Food Security

Land rights are essential to food security.

Strong land and resource governance and secure property rights helps farmers, households, and businesses achieve increased food security through improved access to land, natural resources, and markets, increasing food production and consumption.  

Effective land and resource governance systems that provide improved access, control, and rights to land and other natural resources are a necessary condition for achieving food security and better nutrition. In some situations, individuals or groups may have difficulty accessing land and land markets, limiting their opportunity to acquire land and put it to productive use; secure and equitable access is especially important for marginalized groups such as women, youth, and migrants.

More inclusive, robust, and transparent land markets are also important to promoting beneficial land transactions. Effective governance systems create positive incentives that enable more efficient and effective investments in land, labor, and improved food production and nutrition practices . More secure land and property rights also often enhance opportunities for rights holders to negotiate voluntary transfers of valuable resources (e.g., sales, leases or rights of way) for their economic benefit.

The relationship between land tenure, resource governance, and food security may be direct or indirect. Direct linkages include enabling land, labor, and capital investment in food production by securing land and property rights, reducing land-related conflict, or improving equitable land access. Indirect linkages might include securing businesses’ land and property rights to mitigate threats to business continuity, safeguarding owners’, employees’, and suppliers’ ability to buy food.

Photo Credit: Jake Lyell / Lutheran World Relief

Blog Posts

Partnering to Close the Gender Gap in Agrifood Systems

Farming is risky business and for women farmers, the risks are compounded. As the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO’s) new Status of Women in Agrifood Systems (SWAS) report makes clear, women farmers and agricultural workers face hurdles that men do not.  Women have unequal access to and control over key productive assets and...Read More

After 10 Years, Female Farmer Wins Land Share in Court in Tajikistan

In Khatlon Province, Tajikistan, more female farmers are learning of their land rights and seek to exercise and defend those rights. Through the Feed the Future Tajikistan Land Market Development Activity, tashabbuskors — community activists — and Legal Aid Center (LAC) lawyers support female farmers in the province in 12 target districts. In Dusti District, Nuri...Read More

What Corporations and Smallholder Farmers Have in Common: Addressing the Challenge of Land Rights in Emerging Markets

This article was originally published on the Next Billion website.  By: Mary Hobbs, Director for the Agriculture, Environment, and Business Office, USAID/Mozambique Mozambican farmer Lucia Maurício farms about 10 hectares (25 acres) of land to feed her five growing children. Portucel Executive Director Paulo Silva manages more than 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres) of eucalyptus farms...Read More

Are medium-scale farms driving agricultural transformation in sub-Saharan Africa?

T. S. Jayne,  Milu Muyanga, Ayala Wineman, Hosaena Ghebru, Caleb Stevens, Mercedes Stickler, Antony Chapoto, Ward Anseeuw, Divan van der Westhuizen, David Nyang Abstract This study presents evidence of profound farm-level transformation in parts of sub- Saharan Africa, identifies major sources of dynamism in the sector, and proposes an updated typology of farms that reflects...Read More

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Evaluations & Research

Feed the Future Tanzania Land Tenure Assistance Activity Evaluation

USAID/Tanzania, as part of the Feed the Future initiative, is funding the Land Tenure Assistance (LTA) activity to clarify and document land ownership, support local land use planning efforts, and increase local understanding of land use and land rights in Tanzania. DAI implements the LTA activity under a $6 million four-year contract that began in December 2015.

Gender Disparities in Customary Land Allocation: Lessons from USAID Impact Evaluation Data

This report presents the final results of the CEL Gender and Land Allocation (GLA) research activity. The objective of GLA is to investigate the extent to which customary land allocation systems exhibit gender bias in order to inform policy and programming intended to provide secure land rights for women To this end, GLA utilizes secondary household datasets that have been collected for impact evaluations of previous USAID land tenure projects in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

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