on land.

Adoption and extent of conservation agriculture practices among smallholder farmers in Malawi

26 Mar 2014 05:45:28 GMT

Understanding factors affecting farmers’ adoption of improved technologies is critical to success of conservation agriculture (CA) program implementation. This study, which explored the factors that determine adoption and extent of farmers’ use of the three principles of CA (i.e., minimum soil disturbance, permanent soil cover with crop residues, and crop rotations), was conducted in 10 target communities in 8 extension planning areas in Malawi. The primary data was collected using structured questionnaires administered to individual households. Triangulation with key informant interviews, field observations, and interactive discussions with farmers and farmer groups provided information behind contextual issues underpinning the statistical inferences. From a total of 15,854 households in the study areas, it is estimated that 18% of the smallholder farmers had adopted CA, representing an area of about 678 ha (1,675 ac; 2.1% of all cultivated land). Land area under CA constituted about 30% of total cultivated land among adopters. A random sample of 151 adopters and 149 nonadopters proportional with respect to adoption rates was drawn from various communities and interviewed using structured questionnaires. A total of 30 key informant interviews were conducted with stakeholders including staff of Total Land Care, government extension workers, agroinput suppliers, and lead farmers. The first stage of the Heckman model showed that hired labor, area of land cultivated, membership to farmer group, and district influenced farmers’ decisions to adopt CA. The second stage of Heckman model results suggested that total cultivated land, duration of practicing CA, and district influenced farmers’ decisions to extend their land to CA. Our study can be used to show the agency and social structures that are likely to influence adoption and extent of CA. Future policy should address ways to provide access to information and long-term support to farmers to enable them to embrace the technology fully.

Topic Guide: Land

21 Mar 2014 04:30:41 GMT

Written by ODI's Anna Locke and Giles Henley, the guide provides a summary of the latest thinking around contemporary global land issues in developing countries. It also gives guidance on and evidence for how this thinking can be used in practice; provides signposting to reliable sources that can inform development professionals on issues not covered in the Topic Guide; and highlights where there are gaps in knowledge and evidence.

The Topic Guide begins by addressing key issues around large-scale land acquisition in developing countries (including the evidence for the impact of land acquisition) before moving on to discuss reactions to rising interest in land at national and international levels. This includes an analysis of key international and regional initiatives such as the FAO Voluntary Guidelines and the G8 Land Transparency Initiative. The third section addresses land reform and policy - identifying types, impacts and risks. This includes a brief history of donor engagement in the land sector, as well as a discussion of the debate around the role of land titling. The final section looks at land issues in fragile and conflict-affected states.

The Guide includes three detailed case studies: firstly, a case study on the Rwanda Land Tenure Regularisation Programme; secondly, Land Policy Development in Mozambique; and thirdly, a case study on Land Issues in Burma.

The roles of land tenure reforms and land markets in the context of population growth and land use intensification in Africa

05 Mar 2014 12:31:12 GMT

This article provides a review of the past and potential future roles of land tenure reforms and land markets in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as responses to population growth in the process of land use intensification and livelihood transformation. The farm size distribution and the existence of an inverse relationship (IR) between farm size and land productivity in SSA and the implications of this relationship for efficiency and equity are investigated.More secure property rights and removal of restrictions on land markets have the potential to create both efficiency and equity benefits, but there are high risks of elite capture of large land areas with inefficient and inequitable outcomes. This situation is the case not only in land-abundant areas but also in urban and peri-urban areas where increasingly larger proportions of people will make their living. Increasing population pressure in densely populated rural areas contributes to more rapid rural–urban migration, and creating alternative livelihood opportuties for the migrating youth population is essential to achieving economic development with social stability.

Joint-titling of land and housing: examples, causes and consequences

24 Jan 2014 04:30:28 GMT

Across the world, low rates of land ownership remain as one of the most persistent signs of gender inequity. While many developing countries have adopted legislation to reinforce gender equality in property ownership, the actual de facto state of women’s right to land often remains unchanged. Even when countries adopt joint-titling policies intended to shift household bargaining power in favour of women, actual rates of joint ownership are often lower than expected. However, there are some examples at the national, state, city and project level where progress has been made towards getting women’s right to land formalised, either as single or joint-holders of a land title.

