Land Redistribution

Land redistribution can occur when, for example, the state provides land to the landless (India), former collective farms distribute land to individual households (China), or people are moved from one place to another. Often a temporary document is issued, and later that temporary document can be replaced by a more permanent document, a title, that is then registered. The document provided when the initial distribution occurs can have a lasting effect on who has legal rights to the land.

Page Contents

  1. Research – Quantitative and qualitative studies organized by country and outcome
  2. Legal Issues – Common legal issues and example laws, regulations, and policies
  3. Projects – Interventions and their outcomes

Research Organized by Country

  1. Study Information

     

    This section discusses the 2013 IFPRI Discussion Paper “Can Government-Allocated Land Contribute to Food Security?” by Florence Santos, Diana Fletschner, Vivien Savath, and Amber Peterman.1

    This study was conducted in West Bengal, India and evaluates the impact of India’s land allocation and registration program in West Bengal. The Nijo Griha, Nijo Bhumi—“My Home, My Land”—program (NGNB) is a program that targets poor populations and promotes the inclusion of women’s names on land titles. The study collected information between 2010 and 2012 using both qualitative and quantitative methods. It examines the program’s selection of beneficiaries and a set of outcomes that are expected to lay the foundation for future food security, as well as short-term food security indicators.

    The quantitative survey sample consists of 1,035 households: 671 NGNB beneficiaries and 364 non-beneficiaries that serve as the control group. The households were located in three districts: Coochbehar, Bankura, and Jalpaiguri. The control group was made up of households who were on the list of NGNB eligible households but did not benefit from the program. The control group did not have rights to their own land, but they did have insecure access to some land. Heads of households (both male and female) were interviewed with a sub-set of questions given to the female spouse of male-headed households, where applicable.

  2. Questions posed
    • Do NGNB households have better outcomes than non-NGNB households in four areas that will contribute to future food security: perceptions of tenure security, use of credit for agricultural production, investments in agricultural production, and women's participation in decision making?
  3. Description of intervention

    The NGNB program is a government program that provides micro-land plots to landless agricultural laborers. The NGNB program gives priority to female-headed households and widows and explicitly stipulates that land titles issued to households with both male and female adults should be jointly titled to the primary male and female.

  4. Context of findings

    An NGO, Landesa, has provided technical support since 2009 to West Bengal’s Land & Land Reforms Department in piloting changes to the NGNB program, identifying best practices, and scaling it up.

    The program works through the state government and local communities to purchase and allocate small plots of land. The program also provides assistance with housing and basic inputs and capacity building in homestead food production and promotes local development through investment in infrastructure.

  5. Key findings

    The findings indicate that respondents perceive NGNB plots as more secure and that women report significantly higher levels of tenure security for NGNB plots than for non-NGNB land.

    More specifically, the women interviewed are (1) 8 percent less likely to report being concerned about having to vacate NGNB plots; (2) 18 percent more likely to report that they expect their households to have retained access and control over household plots five years from now, with this number dropping slightly, to 17 percent, when women referred to their own personal access and control; and (3) 7 percent more likely to report that they could convince other decision-makers in the family not to sell the land plot against their will.

    NGNB beneficiary households are more likely to access credit for agriculture and to invest in agricultural improvements, and women in NGNB beneficiary households are more likely to participate in food and agricultural decisions compared to their non-NGNB peers. Women in NGNB households are (1) 12 percent more likely to be involved in decisions to take loans from Self-Help Groups or microfinance institution; (2) 12 percent more likely to be involved in decisions on whether to purchase productive assets; (3) 9 percent more likely to be involved in decisions related to food purchase and consumption; and (4) more likely to be involved in decisions about the family land.

    Including women’s names on land titles significantly contributes to women’s perceptions of increased tenure security and to women’s involvement in food and agriculture decision making. Tenure security outcomes improve up to 10 percent among beneficiaries when women’s names are included on the land documents.

