Insecure land tenure is a crucial problem that reduces agricultural investment and productivity. Both men and women suffer from tenure insecurity, but women are particularly disadvantaged by tenure insecurity in both statutory and customary land tenure systems (Meinzen-Dick et al., 2017; Pattanayak et al., 2003; Kiptot et al., 2014). In a famous study of customary land tenure within Ghana, Goldstein and Udry (2008) estimated that in 1997 Ghana lost 1% of its GDP because tenure insecurity led female farmers to invest less in agricultural productivity.
Tenure insecurity reduces Climate Smart Agricultural (CSA) investments in Zambia as well. Dillon and Voena (2017) show that in Zambian households where women have less tenure security, they apply 13– 18% less fertilizer, fallow 4–5% less land area, and use intensive tillage techniques on 3–5% fewer acres. There is also evidence that women’s insecurity over land and tree resources reduces agroforestry adoption, which the Zambian government has promoted to improve soil fertility (Kiptot et al., 2014).
While there has been a great deal of USAID and other donor research on constraints facing smallholder farmers, there have been few rigorous empirical studies of interventions to reduce tenure insecurity on customary land or to increase agroforestry. Even rarer are studies that emphasize effects for women.1 This gender brief outlines main gendered findings for male and female household heads based on a rigorous USAID-funded randomized control trial (RCT) in Zambia of the Tenure and Global Climate Change Program (TGCC). The evaluation examined whether the TGCC program successfully improved tenure security through informal customary land registration and whether that, in turn, led to increased farmer investment in sustainable agroforestry. Positive results of the TGCC program would point to a path of increased smallholder investments that could increase food security, ensure sustainable development and reduce poverty. This gender brief first highlights key findings, provides background on the Zambian context and the interventions and then delves into the differential outcomes by gender.