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IFAD and land issues

Land tenure security and poverty reduction

Land is fundamental to the lives of poor rural people. It is a source of food, shelter, income and social identity. Secure access to land reduces vulnerability to hunger and poverty. But for many of the world's poor rural people in developing countries, access is becoming more tenuous than ever.

Competition for land has never been greater. Pressure on land is increasing as a result of a rising world population, climate change, declining soil fertility and the need for global food and fuel security. With governments and businesses now recognizing the potential of growing biofuel crops on land that cannot sustain food crops, even less fertile agricultural land may now have value. Desertification and reduced availability of water compound these issues.

In focus

Blog

Video

  • The North-East of Brazil is the most densely populated semi-arid region in the world. Low, erratic rainfall and cyclic droughts make farming difficult. For generations, farmers have resorted to excessive use of chemicals and slash and burn agriculture, stripping the soil of nutrients. These three stories show different ways farmers can make a living from the land while conserving the environment.

  • The North-East of Brazil is the most densely populated semi-arid region in the world. Low, erratic rainfall and cyclic droughts make farming difficult. For generations, farmers have resorted to excessive use of chemicals and slash and burn agriculture, stripping the soil of nutrients. Now farmers like Irupuan Gomes are trying something new. He is using bush management techniques to rehabilitate the natural ecosystem. Not only is the environment healthier -- but so are his profits.

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  • Harold Liversage
    Lead Technical Specialist in Land Tenure
    Via Paolo di Dono, 44
    Rome, Italy
    Work: +39 06 54592237
    Fax: +39 06 54593237
    h.liversage@ifad.org
  • Elisa Mandelli
    Junior Professional Officer, Land Tenure
    Via Paolo di Dono, 44
    Rome, Italy
    Work: +39 06 5459 2984
    e.mandelli@ifad.org