  6. Unanswered questions
    • Are there procedural guidelines for ensuring women and men are jointly titled? If so, what are they?
    • What interventions were in place to ensure that both women and men knew the value of their documented rights?
    • With any of the findings, is there a difference between women in male-headed households and female-headed households?
    • Were there any special considerations about the location of the land for female-headed households?
    • Are there differences in terms of impact between Hindu, Muslim, and Christian women?
    • Were there differences in the number of land documented in women’s names by location?
    • Were there incentives for officials to follow the rules re: joint titling?
NOTES
  1. Santos, F., Fletschner, D., Savath, V., & Peterman, A. (2013). “Can Government-Allocated Land Contribute to Food Security?” IFPRI Discussion Paper, December 2013.

  1. Study Information

     

    This section discusses the 2015 article “The Welfare Impact of Land Redistribution: Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Initiative in Malawi” by Mariapia Mendola and Franklin Simtowe.1

    The empirical analysis is based on a four-round household panel data set collected among 1194 households in 6 districts (Mulanje, Thyolo, Mangochi, Machinga, Balaka and Ntcheu) in Malawi between 2006 and 2009. The data set consists of 391 beneficiary households or the “treatment group” and some “indirectly treated” households, i.e. 190 households left behind in the vacated areas and 214 households in receiving areas. The latter groups of households are partially affected by the project through changes in land availability and the labor market as a consequence of the departure or arrival of new households. These groups are reviewed in the analysis of spillover effects of the program placement. Finally, the data set contains information on 397 households in similar areas of neighbouring districts of Chiradzulu and Balaka, which consists of a totally unaffected “control group.”

    The study looks at head of household only and disaggregates by sex of head of household.

  2. Questions posed
    • Did the land redistribution project significantly increase land holdings, agricultural output, and income of beneficiary households and improve households' food security and especially durable asset ownership?
    • Did female-headed households make similar gains?
  3. Description of intervention

    The Community Based Rural Land Development Project (CBRLDP) is a market-based land project, which was a community-based land reform carried out in six pilot districts in the southern part of Malawi set up by the Government of Malawi. More specifically, the project was set up to provide conditional cash transfers to poor families to relocate, purchase, develop, and cultivate larger plots of farm land. The CBRLDP initiative aims at easing land pressure and improving access to needy rural communities through voluntary land acquisition and redistribution. Its final objective is to increase the incomes of about 15,000 poor rural families through a market-based provision of land to the landless and land-poor beneficiary groups from the six Malawi districts.

  4. Context of findings

    The CBRLDP land initiative was implemented without any targeting of women. The project took place in southern Malawi where the primary inheritance system is matrilineal. In the study sample, 87.7 percent of the households follow the matrilineal rules, while 10.5 percent follow the patrilineal system (the remaining part follows other rules).

  5. Key findings

    On average, the results indicate a significant improvement in the well-being of beneficiary households, especially in terms of land size, agricultural output, crop-specific agricultural productivity, food security, asset holdings and agricultural income. In general, these impacts are higher in the short term and, while they remain significant, they slightly decrease over time.

    On average, in matrilineal households, results point to a smaller impact of the land project on female-headed beneficiary households, with the exception of asset accumulation and total income, to which women seem to devote more resources.

  6. Unanswered questions
    • What is the impact of the program on women in male-headed households, disaggregated by matrilineal and patrilineal inheritance systems?
NOTES
  1. Mendola, M., & Simtowe, F. (2015). The Welfare Impact of Land Redistribution: Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Initiative in Malawi. World Development, 72, 53–69.

  1. Study Information

     

    This entry discusses the 2016 article by Shirin Motala, Stewart Ngandu, and Aubrey Mpungose, “Gains For Women From Farmland Redistribution in South Africa and Sustainable Pathways Out of Poverty: Insights From Recent Evidence”1.

    The evidence in the paper is drawn from a study conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) as part of a broader investigation into the role of agrarian reform in poverty reduction in South Africa. The study focused on beneficiaries of three farmland transfer mechanisms implemented in SA since 1994, namely redistribution, restitution and security of tenure. The study assessed the livelihood and poverty outcomes of these beneficiaries in relation to their access to Government-funded Agricultural Development Support (ADS) programmes, namely the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) and Recapitalisation and Development Programme (RECAP).

