An Assessment of the Effects of Land Ownership and Land Grab on Development - With a Particular Focus on Small Holdings and Rural Areas

31-03-2011

Land ownership and related issues have a distinct and profound impact on poverty reduction and wealth creation in developing countries. The brief first examines different systems of land tenure in the developing world, paying attention to how differences in access to land affect development. The authors discuss the assumption that land ownership increases productivity through access to credit and greater on-land investment. The brief then provides an overview of two political and economic processes that involve a largescale redistribution of land: land reform and the so-called land-grabbing movement. The study also includes an overview of international governance mechanisms and EU processes currently addressing these land issues. Regarding land reform, we conclude that although it differs widely across countries, it will only be successful when complemented with policies to help small-scale farmers effectively use the land. Similarly, we conclude that land grabbing can only be a win-win situation for both investors and recipient countries if adequate regulations are in place. Finally, the brief provides a series of recommendations for European policy-makers addressing the issue. Our recommendations include strengthening existing EU policy initiatives on land reform and land acquisitions in developing countries, increasing foreign aid dedicated to agricultural development and strengthening the sustainability requirements of imported biofuels.

Land ownership and related issues have a distinct and profound impact on poverty reduction and wealth creation in developing countries. The brief first examines different systems of land tenure in the developing world, paying attention to how differences in access to land affect development. The authors discuss the assumption that land ownership increases productivity through access to credit and greater on-land investment. The brief then provides an overview of two political and economic processes that involve a largescale redistribution of land: land reform and the so-called land-grabbing movement. The study also includes an overview of international governance mechanisms and EU processes currently addressing these land issues. Regarding land reform, we conclude that although it differs widely across countries, it will only be successful when complemented with policies to help small-scale farmers effectively use the land. Similarly, we conclude that land grabbing can only be a win-win situation for both investors and recipient countries if adequate regulations are in place. Finally, the brief provides a series of recommendations for European policy-makers addressing the issue. Our recommendations include strengthening existing EU policy initiatives on land reform and land acquisitions in developing countries, increasing foreign aid dedicated to agricultural development and strengthening the sustainability requirements of imported biofuels.