Land Rights publications

Land Rights in Africa publications from various sources

  • May 2021

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  • GRAIN

Companies in the business of selling farmland to billionaires and pension funds are peddling it as a green, sustainable and socially responsible investment. This propaganda is working. The digital land records and massive quantities of data that big tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon are vacuuming up from farmers’ fields make it easier for the companies to scour the planet for profitable farmland deals. They can also use satellite technologies and drones to monitor their farms from a distance. But the world’s farmland is finite. So, as corporations inhabit more of it, the less there is for small farmers, indigenous peoples and rural communities. Small farms have greater biodiversity and tree cover. They feed their communities with healthy foods. They generate and distribute wealth locally and fairly and build dynamic communities. They can and often do practice agroecology without fossil fuels or chemical inputs. Those who presently control the world’s financial flows are not capable of supporting the food producers and food systems that can deal with the climate crisis or the many other crises afflicting food and agriculture. Our challenge is to get both farmland and money out of their hands, as fast as we can.

  • May 2021

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  • Legal Assistance Centre (The Namibian)

The restitution of ancestral land rights in Namibia has  divided opinions since independence. Some argue it is a fitting process in dealing with colonial era land dispossessions, others are concerned about the complexity of implementing this kind of restitution. At independence, the Namibian government adopted the viewpoint of the latter group, arguing that the restitution of ancestral land rights is not possible because of historical complexities in establishing land occupancy by indigenous people at the time of Namibia’s colonisation. Subsequent policy and law on land reform therefore excluded the restitution of ancestral land rights; but the public debate on restitution remained alive among those mostly affected by historical land dispossessions. After a 2018 conference, President Geingob established a commission of inquiry into claims of ancestral land rights and restitution. Testimonies presented to the commission expressed deep-seated dissatisfaction, frustration and disillusionment. There were complaints about illegal fencing. The commission concluded that ancestral land has different meanings to different communities and in different contexts, and that the purpose of ancestral land restitution involves correcting the historical injustices of land dispossession. It recommends that the Namibian parliament should enact an ancestral land rights claim and restitution law within the next two years, on condition that this process and its outcome must be consistent with constitutional, international and human rights law.

  • May 2021

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  • The Ethiopian Herald

A Federal Ethiopian government official stated that lack of legal cadaster has caused maladministration from which the government is still suffering as it has resulted in illegal construction and non-legal documental land ownership, which have become sources of conflict in most parts of the nation. There is now a plan to raise public awareness about the legal cadaster system, which it will be implementing in towns and cities.

  • May 2021

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  • Cheryl Doss and Vanya Slavchevska (Land Portal)

Advancing women’s land rights is a priority for the international development agenda, yet there is no consensus on which rights should be monitored and reported. Three indicators of women’s property rights are widely used in the literature: each captures a different aspect of women’s land rights. Our recent academic paper explores the extent to which these different rights are held by the same person, using data from six African countries. The first is who owns the land, the second who manages the plot, the third who controls the use of the output. Quantitative evidence from six nationally representative surveys in Africa indicates that the gender gaps in land rights differ, depending on which indicator of land rights is used. They also vary widely across countries depending on whether we consider rights held by a single individual (sole rights) or those held jointly with others (usually a spouse). The quantitative evidence is clear. We should not treat these different rights as interchangeable in our analyses. The rights are frequently not held by the same person.

  • April 2021

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  • Daily Nation

On 27 April 2021 President Kenyatta launched the National Land Information Management System (NLIMS), the culmination of years of digitisation of chaotic land records. It is expected to ease title transfers and safeguard public land from grabbers. It coincided with the opening of a National Geospatial Data Centre, an online depository that will contain all the land records in the country. The President said that ‘at the click of a button citizens will carry out various land transactions, drastically reducing human interaction, delays and all other inconveniences that Kenyans have had to endure in our land registries. Perennial fraud, corruption and illegal transactions will be a thing of the past.’

  • April 2021

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  • Amy Coughenour Betancourt CADASTA (Land Portal)

The CEO of Cadasta argues that since its founding in 2015, Cadasta has become the leading provider of technical tools and services to support the documentation of land and resource rights to build stronger, more sustainable communities. We have continued to adapt and improve our tools and strategy to make it easier than ever to collect, store, and analyse land and resource rights data around the world. We have now worked with more than 70 partners in 33 countries to advance the land and resource rights of over 5 million people across 11.8 million hectares in 1,580 communities. Over 100,000 land documents covering over 600,000 people have been issued by governments, and this number continues to grow. Cadasta’s dashboards, webmaps, and data analysis tools help put information and decisions in the hands of those who need it the most – families and communities left out of formal land systems who rely on their land for their livelihoods, their lives, and their futures.

