Helene is a female farmer from Burkina Faso grows vegetables in the dry season through using simple irrigation techniques. By selling the crops she has earned enough money to send her children to school.

Helene, a female farmer from Burkina Faso, grows vegetables in the dry season through using simple irrigation techniques. By selling the crops she has earned enough money to send her children to school. Credit: P. Casier (CGIAR).


Addressing the challenge of food insecurity and undernutrition is a primary focus of governments and the international community.  However, programs and policies intended to improve food security often overlook the importance of secure land and natural resource rights to achieving that goal.  

Below are resources that provide an introduction to food security issues, describe the linkages between land rights, agricultural productivity and food security, provide data-based evidence of these links, and explain why improving women’s tenure security can have a disproportionately positive impact on household food security.

General Food & Nutrition Security Frameworks

FAO, IFAD and WFP. 2013. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2013: The Multiple Dimensions of Food Security. http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3434e/i3434e.pdf

Committee on World Food Security. 2012. Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition. http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/026/ME498E.pdf

New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). 2003. Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) http://www.nepad.org/system/files/caadp.pdf

World Bank. 2013. Improving Nutrition Through Multisectoral Approaches.
http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2013/02/05/000356161_20130205130807/Rendered/PDF/751020WP0Impro00Box374299B00PUBLIC0.pdf

Food & Nutrition Security, Agriculture Productivity & Land

FAO. Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security. 2012. http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/i2801e/i2801e.pdf

AUC-ECA-AfDB Consortium. 2010. Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa. http://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/publications/fg_on_land_policy_eng.pdf

World Bank. 2013. How Africa Can Transform Land Tenure, Revolutionize Agriculture, and End Poverty. http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2013/07/22/how-africa-can-transform-land-tenure-revolutionize-agriculture-end-poverty

Byamugisha, Frank F. K. 2013. Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity: A Program to Scale Up Reforms and Investments. http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2013/05/31/000445729_20130531122716/Rendered/PDF/780850PUB0EPI00LIC00pubdate05024013.pdf

Roth, Michael.  2013. Issue Brief: Land Tenure and Food Security. http://usaidlandtenure.net/sites/default/files/USAID_Land_Tenure_Food_Security_and_Tenure_Issue_Brief_1.pdf 

IFAD and UNEP. 2013. Smallholders, food security, and the environment.
http://www.ifad.org/climate/resources/smallholders_report.pdf

Landesa. 2012. Land Rights and Agricultural Productivity.  http://www.landesa.org/wp-content/uploads/Landesa-issue-brief-on-land-rights-and-agricultural-productivity.pdf

Women's Land Rights & Food Security

Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights. 2012. Issue Brief: Land Rights and Food Security.  http://www.landesa.org/wp-content/uploads/Landesa-Issue-Brief-Land-Rights-and-Food-Security.pdf

van den Bold, Mara, Agnes R. Quisumbing and Stuart Gillespie. 2013. Women’s Empowerment and Nutrition: An Evidence Review.
http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/ifpridp01294.pdf

Quisumbing, Agnes R. et al. 2013. Closing the Gender Asset Gap: Learning from value chain development in Asia and Africa. http://www.womeneconroadmap.org/sites/default/files/IFPRI_Gender%20Assets%20and%20Value%20Chains.pdf

Giovarelli, Renee and Elisa Scalise. 2013. Women’s Land Tenure Framework for Analysis: Land Rights. http://www.landesa.libguides.com/land_rights.

Country Studies

Helen Keller Institute/IFPRI. 2013. Enhanced Homestead Food Production for Improved Food Security and Nutrition in Burkina Faso.
http://www.slideshare.net/genderassets/hki-presentation-for-gaap-final-technical-workshop

Ali, Daniel Ayalew, Klaus Deininger and Markus Goldstein. 2011. Environmental and Gender Impacts of Land Tenure Regularization in Africa: Pilot evidence from Rwanda.
http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/IW3P/IB/2011/08/18/000158349_20110818104704/Rendered/PDF/WPS5765.pdf

Deininger, Klaus et al. 2003. Tenure Security and Land-Related Investment: Evidence from Ethiopia. http://elibrary.worldbank.org/doi/pdf/10.1596/1813-9450-2991
See also: http://startinternational.org/library/archive/files/ethiopia-wb_793d563cad.pdf (2005)

Doss, Cheryl.  2005. The Effects of Intra-Household Property Ownership on Expenditure Patterns in Ghana. http://jae.oxfordjournals.org/content/15/1/149.full.pdf (subscription required).