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A publication from the Comité Technique Foncier et Développement
Written by: Michel Merlet, Robert Levesque
Organizations: Association pour contribuer à l’Amélioration de la Gouvernance de la Terre, de l’Eau et des Ressources naturelles (AGTER), Comité technique « Foncier et développement » (CTFD)
Type of document: Research Paper
This book is the result of a collective reflection on young people’s access to land and the dynamics of change in agrarian structures initiated by the Technical Committee on Land Tenure and Development. This project was led between 2017 and 2019 by a team from AGTER and Scafr-Terres d’Europe, in coordination with the scientific secretariat of the CTFD
With the global population predicted to rise to over 9 billion by 2050, youth employment is one of the key challenges we face in the 21 st century. Many African countries are expected to see more and more young people enter the labour market. Most of them come from rural areas and are already struggling to find work on family farms as landholdings pass from one generation to the next.
This guide considers how young people get started as agricultural producers in the global context of a degraded biosphere, increasing inequalities, massive migration and proliferating conflicts. The kind of modernised family farming seen in Western Europe, large-scale production and corporate agriculture cannot resolve the worldwide environmental, economic and social challenges we face today. The only way we can try to redress the current ecological imbalances while producing more wealth per hectare and generating more jobs is through agricultural models based on family or peasant farming.
This kind of paradigm shift will be impossible without major economic, social and political changes. We need to reintegrate the economy into society and rebuild the commons in order to push back against the increasing individualisation seen in so many societies.
Old and very diverse forms of kinship and family-based organisation still play an important role in many respects. But the examples presented in this guide show that they are no longer sufficient when land and natural resources need to be managed in ways that can deal with problems at very different scales, from the local to the global. This means that we need to continue to invent and build new communities and new institutions by accelerating the implementation of multiple regulatory mechanisms, especially those concerned with access to land.
This guide explores two issues that are often overlooked in current approaches to agricultural development: the way that changes in agrarian structures over several generations affect different types of ‘family’; and land markets.
The result of multi-disciplinary exchanges and reflection by members of the ‘Land Tenure and Development’ Technical Committee, this guide combines elements of economics, sociology, anthropology, history, law and political science with case studies from several continents and themes from the Committee’s previous publications. It does not provide ready-made solutions for different development actors, but sets out lines of thought they can follow to in order to deepen their knowledge of the field and ask the right questions.
Preface by Jean-Luc François
A. Why do we need to think about factors that affect young people’s access to land?
B. Purpose and target audience of this guide
C. The context: changing agrarian structures and global challenges
Drivers of the current upheavals
Strong regional differences
In terms of demography
In terms of agrarian structures
In terms of ecology
The need for a paradigm shift
D. Structure of the guide
Underlying logic for the analytical and evaluation table
Reflections and tools to help use the analytical table
II. Taking young people into account in development actions: some pointers to understand how they get started in agriculture
A. Use appropriate ideas, categories and concepts
B. Describe the production structures
C. Diverse social groups based on kinship
Families and the concepts used to describe them
Kinship and communities
Women and families
D. Male and female reproduction and production
Production structures and their interactions with kinship groups
Constantly evolving family production mechanisms
E. People and communities. What are their governance mechanisms?
Land and natural resource rights and rights holders
F. The development of market relations and changing forms of governance
What do we mean by ‘markets’?
Changes in intra-family governance of land access
Access to land through extra-familial regulatory systems
III. How can we think about and analyse the different ways in which young people access land?
A. Key variables to consider
B. Young people can access land within the family framework
C. Young people’s access to land outside kinship groups, through public institutions or by force
D. Young people can also access land through land markets
IV. Conditions that will enable large numbers of young people to stay in the agricultural sector
A. Three basic conditions apart from access to land
Incomes that enable people to live with dignity
A strong social fabric: the importance of the social environment and services in rural areas
Being recognised and participating in ‘public life’
B. The need for compatible agricultural and land policies
V. Towards new horizons: rebuilding the commons
A. Summary of the main lessons learned
B. Re-embedding the economy in society
C. Deepening democracy, building alliances
VI. Analytical table to assess a development project or policy from a ‘youth perspective’
List of boxes
Box 1. French development aid guidelines on agriculture and food security
Box 2. Khmer families in Cambodia: nuclear families within networks
Box 3. Lessons learned from the Fulani about the semantic richness of survey languages
Box 4. Communities of production, consumption and accumulation among the Limba (Sierra Leone)
Box 5. Rights to land and natural resources in Winye country in Burkina Faso
Box 6. Thinking about territories
Box 7. The main provisions of the French law on tenant farming
Box 8. How the Kel Ewey Tuareg of Aïr in Niger transfer rights to property and resources through inheritance
Box 9. How inheritance patterns contribute to the inclusion or exclusion of young people
Box 10. Getting young farmers started in rural Sierra Leone: emancipation at the cost of insecurity
Box 11. Are the current opportunities offered by the development of food and land markets around N’Zérékoré in the Guinea Forest Region sustainable?
Box 12: Family, migration and land markets as means of dealing with land pressure in in Madagascar