Preventing Food Spoilage

Around the world, nearly 1 billion rural farmers—large numbers of whom are women—lack secure rights to the land that they tend.1 In Africa, for example, 90% of rural land has no legal documentation and is subject to informal regulation.2 This uncertainty about land ownership prevents families from making investments that would enable them to increase their agricultural productivity, improve their food security, and boost their income.

Successful interventions in this area involve working with governments, community leaders, and other stakeholders to develop laws and policies that secure and enforce land rights. Efforts to raise awareness of newly established land rights are also important.

Secure land rights give families the confidence and stability that they need to invest in their homes and farms, and such investments generate a wide range of economic and social benefits. These benefits include increases in agricultural production and annual income, as well as increased high school graduation rates and decreased teen pregnancy rates.3,4,5,6 At a national level, efforts to strengthen property rights can lead to increases in gross domestic product and per capita income.7,8

Investment in this area has beneficial environmental consequences as well. When farmers have secure rights to their land, they are more likely to adopt soil improvement measures that increase crop productivity and promote carbon sequestration.9,10 Emerging evidence also suggests that enabling women to hold secure rights to land has positive effects on biodiversity protection and climate change mitigation.11,12