Understanding changing land access and use by the rural poor in Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal and Uganda
The IIED published four research reports on land issues, access to land and land use in Ghana (PDF), Mozambique (PDF), Senegal (PDF), and Uganda (PDF). 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 and to ensure fair access and productive land use. This leads to new strategies by the rural poor to secure their livelihoods. For example in Ghana the study shows how, under new circumstances, rural communities are changing how they access and manage land: shifting from customary to more commercial systems; farming smaller plots of land; and renegotiating access to common resources, such as grazing land. This in turn is influencing crop choices and livelihoods. In Mozambique, there is progressive land legislation, however, elite groups are still able to consolidate land holdings. The authors argue that policy must improve land administration and land-use planning processes to make them more inclusive. In Senegal, the focus on the study especially reports on the difficulty for young farmers to access land and the authors recommend that land reform should address these power imbalances. In Uganda, the authors also recommend pro-poor land policies and programmes since old practices of inheritance, gifts or proof of long-term occupancy are now replaced by the market and leave the poor excluded and powerless.