  • March 2021

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  • CCSI and CED

Despite a recent transparency law and participation in transparency initiatives, Cameroon’s investment environment remains plagued by poor transparency. In a new report CCSI and CED find that: communities continue to be excluded from decision-making around investments; the government pursues a top-down approach to concession allocation and remains reluctant to recognize all legitimate tenure rights; it faces threats to its legitimacy as the grievances of citizens and investors alike lead to the barring of roads by communities and investor withdrawals; investors are aware of the challenges of current legislation and are also in favour of inclusive land reform. CCSI and CED call for: a new law and a national moratorium on any new approvals for large-scale agribusiness and other land-based investment projects until Cameroon’s legal and policy landscape has been reformed.

  • March 2021

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  • GLTN

On 5 March 2021 the Namibian Ministry of Land Reform issued 988 land holder titles to nine associations in Freedom Square, an informal settlement in Gobabis municipality, with an additional 122 to be printed in due course. This is a huge milestone to the residents of Freedom Square and to the stakeholders championing the improvement of tenure security of middle and low-income groups residing in different informal settlements of Namibia. The land holder titles are a statutory form of tenure which include similar rights of freehold ownership, hence improving tenure security to communities that were previously insecure and undocumented, and in so doing, improving their quality of life. Freedom Square residents now have the liberty to incrementally improve/develop their dwellings, i.e. housing and other basic facilities including water and proper sanitation.

  • March 2021

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  • GLTN (Hélène M. Bahati, UN-Habitat)

The Ninth of March 2021 will go down in history for the residents of Mambasa Territory in Ituri Province as the day the government laid the foundation stone for the Mambasa Land Administration building. This construction project is part of the land reform process in which the government has been engaged in since 2012, which seeks to: develop a national land policy in a participatory manner and revise land laws and regulations; improve security of land tenure in target communities and develop methodological guides in this area; establish the land information system and strengthen land administration in the target provinces. The launch of the construction, estimated to last up to five months, coincided with the official handover of various equipment to the Mambasa Land Administration to strengthen its capacity to respond effectively to the challenges of land information management. The Community Land Service will facilitate the organization of the community land management at the chiefdom level.

  • March 2021

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  • Anadolu Agency (Jeffrey Moyo)

Gives details of how villagers in Chilonga in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo province are being kicked off their land, paving the way for growing lucerne grass as stockfeed. Cites some individual case histories, government support to the giant dairy company Dendairy and attempts to resist the evictions.

  • March 2021

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  • Oxfam (Wytske Chamberlain) and Wegayehu Fitawek (Land Matrix Africa)

This article argues that while we know that the demand for land and natural resources has significantly accelerated in the last decade, it remains very difficult to gauge the exact size of the land rush. Many studies that look into how much land is affected give vastly diverging numbers. Local elites and diaspora investors are known for controlling large areas in their home countries and their activities tend to be even less transparent than those of international investors. Many studies choose not to include domestic investors. Contracts are considered highly confidential and land registration systems are not publicly accessible.

  • March 2021

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  • World Rainforest Movement

For many decades communities in West and Central Africa have been facing industrial oil palm plantations encroaching onto their community land. With the false promise of bringing ‘development’ and jobs, corporations, backed up by the support of the governments, have been granted millions of hectares of land under concessions for industrial oil palm plantations. The results of this expansion have been disastrous for communities living in and around these industrial plantations and in particular for women. In response, grassroots organizations and community leaders from across the region have been organising, mobilising, raising their voices, and networking among each other to stop this destructive and violent occupation of their land. At the heart of these struggles is the community desire to get their lands back. Exchanges with community activists involved in similar struggles helps to break the isolation and make visible the extent of violence that communities often face when confronting a multinational company and government armed forces.
Article highlights 4 specific community struggles: communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo against PHC-Feronia (which recently changed owners to KKM), in Gabon against Olam Company, in Cameroon against Socapalm (which is owned by Socfin) and in Nigeria against Okomu Oil Palm Company (which is also owned by Socfin).

