Institutional Arrangements for Farmland Development : The Case of Ethiopia


  • Abayineh Amare Woldeamanuel Jimma University, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Department of Rural Development, P.O. Box. 307 Jimma
  • Fekadu Beyene Kenee College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Department of Rural Development, P.O.Box.161, Haramaya


Land is an asset of enormous importance for billions of rural dwellers in the developing world. Increased land access for the poor can also bring direct benefits of poverty alleviation, not least by contributing directly to increased household food security. In countries where agriculture is a main economic activity (e.g. Ethiopia), access to land is a fundamental means whereby the poor can ensure household food supplies and generate income. Therefore, this study aimed to sketch-out institutional arrangements to get access to farmland and to empirically examine institutional mechanisms to settle dispute arising from contracting farmland in Amigna district. The result revealed that land rental markets appeared to be the dominant institutional arrangement to get access to farmland next to Peasant Association allocated arrangement. This created breathing space for short-term land acquisition for landless and/or nearly landless farm households. Moreover, the dominant transactions took place among a neighbour followed by transfers between friends in the same peasant association, and relatives in the same peasant association. The foregoing discussion with key informants revealed that such transfers are informal and there are no formal rules and regulations to enforce land transfers to reduce high risk that may arise from these transactions. Regarding the mechanisms used by the sample respondents' in order to resolve disputes, farmers claimed their rights through local elders, religious leaders, and local institutions. This may be due to the perception of legal uncertainty over landholdings particularly in the case of rental contracts, which existed informally. Therefore, policy and development interventions should give emphasis to improvement of such institutional arrangements that create venue for land access.


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How to Cite

Amare Woldeamanuel, A., & Beyene Kenee, F. (2012). Institutional Arrangements for Farmland Development : The Case of Ethiopia. Journal of Rural Development, 31(2), 151–162. Retrieved from