Land Tenure and Land Management in the Highlands of Northern Ethiopia

Land tenure security is important to encourage investment in land improvements as well as the development of efficient land markets. In Ethiopia, empirical analysis is required to find out the effect of the current land tenure system on farmers’ propensity to invest in land improvements, and the development and functioning of land markets. Data collected from 50 communities in the highlands of Tigray in 1998 was used to investigate the functioning of land markets, and determine the relationship between perceived land tenure security and land investments in the region. We found out that informal land markets (sharecropping and fixed rental) are emerging in the region, and while quality of land is an important determinant of rental price in fixed lease, quality appears to play limited role in determining the land holder’s share in sharecropping. Landlessness is increasing in the region. Perceived tenure security is important for making land investments and use of improved farming practice. However, investments in land do not appear to have significant effect on perceived tenure security of farmers. Our results imply that there is a need to improve tenure security of farmers in order to encourage land investment. The role of public policy in facilitating the development of the fledgling land markets needs to be explored. The wishes and preferences of farmers regarding land tenure arrangements and land administration should be considered as crucial inputs to future land tenure arrangements. Moreover, an open, concerted and inclusive debate on the relevance and feasibility of alternative land tenure arrangements for the country or for different parts of the country needs to be encouraged. Alternative tenure arrangements need to be evaluated based on the level of security they provide to farmers, since tenure security is more important than the mode of ownership.

Assefa, Admassie
Alemayehu, Seyoum
Alemu, Mekonnen
Berhane, Tareke
Eyob, Tesfaye
Getachew, Asgedom
Getachew, Yoseph
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Journal Article
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Ethiopian Journal of Economics, Volume 08, Number 2
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Series Statement:
Volume VIII Number 2; October 1999

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