  • March 2021

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  • Prindex (Ibrahima Ka and Cynthia Burning)

Explores what the Prindex 2020 dataset tells us about land rights in sub-Saharan Africa. One in four people in Africa live with the fear of being evicted day-to-day: one of the highest rates in the world. Across 34 countries surveyed in sub-Saharan Africa, a staggering 121 million people said they felt insecure. Compared to other regions of the world, people in sub-Saharan Africa place far less weight on legal documentation when considering how secure they feel in their rights. Many people without any documents feel very secure because the customary systems in place are known and trusted by community members. Renters are almost always more insecure than owners. Women were many times more likely than men to feel insecure. This gender gap is greater than in most other regions of the world. Even women who have legally mandated rights to property after divorce or the death of a husband may be prevented from exercising their rights due to social norms and family pressure. Prindex data show that across the continent every country is different and is struggling with land tenure insecurity in different ways. The first step to improving people’s security is to better understand the drivers of insecurity in each place and among each group, especially the most vulnerable.

  • February 2021

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  • Oakland Institute

An educational resource that debunks myths used for privatizing land around the world while providing facts on how customary tenure systems are critical to protecting livelihoods and ensuring sustainable development for the people and the planet. The privatization of land consistently serves the interests of private investors and multinational corporations at the expense of billions of livelihoods and the environment whether it is through private titling efforts or customary land made available for private investment or “development” projects, commodification of land drives inequity, dispossession, and displacement. While insecure land tenure remains a pressing issue around the world, privatizing land does not offer communities the security and stability they need. Rather, it is just another avenue for further colonization and exploitation of natural resources for the benefit of private interests and multinational corporations, that pose fresh threats to livelihoods, environment, and further the climate crisis. Provides communities with critical facts and figures to challenge the theft of their land and resources.

  • February 2021

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  • Land Portal (Olipa Katongo Kunda, Medici Land Governance)

Examines progress, obstacles to progress and the barriers that Zambian women continue to face despite the Zambian Government’s 2017 commitment that women should be allocated 50% of land and should be given the opportunity to own land without being subjected to harsh conditions. However, Zambian women continue to face barriers to land ownership and the question remains: is enough being done to ensure that Zambian women are not left behind?

  • February 2021

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  • WRI (Celine Salcedo-La Viña and Renée Giovarelli

Sustainable land governance requires that all members of a community have equal rights and say in decisions that affect their collectively held lands. Unfortunately women around the world have less land ownership and weaker land rights than men – but this can change and the WRI report shows ways how that can be done. It details case studies from communities in Cameroon, Mexico, Nepal, Indonesia and Jordan. It serves as a valuable guide to realizing more gender-equitable collective land tenure systems by showing promising approaches to securing equal tenure rights for women and the conditions that enabled these communities to do so.

  • February 2021

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  • Both ENDS

This guidebook comprises a collection of practices and strategies used by civil society organisations around the world working to advance inclusive land governance. The aim is to provide a source of inspiration as well as practical guidance that fellow actors can draw upon to strengthen their own work. It is based upon extensive expertise and experiences of organisations engaging in the struggle for land justice and is intended to offer advice and guidance through examples ‘from the field’, including Cameroon, Mozambique, Senegal and Zambia, that can help local organisations and communities formulate and pursue their own advocacy goals. Includes participatory mapping, legal empowerment and paralegal training, collective natural resource management and sustainable land use planning, women’s empowerment and leadership in land governance, movement and campaign building, ensuring inclusiveness in sustainable land use practices, engaging with decision makers, monitoring guideline compliance and implementation, dealing with conflict.

  • February 2021

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  • Front Page Africa

The High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA), an agribusiness industry sustainability body, has confirmed longstanding allegations that Golden Veroleum Liberia, the Liberian investee of palm oil giant Golden Agri-Resources, committed widespread deforestation over a thousand hectares of forest, including endangered species habitat and important wetlands. In a comprehensive report the company was also found to have violated the land and cultural rights of local communities, including the right to free prior and informed consent and social requirements on basic needs and grievance and remedy.

