A Research Report on Land Tenure and Agricultural Development in Ethiopia: executive summary

October 2002
Ethiopian Economic Association and Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute

A comprehensive research report covers the literature, includes a large survey of farm households throughout Ethiopia, and surveys the opinions of professionals. Land tenure is now a hotly debated issue; land scarcity and degradation are serious. Tenure security is seen as more important than the form of ownership. Almost three-quarters of farmers surveyed fear future distributions of land. Government is afraid that moving from state to private ownership will lead to massive evictions through distress sales, but over 90% farmers said they would not sell their land if they could. Farmers are more pragmatic than professionals. Government believes that failings of the system can be compensated through increases in productivity as a result of its extension programme, but this is highly doubtful. Larger size holdings perform better than smaller. Informal markets are starting despite a formal prohibition � this should be encouraged. Vast majority believe existing land tenure system is a major constraint to agricultural productivity and that government should open a forum for wider debate on land tenure.