Food security policy and governance

Land governance

Land governance concerns the rules, processes and structures through which decisions are made about access to land and its use, the manner in which the decisions are implemented and enforced, and the way that competing interests in land are managed. Land governance is essential in achieving inclusive economic growth, sustainable development and food security. However, pressure on and competition for land increases due to globalisation of land market, speculation, urbanization, climate change and other land uses (tourism, nature conservation). In this topics, references are made to knowledge around rules and practices on access to and use of land which promote equitable and sustainable development and food security.

The Food & Business Knowledge Platform is also actively involved in this theme. Please take a look at the theme page on Land Governance for the latest news, events, and our own publications.

Academic article Blog Book Briefing Case study Dissertation Guide/ Handbook Paper Report Research paper Synthesis report Working paper
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Understanding changing land access and use by the rural poor in Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal and Uganda
Published by IIED,
The IIED recently published four similar research reports on land issues, access to land and land use by the rural poor in Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal, and Uganda. In all countries the acquisition of land by new actors, both government and business, puts pressure or rural lands and their communities. Current land governance systems are often not sufficient to deal with this rapid change. »
Aquaculture zoning, site selection and area management under the ecosystem approach to aquaculture
Published by FAO, World Bank,
Land governance and water governance tend to address similar challenge with regard to the equitable distribution of resources. This handbook focuses on water governance and provides practical guidance on aquaculture spatial planning and management. »
Can land reform feed South Africa?
Published by Oxpeckers,
This article by Oxpeckers explores the role of land reform in improving the food security situation in South Africa. The author argues that if reform is not well targeted it may threaten food security and benefit only the elites in rural areas. »
Synthesis report – gender & collectively held land
Published by Landesa,
This report by Landesa gives recommendations on interventions to strengthen collective tenure and ensure that both women and men benefit from the improved land tenure security. The report synthesizes findings from six case studies from China, Ghana, India, the Kyrgyz Republic, Namibia, and Peru. This intersection between gender and collective tenure security reforms is largely understudied. »
Monitoring agricultural expansion in Burkina Faso over 14 years: The role of population growth and implications for the environment
Published by Remote Sensing,
This article uses remote sensing with a high spatial resolution (30 m) to monitor agricultural expansion in Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso ranges amongst the fastest growing countries in the world with an annual population growth rate of more than three percent. This trend has consequences for food security since agricultural productivity is still on a comparatively low level in Burkina Faso. In order to compensate for the low productivity, the agricultural areas are expanding quickly. »
Access to farmland gets quick and dirty in sub-Saharan Africa
Published by IIED,
This briefing investigates the rapidly changing power dynamics and structures related to land governance in sub-Saharan Africa. The authors argue that understanding the changing dynamics of land access in rural Africa will be crucial if systems of land governance, companies and organisations, and rural development initiatives are to adapt and make a positive impact. »
Integrated landscape approaches for Africa’s drylands
Published by World Bank,
This book by the World Bank presents emerging findings on the importance of moving beyond single-sector interventions to embrace integrated landscape approaches in Sub-Saharan Africa. This includes landscape management that takes into account the health of the ecosystems that support human livelihoods and contribute to the resilience of rural communities. Integrated landscape management is particularly important for these drylands because people depend on production systems that are frequently disrupted by exogenous shocks such as drought. »
Tree-based production systems for Africa’s drylands
Published by World Bank,
This book, published by the World Bank, identifies some of the most promising investment opportunities at the level of tree-based systems, species (products), and well-defined management practices for accelerating rural economic growth in the drylands. This book is one of a series of thematic books prepared for the study, “Confronting Drought in Africa’s Drylands: Opportunities for Enhancing Resilience.”Trees, with their deep rooting systems, maintain their standing value and offer some production even in drought years. »
Shifts in the landscape: Increased pressure on rural land and livelihoods in Ghana
Published by IIED,
This briefing explores the increased pressure on rural land and livelihoods in Ghana due to competition for land an changes in land governance. In Ghana 70 per cent of the population are smallholder farmers who depend on the land for their basic needs. »
Making sense of research for sustainable land management
Published by CDE/WOCAT, UFZ,
This book, published by CDE/WOCAT and UFZ, provides evidence of how practices of sustainable land management can be adapted to specific local and regional contexts. It is based on the work of more than 600 scientists and synthesizes experiences and practice-relevant results from a seven year German funded international research programme on interactions between land management, climate change, and ecosystems and their services. »
Land administration service delivery and its challenges in Nigeria: A case study of eight states
Published by IFPRI,
This paper by IFPRI assesses the nature of land administration service delivery in Nigeria using data collected from three sets of participants in land administration processes. The particpants include: 76 service providers, 253 beneficiaries, and 172 professionals. Land registration information guidelines seem to be rarely available to the public. »
Governing tenure rights to commons
Published by FAO,
This technical guide by FAO is about the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security. The guide aims to support actors to take proactive measures to implement the standards and recommendations of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (Tenure Guidelines) for legally recognizing and protecting tenure rights to commons and community-based governance structures. »
Land debate on open data and land governance
Published by Land Portal,
This report by Land Portal summarizes the main themes on potential impacts and challenges in opening land data for land governance. Across most contexts, government data sources on land are largely inaccessible, from land administration data, such as parcel data and ownership information to land investments, contract data and even policy information. However, with an ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, there is an increasing need to pool data resources toward solving global challenges... »
