African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6638


Land reform as a strategy of breaking the circles of poverty in former colonized states of developing countries: A review

L.  Musemwa1* and A. Mushunje2        
1Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Centre, University of Fort Hare, P. Bag X1314, Alice 5700, Republic of South Africa. 2Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, University Of Fort Hare, P. Bag X1314, Alice 5700, Republic of South Africa.  
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 16 April 2012
  •  Published: 14 August 2012


The main long standing objectives of the land reform programme have being to address the imbalances in land access. At the same time, extending and improving the base for productive agriculture in the smallholder farming sector, including bringing idle or under-utilized land into full production. This constitutes the key dimensions of land reform programme. Uncertainties regarding the distributed land have been reported. Cost-benefit analyses of the whole programme are made in terms of levels of output, foreign exchange earnings, land productivity, agricultural employment and the loss of agricultural expertise (white farmers). The main objective of this paper was to review relevant literature on the contribution of land reform towards poverty reduction in developing countries. This paper will also enable countries which are yet to implement land reform to either adopt the land reform strategy or utilise other poverty reduction initiatives aimed at resolving growth and development of the landless and the rural poor. The advocates of land reform claimed that if the problem of land ownership skewed towards race remains, racial conflicts may occur which are more costly and harmful to the citizens. With rapid population growth, the opponents of land reform claim that there is ‘not enough land’ to allow all those that are involved in farming to have their own land. Politically, it is not going to be easy to redress the present unacceptable land ownership inequalities without at the same time, seriously impairing the productive capacity of agriculture and without incurring costs which are at times unacceptable to society as a whole. Land redistribution alone will not bring any lasting benefits to agriculture but it should be accompanied by increases in farm and labour productivity.


Key words: Poverty, employment, developing countries, inequalities, expertise, productivity.