Land rights are widely agreed to be essential in motivating farmers to make short and long-term fixed investments in their farms – investments that will increase agricultural productivity, raise rural household incomes, and move the needle on the goal of alleviating global poverty.
The good news is that a recent systematic review – funded by the U.K. Department for International Development (DfID) – of quantitative literature on the effects of tenure formalisation in developing countries confirmed that formal registration of individual land rights increases investment, productivity, and household consumption.
The bad news? Productivity did not rise as much in Africa as in Asia and Latin America. Differences in short-term gains were considerable: 5-10% average gains in Africa, compared to 25-35% gains in Latin America and Asia.