Our Progress

86 million farming families now have secure land tenure to 162 million acres. That is an area about the size of the states of California and Maine combined.

Landesa’s recommendations have been incorporated into the significant policy and legislative changes over the last two decades that give China’s 200 million farming families greater confidence in their security.

The largest and most successful poverty alleviation program in history

Over the last 30 years, hundreds of millions of Chinese have been lifted above the poverty line. But China’s modern cities and buzzing factory floors belie an uncomfortable truth, that the country’s rapid modernization has largely bypassed the countryside, where more than 700 million people still live—the majority of them under $2 a day.

China’s urban-rural disparity is among the highest in the world. Rural Chinese have less schooling, healthcare, and income. They die, on average, more than 12 years earlier than their big city counterparts. Rural children are more than 5 times less likely to go to college than urban ones. Divides like these have sparked social unrest across the country and are unsustainable.

Moreover, the growing pattern of illegal, involuntary, and poorly compensated acquisitions of farmers’ land, further threatens to gravely undermine farmers’ security and all of the benefits such security brings. Enhanced efforts to ensure and strengthen farmers’ land security plays a key role in China’s anti-poverty efforts.

For decades, Landesa has been working closely with government officials and local institutions to provide farmers with secure land tenure, which is increasingly recognized by the international development community and the National Government of China as a powerful tool to address rural poverty.

Through a series of recent historic legal changes, guided in part by Landesa’s research and recommendations, the Chinese Central Government has begun guaranteeing all farmers 30-year land rights, strictly limiting expropriations, documenting and publicizing farmers’ rights, and requiring sufficient compensation when farmers’ lands are expropriated. These historic changes provide the foundation for broad-based development in China and for a more equitable and stable society. This is good for China and good for the world.

Now, these laws need to be further improved and more efficiently implemented. And China needs more equitable laws on land takings, as well as institutions and systems in place to allow farmers, particularly female farmers, to protect their rights so they have the confidence to invest in their land and the opportunity to improve their lives.

Landesa continues to work in the interests of the rural poor and serves as a valued advisor to key government agencies to strengthen farmers’ land rights through documentation and registration, improve farmer’s compensation and due process rights in takings, and increase farmers’ awareness of their land rights to make their 30-year tenure agreements more meaningful.

Read More: Landesa in China Fact Sheet

Results from Landesa’s 17-Province Survey on Rural China Land Rights – 2011:

Link to Landesa’s research on China.