Land Rights Knowledge and Conservation in Rural Ethiopia: Mind the Gender Gap

    1. Study Information


      This section discusses the 2014 IFPRI paper “Land Rights Knowledge and Conservation in Rural Ethiopia: Mind the Gender Gap” by Agnes Quisumbing and Neha Kumar.1

      The Ethiopian Rural Household Survey (ERHS) is a panel data set using data from 7 rounds of data collection. This paper uses data from 2009. The land registration effort began in 2003. The ERHS sample consists of 1300 households in 15 villages across Ethiopia, with a particular focus on different agro-climates and agricultural systems.

    2. Questions posed
      • What is the medium-term impact of land registration on investment behavior by households, particularly the adoption of soil conservation techniques and tree planting?
      • Do differences between men and women in resource control and knowledge lead to significant differences in the adoption of soil conservation technologies and tree planting?
    3. Description of intervention

      Community based land certification and registration.

    4. Context of findings

      Male-and female-headed households differ in terms of human and physical assets, land owned and cultivated, and awareness of and participation in the land registration process. Female heads of household tend to be older, have fewer years of schooling, and have household members with fewer completed years of schooling than do male heads of household. Female-headed households have a larger share of dependent members but a smaller household size.

      Male-headed households hold more land (have larger plot sizes), of which a larger proportion is cultivable, compared to female-headed households. Women in male-headed households operate only 1 percent of the land, but in female-headed households, men operate almost one-fifth of land area.

      There is near universal certification of land rights for both women and men, but a large gap in knowledge of land rights.

    5. Key findings

      Adoption of Soil Conservation Techniques (SCT) is a labor-intensive process that tends to be higher in households with more labor resources (household size) but can be lower in households with higher opportunity costs of labor (better-educated households, more livestock). Registration of land was not a determinant factor, but this is because there has been near universal registration of land.

      Gender gaps in knowledge of land rights specifically has negative impacts on the adoption of some SCTs, whereas the general knowledge level of the household does not.

      “Gender gaps in knowledge about land rights in three domains—tenure security, land transferability, and gender rights—diminish the adoption of soil conservation practices as well as the planting of tree crops and legumes, although different domains of rights matter for different practices.”

      Paper suggests that closing the knowledge gap in legal rights is an important step to improving adoption of soil conservation technologies and sustainable farming techniques.

    6. Unanswered questions
      • What is the most effective means of ensuring that women have knowledge of legal land rights?
      • Are the results the same for women in male-headed households?
      • Are women in female-headed households or women in male-headed households more likely to attend information meetings? Which group is more likely to have more information and why?
    1. Quisumbing, A., & Kumar, N. (2014). Land Rights Knowledge and Conservation in Rural Ethiopia: Mind the Gender Gap. IFPRI.