  • February 2021

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  • A research project by the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (A Mistra Policy Brief)

A policy brief introducing a new book edited by Khwezi Mabasa and Bulelwa Mabasa. The book examines how land and agrarian reform impacts nation building, citizenship and identity formation. It draws attention to the limitations of reducing land to a commodity and how this approach perpetuates social conflict and inequality in land reform policy implementation. The brief argues that it is important to explore the contested meanings of land in society. These varied meanings challenge traditional land reform perspectives. They encourage South Africans to approach land tenure, redistribution and restitution policies differently. The brief includes recommendations in the book on land redress and nation building, land tenure, land governance and citizenship, land reform and livelihoods. Recommendations should include holding individuals accountable for contraventions of land legislation.

  • January 2021

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  • FIAN International

A FIAN study reveals how digital technologies have become new tools for land grabs and sources of profits. Based on research in Brazil, Indonesia, Georgia, India and Rwanda, the study shows that the use of digital tools in land governance exacerbates existing forms of exclusion. Among the key findings are that although land is recognized as a human right and is essential for the lives of rural people, digitalization projects are implemented with no human rights safeguards, and that international donors are spending millions of dollars to ramp up the use of digital technologies in the land sector around the world.

  • January 2021

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  • GRAIN

A 22 minute video about one of the biggest cases of agricultural land grabbing in Senegal: 20,000 hectares, first allocated to Senhuile-Sénéthanol, now known as Les Fermes de la Téranga. The Italian investors Tampieri Financial Group pulled out of the project in 2017 and the new owners – Agro Industries Corp, based in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands – arrived in 2018. But nothing is being cultivated on this vast terrain near the Lac de Guiers and the 37 villages of herders and their families, who consider themselves victims of a giant land speculation, are still there without access to their land. Shows the impossible situation in which these communities find themselves. Argues the absolute necessity to put an end to this abuse that has been going on for more than 10 years and to give back control of these lands to the herders.

  • January 2021

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  • IIED (Isabella Nchimbi)

Despite Tanzania’s progressive legal framework on land rights and governance, many women are often left out of community decision-making due to social and cultural norms that persist in some areas of the country. The author discusses a participatory initiative that is helping women make their voices heard when it comes to land governance.

  • January 2021

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  • Deutsche Welle

Research has shown that inequality in access to land is increasing across the African continent. Experts are calling for more rules and controls on the sale of land to counteract poverty. Need for more community land rights. Land ownership is becoming more opaque and there is need to improve the situation.

  • January 2021

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  • Open Access Government

A report by Global Agriculture examines the agricultural impact of multinational land deals (aka ‘land grabbing’) which are found to be directly harmful to local food security and livelihoods. It describes the phenomena as when: “These international investors, as well as the public, semi-public or private sellers, often operate in legal grey areas and in a no man’s land between traditional land rights and modern forms of property. In many cases of land grabbing, one could speak of a land reform from above, or of the establishment of new colonial relationships imposed by the private sector.” The study used a mix of satellite imagery and agricultural surveys, as well as household dietary datasets. The team examined 160 large-scale land acquisitions across four continents between 2005 and 2015. It is the first comprehensive global analysis of the impact of this kind of land acquisition.

  • January 2021

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  • Bistandsaktuel

In 2008 the Guernsey-registered company Agrica took over the 5,000 hectare Mngeta farm in the Kilombero Valley in central Tanzania. International investors with development aid money tried to ensure modern rice production on a large scale. But Agrica has never been profitable and has struggled with floods, droughts, and unstable market prices for rice in Tanzania. Part of the production was to take place through contracts with small farmers, but there were disagreements about prices. Criticism has been levelled at the way the company handled land rights and what compensation was given to those who lived on the plantation before production began.

  • January 2021

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  • Front Page Africa

Salala Rubber Corporation holds a concession of over 40,000 hectares in central Liberia but has often been accused of land grabbing and destruction of the locals’ farms. Provides a history of recent conflicts.

  • January 2021

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  • Daily Observer

There are 22 impoverished villages of over 2,000 inhabitants surrounding the Salala Rubber Corporation and all are contending that the company turns over their land of inheritance, which it claimed without their consent years ago. Gives details of the ongoing conflicts.

  • December 2020

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  • RFI

Kenya’s Murang’a county is home to Kakuzi, the food producer and exporter that occupies some 15,904 ha. Land ownership in this fertile area is out of reach for many who consider it their ancestral home. But legal battles over land distribution could shape the economic outlook of the area. Some parties despair of ever receiving justice in their lifetime. Civil society groups have been working on the case for the past fifteen years.

