USAID Building Knowledge Around Land Rights and Food Security

A new opinion piece describes how secure land rights can improve agricultural productivity and food security. In Why Strong Land Rights Advance Food Security, Eric Postel, USAID’s Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Economic Growth, Education and Environment and Tjada McKenna, Feed the Future’s Deputy Coordinator for Development, explain what development practitioners can do to improve land rights and food security in a multitude of development projects.

This past July, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah unveiled the Feed the Future Progress Report on Capitol Hill as part of an event hosted by the Senate Hunger Caucus. The results were measurable—the U.S. Government has supported over 7 million farmers and 12 million malnourished children in just under 3 years. In order to fully realize food security goals going forward, we must address the lack of secure land tenure and property rights in many countries. Clear land use rights lead to increased investment in agricultural inputs and incentives to employ sustainable farming practices–both of which result in higher yields and ultimately improved food security. According to Dr. Gregory Myers, Division Chief for USAID’s Land Tenure and Property Rights Division, “In order to lift the next one billion out of poverty, we cannot rely on public resources alone – we must leverage private sector investment in agriculture. For USAID, private investment can be small, medium, or large, but it must be responsible and the rights of local communities must be recognized. Globally, we need more data on the impact of large-scale land investments.”

Recognizing this need, USAID is striving to build knowledge around land tenure and property rights, including large-scale land investments, through the Evaluation, Research and Communication (ERC) project. USAID’s Bureau for Food Security (BFS) leads the Feed the Future initiative and supports Agrilinks, a web site that captures new learning in food security and agricultural development, disseminates it among practitioners, USAID mission staff, and other donors, and connects those actors to each other in order to improve development outcomes around the world. Using a knowledge-driven approach to food security and agricultural development, Agrilinks aims to extend and multiply the impact of the learning and innovation developed through agricultural development research and practice.

Become a member of Agrilinks and take part in working groups, facilitated online discussions, closed e-consultations, #AskAg Twitter chats, and Feed the Future stakeholder meetings with other food security and land/resource tenure professionals.


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