Landesa’s Goal:

Landesa partners with the government and local organizations to help India’s 15 million poor, rural, landless families obtain ownership of a small plot of land and the opportunity to build a better future.

Indian States Where We Work:

The Progress We’ve Made:

  • More than 430,000 families are now landowners
  • Homestead allocation and pilot programs are working in three states with Landesa’s assistance.
  • The national government of India has launched, with Landesa’s help, a $200 million initiative to provide two million landless families secure access to land.

India has more poor people than any other country on the planet

In rural India, an estimated fifteen million families are both poor and landless. Scores of millions more have no secure legal rights to the land they currently occupy. Traditional poverty alleviation efforts will largely bypass these families – unless they obtain legal rights to land. With land as a foundation, the rural poor are better able to use the building blocks of education, healthcare, clean water, and access to credit to bootstrap themselves out of extreme poverty.

Previous attempts in India to promote development through broadening land ownership produced mixed results. There just wasn’t enough land available or enough money in the government’s budget to allow for poverty alleviation efforts using traditional sized farms.

Big things come in small packages: Micro-plots

In partnership with Landesa, national and state governments in India have developed another path towards the same goal: micro-plots.

These house-and-garden plots, which may be as small as tennis courts, can be effective anti-poverty tools. The plots allow families to produce most of the fruits and vegetables they need, and to sell excess produce, providing a small income to supplement their earnings as wage laborers. That extra income can enable parents to pull their children out of the fields and place them in schools. Micro-plots also reduce malnutrition and boost health. And they are small enough that even the government’s constrained finances can afford to pay market prices to purchase and distribute enough land for the huge numbers of poor. Oftentimes, the poor are given ownership to government land they already occupy, further reducing costs.

Read More: Landesa in India Factsheet

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