Who Owns the Land? Perspectives from Rural Ugandans and Implications for Large-Scale Land Acquisitions uri icon

abstract

  • Rapidly growing demand for agricultural land is putting pressure on property-rights systems, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where customary tenure systems have provided secure land access. Rapid and large-scale demands from outsiders are challenging patterns of gradual, endogenous change toward formalization. Little attention has focused on the gender dimensions of this transformation. However this contribution, based on a 2008-09 study of land tenure in Uganda, analyzes how different definitions of land ownership - including household reports, existence of ownership documents, and rights over the land - provide very different indications of the gendered patterns of land ownership and rights. While many households report husbands and wives as joint owners of the land, women are less likely to be listed on ownership documents, and have fewer rights. A simplistic focus on "title" to land misses much of the reality regarding land tenure and could have an adverse impact on women's land rights.

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014