To better understand how this progress can be achieved, this report documents several cases from around the developing world, and offers lessons drawn from the study:

  • legislation which is “gender neutral” is often not enough, as neither title-granting institutions nor households will be concerned with joint-titling if it is not the default position for married couples
  • NGO/CSO involvement seems to be an important driver of both legal and political reform. However, the examples where NGO/CSO involvement waned after large political or institutional successes resulted in poorer joint-titling outcomes than those where involvement included low-level interventions, such as education and programmes to get past last mile problems
  • institutional learning is an important factor, as land authorities and governments do learn from their mistakes. However, because land titling schemes are costly and imply large `sunk’ costs, if learning does not happen quickly enough then it may be very difficult to overturn existing inequities
  • having institutions in which the interests of women are well-represented can ensure that titling programmes are successfully backed
  • institutions tasked with implementing joint-titling policies seem to be more effective when they have incentives to do so
  • on-the-ground information and advocacy can help in getting past last mile problems. Similarly, incentives at the household level can be useful in enticing land owners to jointly-title

Securing community land and resource rights in Africa: a guide to legal reform and best practices

23 Jan 2014 04:15:39 GMT

Land that is possessed, occupied and used by communities according to ‘customary law’ is the most common system of land and resource ownership in Africa. Customary law is the framework of rights, rules and responsibilities based on community customs and practices, governing ownership and management of a community’s lands, territories and resources.

This guide explains key aspects of law and land rights that are important for securing community ownership and control of land and resources – also referred to as secure land and resource tenure. It explains how to identify and create opportunities for law reform and offers examples of reforms that have taken place in several African countries.

The guide iaims to:

  • support an understanding of key aspects of a ‘good’ law and law reform process -  laws and reforms that both respect human rights and are implemented, enforceable and participatory
  • give guidance on how to critically analyse an existing law or a proposed draft law

  • provide ideas on how to make the best use of law reform opportunities that arise

Biofuels Investment and Community Land Tenure in Tanzania

17 Dec 2013 09:00:13 GMT

Future Agricultures Working Paper 73
Emmanuel Sulle and Fred Nelson
December 2013

Like much of sub-Saharan Africa, Tanzania has experienced a surge in land-based investment during the past decade. While expanding private investment in agriculture is a core ambition of the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, experiences of prior investments raise questions about possible negative impacts. A notable element of this pattern of international private investment in Tanzania has been the emergence of biofuels as a form of agriculture; biofuel investments occurred rapidly and on a large scale around 2005–2008, with about four million hectares around the country requested for allocation to commercial biofuel projects. Many of those investments were large-scale projects based on the cultivation of jatropha or sugarcane, headed by European companies. One of the most well-known biofuel investments was that of Bioshape, which acquired approximately 34,000 ha in Kilwa District for the cultivation of jatropha.

The report documents, insofar as is possible using available information, the process Bioshape and government authorities at national and district level undertook to acquire the land from the four villages in Kilwa where Bioshape established operations.

Large-scale Land Deals, Food Security and Local Livelihoods

22 Oct 2013 11:55:54 GMT

CAADP Policy Brief 10
by Kate Wellard-Dyer

Large-scale foreign land acquisitions - land grabs - are major and real concerns for African populations.   The consequences of land deals are highly significant for local populations and the environment. Some see economic opportunities for local communities through employment and income generated from leasing or selling land. Others see land alienation as a major threat to local livelihoods, food security and the environment. The question is whether ‘win-win’ models exist - benefitting local people as well as providing an economic return to investors.  This policy brief draws on latest research by Future Agricultures. It asks: What are the drivers behind large-scale land deals in Africa and who are the main players? What is the impact of land deals on livelihoods and food security of existing land users? What can governments do to protect smallholder livelihoods?