Land policies vital for inclusive growth, USAID

THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) says African countries should design land policies that will promote inclusive growth and poverty alleviation.
The agency notes that current land policies are not conducive for majority smallholder farmers, and this has affected productivity as most of them are unable to access land, according to the latest report on “The Role of Land Policy in Agricultural Transformation and Inclusive Economic Growth: Implications for Africa”.
It states that despite smallholder farmers being the major producers of food, they are still faced with challenges that need to be addressed.
“There is need for effectiveness in both customary and formal land administration systems in facilitating equitable and efficient land allocations and transfers among farming communities, and this can only be achieved by African countries adopting and coming up with policies to promote inclusive growth before undertaking land policy reforms or rights,” the report reads.
USAID has, therefore, indicated that when undertaking land policy reforms or rights recognition interventions, there is need to protect and strengthen rights of poor and marginalised farmers to ensure all benefit.
The agency said to increase productivity, policies should be implemented with the aim of developing agricultural research, rural infrastructure, technology, extension services and access to finance.
“More research is also needed on impacts of the recent agricultural programmes and that customary rights recognition should be implemented in line with agricultural productivity, land investment, sustainable production practices, and access to informal finance, as well as distributional wealth,” USAID said.

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