    The study used a mixed-methods approach that combined a purpose-built household questionnaire and focus groups with two groups of land reform beneficiaries, those with and without programmed ADS, as well as key informant interviews. The household was used as the unit of analysis as it was considered an appropriate level for comparing how beneficiaries of agrarian reform may or may not have benefitted from land redistribution and agrarian support interventions.

    The study was conducted in three provinces and within two districts in each of these provinces: KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), North West (NW), and Western Cape (WC). Study participants were selected on the basis of a four-stage stratified sampling design, which included selection by province, district, type of land transfer mechanism and finally, by land reform beneficiaries who had or had not accessed Government-funded ADS.

  2. Questions posed
    • Under what conditions does (or could) farmland redistribution coupled with provisioning of agricultural development support (ADS) contribute to reducing hunger and food insecurity?
    • Do men and women benefit in the same way from these interventions, and if not, what are the design features which enhance the gendered livelihood outcomes of land reform beneficiaries?
  3. Description of intervention

    Post-1994 Farm Land Redistribution and agricultural development support to assist in rural poverty reduction.

  4. Context of findings

    In South Africa, approximately 2.9 million households (20%) are engaged in agriculture. The largest percentage of these households are located in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) (25%), Eastern Cape (EC) (21%) and Limpopo (LP) (16%), and the lowest percentages in Western Cape (WC) (3%) and Northern Cape (NC) (2%). Agricultural households in the rural provinces of KZN, EC and LP are primarily involved in subsistence farming, while most of the agricultural households in the WC are engaged in commercial agriculture. The heads of a majority of agricultural households are within the 45 to 54 year age group. A significant percentage have low levels of education, with approximately a quarter of these household heads having no schooling (KZN 27% and North West [NW] 22%). The racial profile of agricultural heads of households in KZN and NW is overwhelmingly black African. KZN had the highest number of female-headed households compared to NW and WC. Although evidence points to a decrease in the share of rural poverty, particularly among black Africans, a very large proportion of these household heads have no income.

  5. Key findings

    Just over half (54%) of all land reform beneficiaries were men followed by joint ownership at 29% and females exclusively owning land at 17%.

    Women have not benefited equally or equitably through land transfer mechanisms implemented by the state. A very small number of women benefited from land transfers, despite a strong legislative and policy environment, which has actively sought to redress women’s rights. However, the current land reform process has increased women’s access to and control over land through joint ownership of land.

    The provisioning of ADS is not properly targeted to ensure that farmers have access to this support. This is reflected in the low numbers of women who have accessed ADS. There was also a lack of nuanced delivery mechanisms that failed to provide relevant and appropriate services to female land owners.

    Where women have been recipients of both land transfers and agrarian development support, a positive relationship is demonstrated with increased household food expenditure and therefore increased food consumption by that household. Access to land without concomitant access to ADS is not likely to enhance livelihood outcomes, particularly female-headed households. The main reason for households engaging in agricultural production was largely to fulfill household consumption needs and not as a means of generating household income.

    The majority of transferred land is not used or underutilised, although female-headed households were likely to utilise more than their male counterparts, especially if they had received ADS.

NOTES
  1. Shirin Motala, Stewart Ngandu & Aubrey Mpungose (2016) Gains for women from farmland redistribution in South Africa and sustainable pathways out of poverty – insights from recent evidence, Agenda, 30:4, 85-98

  1. Study Information

     

    This section discusses the 2014 article “Poverty and Land Redistribution” by Malcolm Keswell and Michael Carter1.

    This paper examines South Africa’s Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) program. The paper exploits features of LRAD program implementation to extract exogenous variation in whether, and for how long, applicant households enjoyed land transfers. Individuals self-select into the LRAD applicant pool, and are then subjected to a screening process that encompasses multiple stages. This screening process leads to a homogenization of sorts among the applicant pool. Applicants with similarly high chances of succeeding as farmers are kept in the applicant pool, while applicants with little chance of success are dropped from the pool. This administratively filtered subset of the applicant pool ends up receiving land transfers at different points in time leading to a variation in the duration of treatment. The paper studies the effect of the program by exploiting the plausibly exogenous component of this variation.