  • December 2020

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  • IIED (Philippe Kavigne Delville, Daouda Diagne and Camille Richebourg)

This study examines how Senegalese CSOs operating within the framework for dialogue and action on land in Senegal (CRAFS) mobilised around the process of formulating a draft land reform, led by the National Land Reform Commission (CNRF) between 2014 and 2016. After describing how members of CRAFS contributed to the debate on the need for an inclusive land reform and their active and critical contributions to the CNRF process, the paper analyses the achievements and limitations of their engagement in the process and the lessons learned from it.

  • December 2020

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  • IIED (Masalu Luhula and Brendan Achwartz)

An encouraging story about how four communities regained control of their lands acquired by the Bioshape jatropha plantation in Kilwa District. Contains the Bioshape investment and the local response; from community-centred dialogue to government commitments; a reason to celebrate; next steps: consolidating community land tenure in Kilwa and Tanzania.

  • December 2020

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  • Liberian Observer

Aminata K Fabba is the Chairlady of the Malen Land Owners Association, (MALOA) and a frontline grassroots land rights defender in the southern provincial district of Pujehun. Describes her criticism of an unfair land agreement with SOCFIN details of which were not fully explained to the landholding families.

  • December 2020

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  • Witness Radio

Communities affected by land grabbing from different parts of Uganda have formed a movement to fight for food sovereignty while pushing back on land grabs by multinational agribusiness companies and individual investors. The formation of the movement came after a 3-day long meeting which drew participants from several districts including Mukono, Mubende, Kayunga, Kiryandongo and Kalangala. The communities believe that the movement will provide a common voice to challenging the injustices meted out on them through such land grabs.

  • November 2020

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  • Bread for All (Joseph Saffa)

The struggles continue for the communities displaced by the Addax Bioenergy project in Sierra Leone in 2008 and their situation is getting worse as the lands are handed over from one company to the next. There is an urgent need to invest in alternative farming methods for the communities. The land is their most valuable resource, and such investment is crucial to a sustainable livelihood.

  • November 2020

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  • AGTER (Ward Anseeuw & Giulia Baldinelli)

Executive summary of an AGTER report on land inequality. Includes why land inequality matters; land inequality – the shocking reality; hidden hands – the unseen hands of land inequality; solutions for effective change; a pathway to change.

  • October 2020

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  • Saverio Krätli and Camilla Toulmin (IIED Research report)

This report responds to heightened concerns over rising levels of farmer-herder conflict across a wide band of semi-arid Africa. It assesses the quantitative evidence behind this general impression and reviews the explanations in the scientific literature in the light of known issues with long-standing attitudes towards pastoralism and mobile populations. Looking at the data available, it finds that total levels of all forms of violence have been rising in the last ten years, especially in some countries. However, it finds there is no evidence that incidents associated with farming and herding or involving pastoralist populations have grown at a faster rate than all other forms of violence. The report shows that looking at the increasing violence through the lens of ‘farmer-herder’ conflict is overly simplistic and makes assumptions about causality which have no foundation. It identifies examples of constructive engagement with the phenomenon to map out pathways to more peaceful outcomes. The report concludes with recommendations for establishing fairer forms of governance, strengthening local institutions and managing competition over land.

  • October 2020

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  • Philippine Sutz (IIED)

Introduces a new IIED blog series looking at principles to strengthen women’s land rights. Over the past 15 years pressures on land across sub-Saharan Africa have increased and these have tended to affect women more severely as they have little control over the land they traditionally use. Awareness of the importance of women’s land rights is higher than ever and global commitments to women’s land rights have never been stronger, yet there is no consensus on which strategies most effectively strengthen women’s land rights in practice. IIED has learnt that land governance and gender issues vary greatly in place and time. No one-size-fits-all solution exists. The ‘how often’ matters more than the ‘what’. IIED have identified some core principles and, with partners, will be exploring these over the next six months in a series of blogs.

