Challenging Conventional Wisdom: Smallholder Perceptions and Experience of Land access and Tenure Security in the Cotton Belt of Northern Mozambique

April 2002
Paul J. Strasberg and Scott Kloeck-Jenson (Land Tenure Center University of Wisconsin Working Paper 48)

Covers land use patterns in the Cotton Belt – joint venture companies, smallholders and privados, research questions and characteristics of the 5 study zones, smallholder perceptions of land tenure security and experiences with conflict in the Cotton Belt. Challenges widely held beliefs about land tenure and access in the smallholder sector in Mozambique. Provisions in the new legal framework will not be sufficient to eliminate or adjudicate land conflicts between smallholders. The research results reveal significant variation in the size of household landholdings. Land access was found to be closely linked to key welfare indicators such as income and calorie availability; a weak non-farm economy heightens the importance of land for the welfare of the rural families. These results contradict views held by many that land access is unconstrained for Mozambican smallholders.