    To achieve identification, the study employs generalized propensity score (GPS) methods that allows them  to match transfer beneficiaries based on observable characteristics that are likely to influence both treatment duration and its impact. They analyze beneficiary data under two alternative statistical strategies.

    The study looked at male and female-headed households.

  2. Questions posed
    • What are the poverty reduction impacts of land redistribution?
    • Are the impacts greater than cash transfers?
  3. Description of intervention

    This paper studies the impact of South Africa’s Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) program. LRAD makes land purchase grants to landless farm workers and labor tenants. The program does not mandate redistribution of land from rich to poor, but rather operates through markets on a willing buyer–willing seller basis. LRAD is intended to provide land to black South Africans with an interest in farming, especially women. The program requires applicants to live on or near the land they wish to acquire through the program. Individuals who hold public office, civil servants, or relatives of such individuals are ineligible.

  4. Context of findings

    During the colonial period and the apartheid era that followed, Black South Africans were dispossessed of their land rights. The dispossession had basically eliminated peasant smallholders. In South Africa in the mid-1990s, land reform was initially pursued as a restitution of legal rights, with lesser attention to securing the economic benefits typically associated with land reform efforts. The result was an ineffective program. Reacting to this reality, the South African government overhauled its land reform approach in 2001, creating the LRAD program.

    The program works on the basis of a grant that is awarded to beneficiaries on a sliding scale. The minimum grant of 20,000 South African rands requires a matching contribution of 5000 rand (in cash or in-kind). The maximum grant of 100,000 rand requires a matching contribution amount of 40,000 rand. In practice, grants are pooled into a fund that is administered on behalf of a small group of beneficiaries. These funds are then used to purchase land, which becomes the property of the beneficiaries.

  5. Key findings

    The intended targeting of women by the LRAD program does not seem to be borne out by the data, as approved female-headed households have a lower probability than male-headed households of finally gaining access to LRAD grants than do male-headed households.

    Binary treatment effect estimates, which compare treated with approved but untreated households stuck in the administrative pipeline, show that land transfers boost household living standards by 25%. Continuous treatment estimates, which are based on exploiting different treatment durations among the sets of LRAD applicants who actually received land transfers, show that living standards initially dip with the land transfers, but then after three years rise to levels that imply a 50% increase in living standards of the treated households who entered the program with poverty line standards of living.

NOTES
  1. Keswell M., Carter M.R., (2014) Journal of Development Economics, 110, pp. 250-261.

Research Organized by Outcome

  1. Study Information

     

    This section discusses the 2015 article “The Welfare Impact of Land Redistribution: Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Initiative in Malawi” by Mariapia Mendola and Franklin Simtowe.1

    The empirical analysis is based on a four-round household panel data set collected among 1194 households in 6 districts (Mulanje, Thyolo, Mangochi, Machinga, Balaka and Ntcheu) in Malawi between 2006 and 2009. The data set consists of 391 beneficiary households or the “treatment group” and some “indirectly treated” households, i.e. 190 households left behind in the vacated areas and 214 households in receiving areas. The latter groups of households are partially affected by the project through changes in land availability and the labor market as a consequence of the departure or arrival of new households. These groups are reviewed in the analysis of spillover effects of the program placement. Finally, the data set contains information on 397 households in similar areas of neighbouring districts of Chiradzulu and Balaka, which consists of a totally unaffected “control group.”

    The study looks at head of household only and disaggregates by sex of head of household.

  2. Questions posed
    • Did the land redistribution project significantly increase land holdings, agricultural output, and income of beneficiary households and improve households' food security and especially durable asset ownership?
    • Did female-headed households make similar gains?
  3. Description of intervention

    The Community Based Rural Land Development Project (CBRLDP) is a market-based land project, which was a community-based land reform carried out in six pilot districts in the southern part of Malawi set up by the Government of Malawi. More specifically, the project was set up to provide conditional cash transfers to poor families to relocate, purchase, develop, and cultivate larger plots of farm land. The CBRLDP initiative aims at easing land pressure and improving access to needy rural communities through voluntary land acquisition and redistribution. Its final objective is to increase the incomes of about 15,000 poor rural families through a market-based provision of land to the landless and land-poor beneficiary groups from the six Malawi districts.

