Access to Rural Land in Eastern Ethiopia: Mismatch between Policy and Reality

Kassa Belay, Winfried Manig


SociThis paper explores the different means of access to land in three districts of Eastern Ethiopia. Data collected from a random sample of 313 heads of households were used in the study. The results show that as land is state-owned and farmers have only usufruct rights on land allocated to them by local authorities, access to additional cultivable land is achieved through land rental transactions (mainly in the form of sharecropping) and land borrowing. Another important finding of this study is that the average land holding has been declining over the years as a result of increased demographic pressure, resulting in individual farm units that are generally too small to be economically viable. The study also makes it clear that the issue of access to cultivated land is inextricably linked to other important factors such as availability of credit, market integration, effective advisory service, etc.


access to land; land borrowing, land fragmentation; land redistribution; land renting; land tenure; state ownership; usufruct rights

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