Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Whose Land is It Anyway?

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are increasingly common mechanisms for funding agriculture and food security projects. But in places with weak governance or complicated traditions surrounding land ownership, private investors and NGOs are often left asking, “whose land is it anyway?” 

In order to prevent negative consequences when land tenure issues arise, such as unintentional land grabs, Delilah Rothenberg of Development Capital Strategies and Yuliya Neyman of USAID recommended that development practitioners, especially those working in PPPs, incorporate land tenure considerations at the start of programs. At July’s Ag Sector Council seminar, they provided tools and guidance to educate private partners about the nuances of doing business in developing countries.  

Miss this month’s Ag Sector Council? Check out these five takeaways for practitioners and funders: 

  • Plan ahead to mitigate risks related to land-based investments in countries where land governance is weak or not formally documented.
  • Educate investors about local laws and international standards to help pave the way for more responsible investment within development programming.
  • Share your development perspective to inform and educate investors so they can make investments that are complementary to community norms—it will safeguard both the community and investors’ pocket books.
  • Actively build capacity of project developers through structuring concessionary sources of capital.
  • Use USAID’s “Operational Guidelines for Responsible Land-based Investments” to help private sector companies and Missions mitigate land tenure risks.

What have your experiences with land rights and investment been like? Share your story in the comments below. 

You can download the webinar recording and resources from the event here and read our Q&A about land tenure with four leading experts here.