  4. Context of findings

    The CBRLDP land initiative was implemented without any targeting of women. The project took place in southern Malawi where the primary inheritance system is matrilineal. In the study sample, 87.7 percent of the households follow the matrilineal rules, while 10.5 percent follow the patrilineal system (the remaining part follows other rules).

  5. Key findings

    On average, the results indicate a significant improvement in the well-being of beneficiary households, especially in terms of land size, agricultural output, crop-specific agricultural productivity, food security, asset holdings and agricultural income. In general, these impacts are higher in the short term and, while they remain significant, they slightly decrease over time.

    On average, in matrilineal households, results point to a smaller impact of the land project on female-headed beneficiary households, with the exception of asset accumulation and total income, to which women seem to devote more resources.

  6. Unanswered questions
    • What is the impact of the program on women in male-headed households, disaggregated by matrilineal and patrilineal inheritance systems?
NOTES
  1. Mendola, M., & Simtowe, F. (2015). The Welfare Impact of Land Redistribution: Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Initiative in Malawi. World Development, 72, 53–69.

  1. Study Information

     

    This entry discusses the 2016 article by Shirin Motala, Stewart Ngandu, and Aubrey Mpungose, “Gains For Women From Farmland Redistribution in South Africa and Sustainable Pathways Out of Poverty: Insights From Recent Evidence”1.

    The evidence in the paper is drawn from a study conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) as part of a broader investigation into the role of agrarian reform in poverty reduction in South Africa. The study focused on beneficiaries of three farmland transfer mechanisms implemented in SA since 1994, namely redistribution, restitution and security of tenure. The study assessed the livelihood and poverty outcomes of these beneficiaries in relation to their access to Government-funded Agricultural Development Support (ADS) programmes, namely the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) and Recapitalisation and Development Programme (RECAP).

    The study used a mixed-methods approach that combined a purpose-built household questionnaire and focus groups with two groups of land reform beneficiaries, those with and without programmed ADS, as well as key informant interviews. The household was used as the unit of analysis as it was considered an appropriate level for comparing how beneficiaries of agrarian reform may or may not have benefitted from land redistribution and agrarian support interventions.

    The study was conducted in three provinces and within two districts in each of these provinces: KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), North West (NW), and Western Cape (WC). Study participants were selected on the basis of a four-stage stratified sampling design, which included selection by province, district, type of land transfer mechanism and finally, by land reform beneficiaries who had or had not accessed Government-funded ADS.

  2. Questions posed
    • Under what conditions does (or could) farmland redistribution coupled with provisioning of agricultural development support (ADS) contribute to reducing hunger and food insecurity?
    • Do men and women benefit in the same way from these interventions, and if not, what are the design features which enhance the gendered livelihood outcomes of land reform beneficiaries?
  3. Description of intervention

    Post-1994 Farm Land Redistribution and agricultural development support to assist in rural poverty reduction.

  4. Context of findings

    In South Africa, approximately 2.9 million households (20%) are engaged in agriculture. The largest percentage of these households are located in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) (25%), Eastern Cape (EC) (21%) and Limpopo (LP) (16%), and the lowest percentages in Western Cape (WC) (3%) and Northern Cape (NC) (2%). Agricultural households in the rural provinces of KZN, EC and LP are primarily involved in subsistence farming, while most of the agricultural households in the WC are engaged in commercial agriculture. The heads of a majority of agricultural households are within the 45 to 54 year age group. A significant percentage have low levels of education, with approximately a quarter of these household heads having no schooling (KZN 27% and North West [NW] 22%). The racial profile of agricultural heads of households in KZN and NW is overwhelmingly black African. KZN had the highest number of female-headed households compared to NW and WC. Although evidence points to a decrease in the share of rural poverty, particularly among black Africans, a very large proportion of these household heads have no income.

  5. Key findings

    Just over half (54%) of all land reform beneficiaries were men followed by joint ownership at 29% and females exclusively owning land at 17%.

    Women have not benefited equally or equitably through land transfer mechanisms implemented by the state. A very small number of women benefited from land transfers, despite a strong legislative and policy environment, which has actively sought to redress women’s rights. However, the current land reform process has increased women’s access to and control over land through joint ownership of land.

