Dissertation Defense - Raul Pitoro - 12/11/15

Date: December 11, 2015
Time: 3 p.m.
Location: NR 338

The Challenges and Effects of Agrarian Reform in Africa: Evidence from Rural Mozambique

Dissertation Defense 



Friday December 11, 2015

Time: 3-5 p.m.

Room # 338, Natural Resources Building


Land has long been a focus of struggle between different parts of Mozambican society, but although the Government has embraced a more liberal and market oriented development model and even with high poverty rates, decreasing landholdings, observed low performance of the land administration are perceived, with empirical evidence showing a positive correlation of landholdings have shown a positive correlation with income (Walker et al., 2004; Jayne et al., 2003), there has been little consideration of landholdings as a potential cause of the stagnant agricultural growth. Therefore, understanding the effect of the relationship between landholdings and poverty and the structure of the land administration system on its performance makes three important contributions to the debate on the effect of land reforms to economic development: (1) as policy recommendations on the importance of landholdings  in the national development program for poverty reduction; (2) as a basis for developing future development strategies on pathways out of poverty (total, chronic, and transient); and (3) policy recommendations on how to improve the land administration system. 

Using two sources of secondary data collected by the Mozambique’s Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Michigan State University in Northern and Central Mozambique, a panel of on 1,186 rural households in 2008 and 2011 in Central and Northern regions and a combination of country wide administrative records from the land administration system consisting of more than 44,000 land use rights (DUATs) from 138 Districts and Population Census data.  The main conclusions of this study are: First, the welfare was found to have infrastructural, demographic, technological dimensions. Landholdings were found to be significant in raising rural household incomes. Unlike earlier studies, results show that the routes out and into poverty are more structural (productive asset and production technologies) than demographic which in turn confirms the argument that the initial asset distribution is an important in pro-poor growth. The study confirms that the initial resource endowments are important poverty exiting strategies in rural Mozambique. Second, transient poverty is of three-thirds of the total poverty and unlike most of earlier studies, the determinants of chronic and transient poverty are not totally congruent. Third, the performance of land administration system in Mozambique is a function of its structure. Fourth, the policy implications from this study to harness poverty include: promoting agricultural technologies, rural financial services, risk coping strategies, small and medium enterprises; improving input/output markets; expanding infrastructures and public services; and implementing land reforms conducive to increased landholdings to ensure income generation. For improving the land administration system, management and policy design, the recommendations include: decentralizing the administration units to lower geographical and improving the record keeping of administrative data.

Committee Members:

Dr. Gerhardus Schultink, Chairperson

Dr. Robert Richardson

Dr. Songqing Jin (AFRE)

Dr. Mywish Maredia (AFRE)