Building Africa’s great green wall: Restoring degraded drylands for stronger and more resilient communities
Published by FAO,
This publication by FAO presents efforts by FAO and partners on mapping the intervention area of the Great Green Wall initiative and restoration opportunities based on data gathered through Collect Earth and in support of presenting FAO's effort at COP22 in Marrakech on 14. November 2016. the great green Wall for the sahara and the sahel initiative is Africa’s flagship initiative to build prosperity and resilience in over 20 countries around the Sahara. It was built to combat the effects of climate change and desertification and address food insecurity and poverty. »
After the consent: Re-imagining participatory land governance in Massingir, Mozambique
Published by Geoforum,
This article argues that participatory land governance and consultation processes need follow-up mechanisms since new actors, claims and strategies emerge after consent has been reached. In the study area Massingir, Mozambique, foreign private and domestic investments in the agribusiness, tourism, and conservation sectors in the district have been on the rise. This resulted in events that scholars and activists have come to describe as land, water, and green grabs. »
Land-use choices follow profitability at the expense of ecological functions in Indonesian smallholder landscapes
Published by Nature Communications,
This article elaborates on the decision-making of Indonesian smallholder farmers and their impact on ecological functions. It finds that land-use choices of Indonesian smallholders predominantly favor farm portfolios with high economic productivity but low ecological value. Smallholder-dominated agricultural mosaic landscapes are highlighted as model production systems that deliver both economic and ecological goods in tropical agricultural landscapes, but trade-offs underlying current land-use dynamics are poorly known. »
Economic and agricultural transformation through large-scale farming
Published by Leiden University,
This PhD dissertation examines the impacts of large-scale farming in Ethiopia on local economic development, household food security, incomes, employment, and the environment. The study concluded that the approach of large-scale mechanized farming contributes little to the economic and agricultural transformation of the nation. Local people generally lose out in respect of land transactions and investments, and they are expropriated from their customary land rights to the benefit of national goals. »
International land deals for agriculture
Published by Land Matrix,
This report provides detailed information on who is buying up farmland in which regions of the world and how this land is being used. It also elaborates on differences in food security impacts of land deals in different countries. Food crops continue to play the major role in land deals. The report explains that food security impact is distinct in two group of countries. »
Improving sustainable commodity supply chains in Amazonia
Published by Global Canopy Programme & CDKN,
This brief by Global Canopy Programme and The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) draws on innovative trade-flow modelling and analysis for three key agricultural supply chains in the Amazon region – soy in Brazil, palm oil in Peru and beef in Colombia - alongside multi-stakeholder interviews and group discussions to discuss trade-offs and barriers for implementing more sustainable productive landscapes in the Amazon region. »
Land sharing vs land sparing to conserve biodiversity: How agricultural markets make the difference
Published by Environmental Modeling & Assessment journal,
This article, published in the Environmental Modeling & Assessment journal, models the supply and demand for agricultural goods and assess and compares how welfare, land use, and biodiversity are affected under intensive and extensive farming systems at market equilibrium instead of at exogenous production levels. »
Land tenure reforms, tenure security and food security in poor agrarian economies: Causal linkages and research gaps
Published by Global Food Security Journal ,
This paper by the Global Food Security Journal reviews the literature to identify the relationship between tenure security and food security.The paper explores the conceptual linkages between land tenure reforms, tenure security and food security and illustrates how these vary across diverse contexts. »
Community innovations in sustainable land management
Published by Routledge,
This book analyses community initiatives in sustainable land management in four contrasting African countries. It is increasingly recognized that land can be managed most sustainable through involving local communities. This book highlights the potential of a new methodology of uncovering and stimulating community initiatives through analyzing the countries Ghana, Morocco, South Africa and Uganda. »
State of the world’s forests 2016
Published by FAO,
This report by FAO explores the challenges and opportunities represented by the complex interrelationship between forests, agriculture and sustainable development. It demonstrates that the sustainable management of both forests and agriculture, and their integration in land-use plans, is essential for achieving the SDGs, ensuring food security and tackling climate change. »
Developing gender‐equitable legal frameworks for land tenure: A legal assessment tool
Published by FAO,
This legal paper states that effective policy and legal advice requires a clear understanding of the gaps and discrepancies in the policies and legislation pertaining to gender and land. It aims to deepen the understanding on women’s access to land and to analyse how adjustments in the legal framework regulating women’s land tenure can promote their economic empowerment and ultimately generate more productive agricultural systems. »
Avoiding bioenergy competition for food crops and land
Published by WRI,
This working paper shows that any dedicated use of land for growing bioenergy inherently comes at the cost of not using that land for growing food or animal feed, or for storing carbon. In the past decade, governments have pushed to increase the use of bioenergy. However, bioenergy that entails the dedicated use of land to grow the energy feed stock will undercut efforts to combat climate change and to achieve a sustainable food future. »
Land policies and their implications for smallholder agriculture in Africa
Published by AGRA,
This report presents a review of national land and agricultural policies and policy formulation and implementation processes in Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique and Zambia. The report presents lessons on good and bad practice of agricultural policy formulation and implementation in Africa and recommends strategies. »
Securing customary land rights in Sub-Saharan Africa
Published by University of Gothenburg,
This working paper elaborates on new approaches to land tenure reform with regard to securing customary land rights in Sub-Saharan Africa. The conventional approach for securing property rights to land is by establishing a system of private ownership through individual titling and has often not led to the intended improvements in agricultural investments and productivity. Instead it has had several negative social implications. »
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