Few governance systems are yet able to keep up with the pace and scale of change

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Access to farmland gets quick and dirty in sub-Saharan Africa

Read the full article: IIED

Who can access and use the land? The answer to this age-old question is changing fast in many parts of rural Africa. Land that used to be allocated within the community by chiefs is now increasingly changing hands in more diverse ways. The wealthy and well-connected within the community or from further afield are frequently able to override local statutory or customary land rights, dispossessing the previous occupants or forcing them to divide their already small plots of land. When government-backed investors obtain large tracts for agribusiness, local farmers who manage to participate in the schemes do well, but those who cannot may find themselves in dire need of support. While the scale and pace of these changes are growing fast, policy responses are lagging. This briefing sets out some suggestions for how to close the gap.

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.