  • September 2020

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  • Ian Scoones, (Journal of Peasant Studies)

Argues that the classic problematics of agrarian studies, around production, accumulation and politics, apply as much to pastoralists as they do to peasants. Processes of social differentiation and class formation, the role of wage labour and questions around mobilisation and politics are consistently relevant. However, a reflection on a large literature on pastoralism across nine world regions reveals that there are nevertheless some important contrasts with classic representations of a settled peasantry. These are: living with and off uncertainty; mobility to respond to variability; flexible land control and new forms of tenure; dynamic social formations; collective social relations for a new moral economy; engaging with complex markets and a new politics for a transforming world. Concludes by arguing that, under contemporary conditions, these are all important for understanding settled agrarian systems too, as today pastoralists and peasants face many of the same challenges.

  • September 2020

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  • Celine Salcedo-La Vina, Ruchika Singh and Natalie Elwell (WRI)

It is likely that rural women will disproportionately bear the socio-economic hardships from COVID-19. Restrictions on the movement of people and goods are disrupting agricultural value chains and food systems. Women have weaker land tenure security and less access to productive resources than men. As markets close and cross-border trade declines, women suffer from not being able to sell their produce, and from lacking access to inputs needed for the next planting season. Lockdowns result in increased domestic and care work for women. This report suggests five important tactics: ensure women’s access to information and participation in data collection; ensure female farmers’ access to markets and agricultural resources; build rural women’s resilience to future shocks; expand rural women’s access to social assistance; adopt measures to prevent domestic violence. Women’s rights and empowerment must be a key element of the pandemic response.

  • September 2020

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  • Land Portal and CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research)

Provides an overview of existing data and information on key land issues in South Africa. Aims to uncover the great diversity of land data and information sources. Contains: methodology; availability of land data and information; legal, institutional and policy framework; land tenure data; land cover, use and management; land disputes; human settlements; land markets and financing; land, climate change and environment; overall availability of land data and information; and accessibility of South African land information ecosystem. Offers practical recommendations to improve visibility and usability of data and information.

  • August 2020

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  • Zimbabweland (Ian Scoones)

An agreement between the Zimbabwean Government and the Commercial Farmers Union on compensation for land taken from white farmers was finally agreed on 29 July 2020, 20 years after the land reform programme began. There had been previous attempts, but the science of asset valuation is far from exact. The issue had blocked international recognition of the Zimbabwean Government. Looks at the detractors and sceptics and asks how the agreed sum of US$3.5 billion will be paid for. Believes this is an immensely important step in a long-running and frustrating saga.

  • August 2020

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  • AFSA, Grain and Witness Radio Organisation

Thousands of families are being evicted from their farms to make way for foreign-owned farms in Kiryandongo, western Uganda. Three multinational companies – Agilis Partners, Kiryandongo Sugar Limited and Great Season SMC Limited – are involved in grabbing land, violently evicting people from their homes and causing untold humiliation and grief to thousands of farming families residing in Kiryandongo district. The land grabs are happening on abandoned national ranches, which have long since been settled and farmed by people who came to the area fleeing war and natural calamities in neighbouring areas. The local people are being displaced without notice, alternatives or even negotiations and are now desperately trying to save their homes and lives.

  • July 2020

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  • CIFOR Brochure 7526 (Robert Kibugi and Esther Mwangi)

CIFOR undertook a review of Kenya’s legal framework to understand whether legal provisions were sufficient to secure community land and forest rights. Asks how adequate Kenya’s legal framework was in protecting and promoting tenure rights of forest communities. The law appears to offer adequate security for the tenure rights of forest communities. Forests on communal land are secure, at least on paper. Areas of public gazetted forests claimed by indigenous groups as their customary territory are not well secured by law, but a task force is now addressing this gap. Most challenges lie in determining community identity and customary land rights and registration of the community and land rights. Outlines key actions needed to strengthen forest communities’ tenure rights.

  • July 2020

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  • Global Witness

Notes that a record 212 land and environmental defenders were reported killed in 2019 but believes that the real number was certainly higher. Mining, logging and agribusiness were the main drivers of this. States that ‘verifying cases from Africa continues to be difficult. Limited monitoring of the issue by civil society, media repression and localised conflict mean attacks are probably underreported in some regions.’ Seven were reported killed in DR Congo, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Ghana and Kenya. Makes recommendations to governments, companies and investors.

