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Land Tenure and Investment in African Agriculture: Theory and Evidence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 November 2008

Extract

Economists using a narrowly defined neo-classical model have derived the hypothesis, often treated as an empirically demonstrated proposition, that traditional African systems of ‘communal’ land tenure are inefficient when land has scarcity value. By way of contrast, individualised tenure, typically defined as demarcation and registration of freehold title, is viewed as superior because owners are given incentives to use land most efficiently and thereby maximise agriculture's contribution to social well-being.


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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1990

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References

1 Johnson, Omotunde E. G., ‘Economic Analysis: the legal framework and land tenure systems’, in Journal of Law and Economics (Chicago), xv, 1972, pp. 259–76.Google Scholar

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4 Johnson, loc. cit. p. 271.

6 Ault and Rutman, loc. cit.

7 Johnson, loc. cit. p. 262.

8 Ault and Rutman, loc. cit. p. 181.

9 Ibid. p. 177.

10 Richard Samson Odingo, ‘The Dynamics of Land Tenure and of Agrarian Systems in Africa: land tenure study in the Nakuru, Kericho and Machakos areas of the Kenya highlands’, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation, Rome, January 1985.

11 Coldham, Simon, ‘The Effect of Registration of Title Upon Customary Land Rights in Kenya’, in Journal of African Law (London), XXII, 1978, pp. 91111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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18 Brokensha and Glazier, loc. cit.

19 Okoth-Ogendo, loc. cit.

20 Coldham, loc. cit.

21 Brokensha and Glazier, loc. cit.

22 Coldham, loc. cit.

23 Brokensha and Glazier, loc. cit.

25 Wilson, ‘Land Control in Kenya's Smallholder Farming Areas’, and ‘Land Tenure and Economic Development’.

26 Homan, F. D. and Sands, R. A., ‘The Land Tenure Reform and Agricultural Development in the African Lands of Kenya’, Development Centre on Land Policy for East and Central Africa, Fort Portal, Uganda, 1960.Google Scholar

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29 Haugerud, Angélique, ‘The Consequences of Land Reform Among Smallholders in the Kenya Highlands’, in Rural Africana (East Lansing), XV–XVI, Winter–Spring 1983, pp. 6589, and Coldham, ‘The Effect of Registration of Title’.Google Scholar

30 Okoth-Ogendo, loc. cit.

31 Coldham, ‘The Effect of Registration of Title’; Haugerud, loc. cit.; Okoth-Ogendo, loc. cit.; and Wilson, ‘Land Tenure and Economic Development’.

32 Coldham, ‘The Effect of Registration of Title’.

33 Wilson, ‘Land Tenure and Economic Development’, p. 23.

34 Odingo, op. cit. p. 78.

35 Brokensha and Glazier, loc. cit. pp. 200 and 205.

36 Ibid. p. 199.

37 Coldham, ‘The Effect of Registration of Title’, p. 111.

38 Ibid. p. 98.

39 Okoth-Ogendo, loc. cit. p. 177.

40 Wilson, ‘Land Control in Kenya's Smallholder Farming Areas’ and ‘Land Tenure and Economic Development’, and Coldham, ‘Land Tenure Reform in Kenya’.

41 Haugerud, loc. cit. p. 78.

42 Koehn, Peter, ‘State Land Allocation and Class Formation in Nigeria’, in The Journal of Modern African Studies, XXI, 3, 09 1983, pp. 461–81, and ‘“Development” Administration and Land Allocation in Nigeria’, in Rural Africana, XVIII, Winter 1984, pp. 59–75; and Richard Cobb, R. Hunt, C. Vandervoort, C. Bledsoe, and R. McClusky, ‘Liberia: rural roads’, U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington, D.C., June 1980, Project Impact Evaluation No. 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

43 After observing the allocation of certificates of occupancy in two Nigerian states, Koehn, loc. cit. 1984, p. 72, concludes that ‘poor rural and urban residents have been effectively barred from the land allocation system’. Over 70 per cent of the recipients of certificates were businessmen, public officials, or traders, and all grantees had incomes significantly above the average for the area. Status/grant transactions were transformed into administrative transactions, and those with the economic or political power to influence the later have captured the benefits of change. In a review of the impact of road construction in Liberia, Cobb et al. report in op. cit. p. 15, that land title was obtained by those who had the economic and political resources to pursue the various approvals required for a deed. Few farmers have such knowledge, capital, or political connections. New roads increase land value, and outsiders (usually educated urbanites) acquire deeds to the more valuable land.

44 Haugerud, loc. cit. p. 73.

45 Wilson, ‘Land Tenure and Economic Development’.

46 Haugerud, loc. cit. p. 82.

47 Okoth-Ogendo, loc. cit.

48 Wilson, ‘Land Control in Kenya's Smallholder Farming Areas’.

49 Odingo, op. cit.

50 Wilson, ‘Land Control in Kenya's Smallholder Farming Areas’ and ‘Land Tenure and Economic Development’.

51 Okoth-Ogendo, op. cit. p. 175.

52 Wilson, ‘Land Tenure and Economic Development’.

54 Okoth-Ogendo, H. W. O., ‘The Perils of Land “Tenure” Reform’, Workshop on Land Policy and Agricultural Production in Eastern and Southern African Countries, Gaborone, Botswana, 1982.Google Scholar

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56 Okoth-Ogendo, ‘African Land Tenure Reform’.

57 Haugerud, loc. cit.

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60 Okoth-Ogendo, ‘African Land Tenure Reform’.

