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To Foster Food Security Support Women’s Land Rights

To Foster Food Security Support Women’s Land Rights

Millions of people across the world suffer from food insecurity, but a growing body of evidence is uncovering one way to address this problem: land rights.

Take India, for example. A preliminary study of a land purchase program in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, which provided beneficiaries with plots of land of up to one acre, found that beneficiary households experienced significantly higher levels of food security. What does that mean? It means that 76% of beneficiary households reported having two meals a day, compared to only 50-57% of non-beneficiary households.

It doesn’t even take that much land to help create food security. Secure rights to “microplots” of land–plots as small as one-tenth of an acre-protect against household food insecurity and improve nutrition. A study of wage-earning families in the Indian state of Kerala revealed that the value of microplot production was the most “consistent positive predictor of child nutrition”.

This link is even more pronounced when women in households have secure land rights. When women have secure property rights, including rights in the land they cultivate they gain improved status within the household which leads to more involvement in those household decisions. The World Bank has concluded that when women have direct control over assets like land and the income from those assets they are more likely than men to spend that income on the next generation.

But even though they comprise 43 percent of the agricultural labor force in developing countries and nearly half of the agriculture labor force in parts of Africa and Asia, women are significantly less likely to own land than men and when they do own land those tracts are likely to be smaller and of poorer qualities than those owned by men.

The challenges that come from women’s insecure rights to land are directly tied to the challenges of food insecurity in many communities. But governments, the private sector and international development organizations can change that. Addressing land rights issues, and in particular women’s land rights, in policies designed to address hunger and nutrition can deepen the impact of those policies and promote long-term, sustainable solutions to both.

Related Stories:

Secure Land Rights And The Fight Against Global Poverty [Video]


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Photo from mckaysavage via flickr.

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12:36AM PDT on Aug 31, 2012


5:44AM PDT on Aug 4, 2012


4:02AM PDT on May 10, 2012

Excellent lesson to learn here: Give a woman a bit of land and equality and the world becomes a better place! Now where else can we apply this?

2:05PM PDT on May 4, 2012


8:37PM PDT on May 2, 2012


1:34PM PDT on May 2, 2012

@Christine S.: What countries would you say that is true for?

And YAY!! for this scheme!!

1:34PM PDT on May 2, 2012

@Christine S.: What countries would you say that is true for?

And YAY!! for this scheme!!

5:58AM PDT on May 2, 2012

Thanks for the article.

9:42PM PDT on May 1, 2012

Give a woman some land, she will make sure her family is fed. In some countries, if you give a man some land, it will go towards his bar tab!

7:01PM PDT on May 1, 2012

This could end up being a very powerful agent for change that will heal the world and make of it a more cohesive community of nations. In terms of gender archetypes, women are intimately tied with land and food at a much deeper level than men. They are also archetypically connected with community in ways that men are not. Bringing women back into their mythic power can do wonders for humanity right now.

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