  • July 2020

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  • Mozambique News reports & clippings 495 (Joseph Hanlon)

Covers: land law revision; President starts land law consultation – with battle over privatisation expected; contradictions put a progressive land law under pressure. By 2018 the Norwegian company Green Resources’ land grab had given it 369,000 ha in Mozambique, which it finally admits it cannot handle and now proposes to give most of it back to the communities it was taken from. A consultation on the revision of the 25-year-old land law was launched by President Filipe Nyusi on 16 July 2020 but it will be controversial. Frelimo is divided on the issue and there is potential bureaucratic/political confrontation.

  • June 2020

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  • Zimbabweland (Ian Scoones)

The final part of a blog series is a very preliminary reflection on the changes observed over 20 years and some speculation on what the future might hold for the land reform farmers of Masvingo over the next 20 years. Covers demographic shifts, places of success, accumulation and differentiation, changing patterns of investment, agriculture and local economies, state failure, the future?

  • June 2020

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  • APRA Working Paper 35 (Ian Scoones, Toendepi Shonhe, Terence Chitapi, Caleb Maguranyanga and Simbai Mutimbanyoka)

A paper from the Agricultural Policy Research on Africa (APRA) programme in Zimbabwe supported by a DFID grant to IDS, Sussex. Explores the intersecting factors that have shifted pathways of commercialisation, mostly of tobacco and maize, in Mvurwi area in northern Mazowe district, Zimbabwe, since 1890. Looks at five periods, starting with early colonisation by white settlers, then examines the consolidation of ‘European agriculture’ following World War II, before investigating the liberation war era from the mid-1970s. The period after Independence is then reflected upon, concluding with the period since 2000 and the major land reform programme that transferred significant amounts of land to resettlement schemes for new farmers. Explores the political economy of state-farmer alliances; the pattern of state investment and subsidy in agriculture; changes in agricultural labour regimes; the dynamics of markets; rural-urban migration; and the role of technology and environmental change, asking how each affects what type of commercial agriculture emerges, and where. A central concern is who gains and who loses in this process. Concludes with a reflection on how pathways of commercialisation have emerged through crises, conjunctures and contingencies.

  • June 2020

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  • IIED Briefing (Sandrine Kouba, Amaelle Seigneret, Emolie Beauchamp and Brendan Schwartz)

Land in Cameroon is under growing pressure – powerful commercial interests, changing climate conditions and shifting demographic flows including mass migration and increasing population density. The rights of rural communities and indigenous people to access and use land for farming and grazing have been eroded,  primarily due to failure to recognise customary land tenure rights, land use conflicts and lack of effective local governance. The country’s land legislation is outdated and not compatible with customary law and local realities. To resolve these challenges, since the 1980s governmental and non-governmental organisations have trialled several initiatives. These have had mixed results, reflecting gaps in the legal framework. This briefing assesses these initiatives and draws out recommendations to guide the current land reform process and ensure the rights of all are protected.

  • June 2020

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  • IIED Briefing (Saverio Kratli and Camilla Toulmin)

Draws from a research report which responded to heightened concerns over rising conflict and antagonism between predominantly herding groups and more settled farming peoples across a wide band of semi-arid Africa. Many increasingly blame ‘farmer–herder conflict’, but neither recent history nor surveys of armed violence support this simplification. Pastoralism is seen as disruptive and backward, fighting an unwinnable battle for scarce resources. Yet in truth it is an under-valued adaptation to variability that can make livelihoods and landscapes more climate-resilient. Understanding the roots, dynamics and meaning of conflict, providing space for listening and negotiating, and supporting livelihood and economic opportunities are key to mapping out pathways to peace for the whole region.

  • June 2020

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  • The Conversation (Ben Cousins)

Land reform is a political necessity in South Africa, but since 1994 it has encountered many difficulties and progress has been slow. Elites have captured many of the benefits. A recent CBPEP study chaired by Ben Cousins focused on the potential contribution of redistributive land reform to employment creation. It breaks new ground.

  • May 2020

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  • Lorenzo Cotula (IIED)

Chapter in a book, “Rethinking land reform in Africa, opportunities and challenges” by the African Natural Resources Centre, edited by Cosmas Milton Obote Ochieng for the African Development Bank. A think piece reflecting on changing commercial pressures on land in low and middle-income countries; the role of law in shaping the ways those pressures manifest themselves; the limits of business standards in driving systemic change; and the case for comprehensive law reform to secure rural land rights. Includes foreign investment, the commodity boom and bust, the spread of special economic zones, understanding the legal structures of dispossession, the case for reform, and moving forward.