Land Tenure, Agricultural Investment, and Sustainable Land Management: A Ugandan Case Study
de Brauw, Alan
Improving the productivity of agriculture is a key development objective across many low-income countries. One proposed method of increasing agricultural investment, and hence agricultural productivity, is by expanding formal land tenure systems in developing countries. Using data from a survey of households in rural Uganda, this study analyzes the effect of formal tenure rights on short and long term agricultural investment. The analysis finds that customary, or traditional, tenure is associated with lower levels of investment in inorganic fertilizer and in soil and water conservation. Customary tenure is associated with higher adoption of agroforestry practices however, possibly suggesting those with weak land rights use agroforestry to solidify their land claims. The analysis suggests governments should work to provide formal tenure status to households. However, a wide range of factors influence household decisions to invest in agriculture, suggesting that governments should implement formal tenure systems in tandem with improvements to institutional capacity, broader credit access, and expansion of agricultural extension programs.
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