    The provisioning of ADS is not properly targeted to ensure that farmers have access to this support. This is reflected in the low numbers of women who have accessed ADS. There was also a lack of nuanced delivery mechanisms that failed to provide relevant and appropriate services to female land owners.

    Where women have been recipients of both land transfers and agrarian development support, a positive relationship is demonstrated with increased household food expenditure and therefore increased food consumption by that household. Access to land without concomitant access to ADS is not likely to enhance livelihood outcomes, particularly female-headed households. The main reason for households engaging in agricultural production was largely to fulfill household consumption needs and not as a means of generating household income.

    The majority of transferred land is not used or underutilised, although female-headed households were likely to utilise more than their male counterparts, especially if they had received ADS.

NOTES
  1. Shirin Motala, Stewart Ngandu & Aubrey Mpungose (2016) Gains for women from farmland redistribution in South Africa and sustainable pathways out of poverty – insights from recent evidence, Agenda, 30:4, 85-98

  1. Study Information

     

    This section discusses the 2014 article “Poverty and Land Redistribution” by Malcolm Keswell and Michael Carter1.

    This paper examines South Africa’s Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) program. The paper exploits features of LRAD program implementation to extract exogenous variation in whether, and for how long, applicant households enjoyed land transfers. Individuals self-select into the LRAD applicant pool, and are then subjected to a screening process that encompasses multiple stages. This screening process leads to a homogenization of sorts among the applicant pool. Applicants with similarly high chances of succeeding as farmers are kept in the applicant pool, while applicants with little chance of success are dropped from the pool. This administratively filtered subset of the applicant pool ends up receiving land transfers at different points in time leading to a variation in the duration of treatment. The paper studies the effect of the program by exploiting the plausibly exogenous component of this variation.

    To achieve identification, the study employs generalized propensity score (GPS) methods that allows them  to match transfer beneficiaries based on observable characteristics that are likely to influence both treatment duration and its impact. They analyze beneficiary data under two alternative statistical strategies.

    The study looked at male and female-headed households.

  2. Questions posed
    • What are the poverty reduction impacts of land redistribution?
    • Are the impacts greater than cash transfers?
  3. Description of intervention

    This paper studies the impact of South Africa’s Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) program. LRAD makes land purchase grants to landless farm workers and labor tenants. The program does not mandate redistribution of land from rich to poor, but rather operates through markets on a willing buyer–willing seller basis. LRAD is intended to provide land to black South Africans with an interest in farming, especially women. The program requires applicants to live on or near the land they wish to acquire through the program. Individuals who hold public office, civil servants, or relatives of such individuals are ineligible.

  4. Context of findings

    During the colonial period and the apartheid era that followed, Black South Africans were dispossessed of their land rights. The dispossession had basically eliminated peasant smallholders. In South Africa in the mid-1990s, land reform was initially pursued as a restitution of legal rights, with lesser attention to securing the economic benefits typically associated with land reform efforts. The result was an ineffective program. Reacting to this reality, the South African government overhauled its land reform approach in 2001, creating the LRAD program.

    The program works on the basis of a grant that is awarded to beneficiaries on a sliding scale. The minimum grant of 20,000 South African rands requires a matching contribution of 5000 rand (in cash or in-kind). The maximum grant of 100,000 rand requires a matching contribution amount of 40,000 rand. In practice, grants are pooled into a fund that is administered on behalf of a small group of beneficiaries. These funds are then used to purchase land, which becomes the property of the beneficiaries.

  5. Key findings

    The intended targeting of women by the LRAD program does not seem to be borne out by the data, as approved female-headed households have a lower probability than male-headed households of finally gaining access to LRAD grants than do male-headed households.

    Binary treatment effect estimates, which compare treated with approved but untreated households stuck in the administrative pipeline, show that land transfers boost household living standards by 25%. Continuous treatment estimates, which are based on exploiting different treatment durations among the sets of LRAD applicants who actually received land transfers, show that living standards initially dip with the land transfers, but then after three years rise to levels that imply a 50% increase in living standards of the treated households who entered the program with poverty line standards of living.

