Accueil » What type of land policies will help secure family farms in Africa?
Published on 31/03/2016

What type of land policies will help secure family farms in Africa?

While land is on the political agenda in numerous countries, GRET identifies the challenges to be met to better protect the land rights of family farms in Africa and is issuing four recommendations for international cooperation players.

In a context of increased pressure on land and natural resources, the formalisation of land rights, considered as a written, legal recognition, is a means for improved land security. The most recent work by the Technical Committee on “Land and development”, conducted with support from GRET, demonstrates that contemporary land policies do not sufficiently secure family farms and livestock smallholdings, whereas the latter produce over 70% of the world’s food, provide over 60% of employment in the least developed countries and remain the guarantors of the largest plant and animal biodiversity. Reforms implemented in certain countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, etc.) made it possible to make progress in terms of recognition of local rights and decentralisation of their management. However, these reforms continue to register holders of ownership rights as a priority, to the detriment of those with mere rights of usage. In addition, management systems still remain complex, costly and not very feasible without international aid.

GRET and Coordination SUD are calling on international aid donors to support inclusive land reforms that are consistent with the principles of the Voluntary Guidelines for Responsible Governance of Land Tenure Systems adopted by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012. Their financial support for land reforms should depend on four criteria:

  • organisation of broader, enlightened debates on the vision of and project for society underlined by the reforms, involving players from civil society and including dedicated means to help them participate in these debates and make suggestions.
  • broadening of the securing offer so as to take the socio-cultural realities of family farms into account, thanks to funding for pilot experiments on recognition of indirect land tenure patterns and definition of priority purpose of spaces (pastoral or forestry areas)
  • regulation of private and public investments by defining transparent, binding procedures for processing requests for support with investments that guarantee positive economic, social and environmental impacts for local populations and include recourse mechanisms for the populations affected.
  • Implementation of an institutional and economic environment that is favourable to investments for family farms and enables them to access appropriate services (loans, insurance) and lucrative markets for their products at local, national and regional level.

See memo by C2A of Coordination SUD (English, French, Portuguese and Spanish)
See the work by the Committee on “Land and development”(in French)