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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


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  • 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.

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