NOTES
  1. Keswell M., Carter M.R., (2014) Journal of Development Economics, 110, pp. 250-261.

  1. Study Information

     

    This section discusses the 2013 IFPRI Discussion Paper “Can Government-Allocated Land Contribute to Food Security?” by Florence Santos, Diana Fletschner, Vivien Savath, and Amber Peterman.1

    This study was conducted in West Bengal, India and evaluates the impact of India’s land allocation and registration program in West Bengal. The Nijo Griha, Nijo Bhumi—“My Home, My Land”—program (NGNB) is a program that targets poor populations and promotes the inclusion of women’s names on land titles. The study collected information between 2010 and 2012 using both qualitative and quantitative methods. It examines the program’s selection of beneficiaries and a set of outcomes that are expected to lay the foundation for future food security, as well as short-term food security indicators.

    The quantitative survey sample consists of 1,035 households: 671 NGNB beneficiaries and 364 non-beneficiaries that serve as the control group. The households were located in three districts: Coochbehar, Bankura, and Jalpaiguri. The control group was made up of households who were on the list of NGNB eligible households but did not benefit from the program. The control group did not have rights to their own land, but they did have insecure access to some land. Heads of households (both male and female) were interviewed with a sub-set of questions given to the female spouse of male-headed households, where applicable.

  2. Questions posed
    • Do NGNB households have better outcomes than non-NGNB households in four areas that will contribute to future food security: perceptions of tenure security, use of credit for agricultural production, investments in agricultural production, and women's participation in decision making?
  3. Description of intervention

    The NGNB program is a government program that provides micro-land plots to landless agricultural laborers. The NGNB program gives priority to female-headed households and widows and explicitly stipulates that land titles issued to households with both male and female adults should be jointly titled to the primary male and female.

  4. Context of findings

    An NGO, Landesa, has provided technical support since 2009 to West Bengal’s Land & Land Reforms Department in piloting changes to the NGNB program, identifying best practices, and scaling it up.

    The program works through the state government and local communities to purchase and allocate small plots of land. The program also provides assistance with housing and basic inputs and capacity building in homestead food production and promotes local development through investment in infrastructure.

  5. Key findings

    The findings indicate that respondents perceive NGNB plots as more secure and that women report significantly higher levels of tenure security for NGNB plots than for non-NGNB land.

    More specifically, the women interviewed are (1) 8 percent less likely to report being concerned about having to vacate NGNB plots; (2) 18 percent more likely to report that they expect their households to have retained access and control over household plots five years from now, with this number dropping slightly, to 17 percent, when women referred to their own personal access and control; and (3) 7 percent more likely to report that they could convince other decision-makers in the family not to sell the land plot against their will.

    NGNB beneficiary households are more likely to access credit for agriculture and to invest in agricultural improvements, and women in NGNB beneficiary households are more likely to participate in food and agricultural decisions compared to their non-NGNB peers. Women in NGNB households are (1) 12 percent more likely to be involved in decisions to take loans from Self-Help Groups or microfinance institution; (2) 12 percent more likely to be involved in decisions on whether to purchase productive assets; (3) 9 percent more likely to be involved in decisions related to food purchase and consumption; and (4) more likely to be involved in decisions about the family land.

    Including women’s names on land titles significantly contributes to women’s perceptions of increased tenure security and to women’s involvement in food and agriculture decision making. Tenure security outcomes improve up to 10 percent among beneficiaries when women’s names are included on the land documents.

  6. Unanswered questions
    • Are there procedural guidelines for ensuring women and men are jointly titled? If so, what are they?
    • What interventions were in place to ensure that both women and men knew the value of their documented rights?
    • With any of the findings, is there a difference between women in male-headed households and female-headed households?
    • Were there any special considerations about the location of the land for female-headed households?
    • Are there differences in terms of impact between Hindu, Muslim, and Christian women?
    • Were there differences in the number of land documented in women’s names by location?
    • Were there incentives for officials to follow the rules re: joint titling?
NOTES
  1. Santos, F., Fletschner, D., Savath, V., & Peterman, A. (2013). “Can Government-Allocated Land Contribute to Food Security?” IFPRI Discussion Paper, December 2013.