61 Haugerud, loc. cit.

62 Coldham, ‘Land-Tenure Reform in Kenya’.

63 Haugerud, loc. cit.

64 Coldham, ‘Land-Tenure Reform in Kenya’.

65 Wilson, ‘Land Tenure and Economic Development’.

66 Haugerud, loc. cit.

67 Coldham, ‘The Effect of Registration of Title’.

68 Haugerud, loc. cit. p. 74.

69 Richards, Audrey I., Sturrock, Ford, and Fortt, Jean M. (eds.), Subsistence to Commercial Farming in Present-Day Buganda: an economic and anthropological survey (Cambridge, 1973), p. 57.Google Scholar

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71 West, Henry W., Land Policy in Buganda (Cambridge, 1972).Google Scholar

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74 Brock, Beverley, ‘Customary Land Tenure, “Individualization” and Agricultural Development: some comments on a conference’, in East Africa Journal of Rural Development, II, 2, 1969, pp. 127.Google Scholar

75 Jean M. Fortt, ‘Land Tenure and the Emergence of Large Scale Farming’, in Richards, Sturrock, and Fortt (eds.), op. cit. pp. 66–84.

76 Richards, in Richards, Sturrock, and Fortt (eds.), op. cit. p. 297.

77 Mukwaya, op. cit.

78 West, op. cit. p. 85.

79 Hougham, D. A., ‘The Farms –Origin and Growth’, in Richards, Sturrock, and Fortt (eds.), op. cit. p. 143.Google Scholar

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81 Richards, Sturrock, and Fortt (eds.), op. cit.

82 Mukwaya, op. cit.

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85 Mukwaya, op. cit. pp. 36–7.

87 Hougham, loc. cit. p. 125.

88 Richards, Sturrock, and Fortt (eds.), op. cit.

89 Fortt, loc. cit. p. 76.

91 Hougham, loc. cit.

92 Fortt, loc. cit.

93 Cheater, Angela P., Idioms of Accumulation: rural development and class formation among freeholders in Zimbabwe (Gweru, 1984).Google Scholar

94 Weinrich, A. K. H., African Farmers in Rhodesia: old and new peasant communities in Karangaland (London, 1975), p. 142.Google Scholar

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96 Weinrich, op. cit. p. 67.

97 Cheater, op. cit.

98 Weinrich, op. cit. p. 145.

99 Massell and Johnson, op. cit. pp. 16–17.

100 The remaining land is required to support livestock grazing, 8–15 acres of land being necessary to graze one head of cattle. Cheater, op. cit. and Weinrich, op. cit.

101 Weinrich, op. cit. provides data for two purchase areas, Guruuswa and Mutadza, that reinforce these findings. Freehold farmers had more education and training, had larger families, used more capital inputs (fertilisers, implements, pesticides), and had more cattle.

102 Massell and Johnson, op. cit.

103 Ibid. p. 30.

104 Cheater, op. cit. pp. 13–14.

105 Massell and Johnson, op. cit. and Cheater, op. cit.

106 Massell and Johnson, op. cit.

107 Cheater, op. cit. p. 19.

108 Weinrich, op. cit.

109 Cheater, op. cit. p. 41.

110 Weinrich, op. cit.

111 Cheater, op. cit. p. 11.

112 Other responses included ‘inadequate land allotment on mission farm or reserve’ (78 out of 301), ‘followed example of kin and friends’ (55), ‘interested in farming/business investment’ (49), ‘dislike of constraints in reserve’ (41), and ‘production factors (soils, water, transport, markets)’ (40). Ibid. p. 21.

113 See Coldham, ‘Land-Tenure Reform in Kenya’, p. 619: ‘Indeed, given the bureaucratic hurdles that have to be overcome, the fees that are payable at each stage of the process, and the likelihood that several years will pass before matters are finalished, it is not surprising that so few sucessions are registered.’

114 Haugerud, loc. cit. and Coldham, ‘The Effect of Registration of Title’.

115 Okoth-Ogendo, ‘African Land Tenure Reform’.

116 According to Ega, L. Alegwu, ‘Security of Tenure in a Transitory Farming System: the case of Zaria villages in Nigeria’, in Agricultural Administration (Barking, Essex), pp. 287–97, commercial transactions in land (for example, purchases, pledges, and rents) usually take place illegally in Zaria; that is, without the approval of the minister or his local representative. Adding to this complication, disputes occasionally occur over inherited land when the land might have been transferred without the knowledge of heirs. The consequence is numerous unresolved land disputes arising from conflicting claims, frequently over land that has been transferred through commercial arrangements.Google Scholar

117 Cf. Gunn, Susan, ‘Land Reform in Somalia’, in Powelson, J. P. and Stack, Richard (eds.), The Peasant Betrayed (Cambridge, Mass., 1986), Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.Google Scholar

118 As noted by Cheater, A. P., ‘Formal and Informal Rights to Land in Zimbabwe's Black Freehold Areas: a case-study from Msengezi’, in Africa, LII, 1982, pp. 7791, landholders are free to cultivate what they wish, but cannot grant their rights of use to another. Heirs to and buyers of land require state approval, even after title has been granted.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

119 Cf. the discussion of the Land Tenure Law of 1962 and its amendments of 1963 in Nigeria by Ega, loc. cit. p. 290: ‘The law categorically prohibited occupants under statutory right from transferring land by sale, assignment or mortgage without the consent of the Minister. Similarly, the landholder under customary tenure was prohibited from transfer of land by sale, mortgage or assignment to non-indigenes of Northern Nigeria without the Minister's approval.’ However, Ega notes in ibid. p. 292, that landholders ‘transfer their holdings at will and more or less exercise individual ownership rights over then…Indeed, the incidence of transactions such as purchase, pledge and rent suggests that the law is being vigorously violated and implies a lag between the law and the tenure system.’

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