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Land reform and rural territories: Experiences from Brazil and South Africa

Land reform and rural territories: Experiences from Brazil and South Africa

Quan, Julian ORCID: 0000-0003-2388-5684 (2008) Land reform and rural territories: Experiences from Brazil and South Africa. [Working Paper]

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Despite programmes for rural land reform and redistribution around the world, inequitable land distribution and rural poverty remain profound in much of the rural South. This paper suggests a new approach to land reform and rural development. “Rural territorial development” (RTD) is based on and encourages shared territorial identity (distinctive productive,historical, cultural and environmental features) amongst different stakeholders and socialgroupings. It builds on the fact that rural people’s livelihood strategies are complex and often mostly non-agricultural in nature. It works by (1) promoting collaboration between different sectoral agencies, levels and administrative units of government, and with civil society and private sector actors, within distinctive geographical spaces; and (2) creating new, inclusive multi-stakeholder fora for participatory development planning and implementation at the meso scale—working across groupings of local municipalities, which are often too small on their own to drive economic development.

The paper presents case studies of RTD approaches in Brazil and South Africa. It finds that a territorial approach to land reform could potentially:
• Strengthen land reform groups over wider areas by creating platforms to secure institutional support, improve productivity, tackle collective marketing needs, and negotiate with private sector interests.
• Support a more integrated approach to diverse and overlapping issues of tenure security, access to seasonal pasture, indigenous rights, land expropriation and restitution, and market based land access.
• Improve co-ordination among and more responsive prioritisation by state agencies.
• Improve service delivery and agricultural support to land reform communities, with better prioritisation of scarce resources for social and physical infrastructure.
• Create shared platforms whereby diverse social groups can debate and agree on visions and practical priorities to help steer government interventions.

The Brazilian and South African experiences are at a very early stage; a variety of institutional and political problems still remain. Despite its potential, RTD is no magic bullet. The main lessons identified by the studies include that:
• Follow-up development and agricultural support is needed, delivered within a more integrated, decentralised approach involving government agencies, social movements and other rural development actors.
• Investing in new territorial institutional frameworks and processes can help reconcile divergent interests. New territorial institutions are needed, with legal powers and capacity to manage delivery of strategic development projects on the ground.
• A genuinely enabling national policy framework for RTD will overcome weak participation by parochial local municipalities, the private sector and sectoral, top-down government agencies.

Item Type: Working Paper
Additional Information: [1] Published in February 2008. [2] Published as: Quan, Julian (2008) Land reform and rural territories: experiences from Brazil and South Africa. Gatekeeper, 134. pp. 1-22. ISSN 1357-9258. [3] IIED code: 14559IIED
Uncontrolled Keywords: land reform, rural development
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Livelihoods & Institutions Department
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Last Modified: 21 Oct 2020 10:13

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