Projects

  1. Project Description

    The Nijo Griha, Nijo Bhumi—“My Home, My Land”—program (NGNB) is a West Bengal Government homestead allocation program that started in 2009 with the goal of providing homestead land to homesteadless agricultural laborer households.1  Land that is redistributed is either government land or land the government purchases from private landholders.

  2. Methodology

    Female-headed households and families with daughters only (no sons) are prioritized as well as impoverished agricultural laborer families and families with little income.

    The land plots are at least 5 decimals (5 hundredths of an acre) and are allocated in clusters. The guidelines require both spouses names to be listed, with women’s names first.

     

  3. Outcomes

    It is sometimes difficult for people who receive land to actually move to the land because there are no services and generally the land is not close to where they currently live.

NOTES
  1. Santos, F., Fletschner, D., Savath, V., & Peterman, A. (2013). “Can Government-Allocated Land Contribute to Food Security?” IFPRI Discussion Paper, December 2013.

  1. Project Description

    Following the formulation of a land policy in 2004, the government launched a land redistribution project: Community Based Rural Land Development Project (CBRLDP).1 The project’s goal is to contribute towards poverty reduction by increasing the incomes of 15,000 poor rural families in four pilot districts of Mulanje, Thyolo, Mangochi, and Machinga. The project involves the moving of groups of landless poor people from the highly populated and severely land scarce districts of Mulanje and Thyolo districts to the less densely populated and under-utilized estate farms of Mangochi and Machinga.

    The CBRLDP is a community-driven project being implemented through a decentralized framework. In this framework, communities are responsible for implementing CBRLDP development activities. Beneficiaries are self-selected, able to identify land to move to, and they prepare and implement their own farm plans. The two primary components of the project are land acquisition and farm development.

    Although there are Project Steering Committees (PSC) and National Technical Advisory Committees (NTAC) at the national level, the local structures such as District Executive Committees, Area Development Committees (ADC), Village Development Committees (VDC), Community Oversight Committees (COC), and Project Management Committees (PMC), play leading roles in the identification of interested beneficiaries.

  2. Methodology

    Interested beneficiaries are identified through sensitization meetings. Each household is allocated less than 2 hectares of land and Beneficiary Groups are designated as Trusts with their own constitutions to govern the Trust’s affairs.  Each household receives a settlement grant of $1050 of which 30% is for land acquisition, 10% covers settlement costs, and 60% is for farm development. The ownership of the land rests with the Trust with an option of titling the land as long as the Trust can pay the cost.  The beneficiaries have the right to decide the property regime in which they will hold the land, but for the first five years they are not allowed to dispose of or sub-divide the land.

  3. Outcomes

    The case studies in the report found that a lack of food security, low income and insecure access to land were factors that influenced women to participate in the CBRLDP. Women’s representation in all levels of the project was very low, which led to the design of selection criteria that promoted men’s access to and land ownership and excluded women from independent land ownership.  Many women were not ready to give up their current land in exchange for being part of the program.

    While group titling has the potential to create livelihoods among the beneficiaries, the study revealed that the livelihoods created by project are gendered because the majority of beneficiaries are men. Access to land within the CBRLDP was determined by powerful individuals such as chiefs, and members of the VDC and ADC who had the power to identify and endorse eligible beneficiaries.

    Both unmarried and married women held weaker rights within the beneficiary household. Although it is claimed that women have rights to land within the group titling of the CBRLDP, such rights exist at the Trust level but at the household level such rights are non-existent. Women’s rights within the household are determined by primary decision makers within the households. Furthermore, women, particularly those who are unmarried and widows are excluded from access to resources within the CBRLDP, in particular by the leadership of traditional institutions. This is because beneficiaries of the state funded subsidy programs are identified based on household socioeconomic status. Many households are male headed; as a result the program is dominated by male beneficiaries.

    While the project showed positive results at the household level, women within those households were not considered and thus lost rather than gained rights to land.

NOTES
  1. The information about this project all comes from: DB Saidi - ‎2015, Rural livelihoods and women's access to land: a case study of the Katuli area, Mangochi District, Malawi.