December 12, 2013 – A newly released Landesa study of 1,373 households in three districts in West Bengal, India found that formerly landless families who received micro-plots (tennis-court sized plots of land) showed a range of significant gains.
Beneficiary families were more likely to have accessed credit from a bank, were more likely to use those funds to invest in their land, and were more likely to make a range of improvements (such as using fertilizer) to improve their land.
The majority of the beneficiaries received plots that were jointly titled to the adult male and female heads of the household. They received these titles through the state of West Bengal’s micro-plot program, run with assistance from Landesa. The study found that including women’s names on land titles has significant benefits. Women in these households were more likely to be involved in decisions about family resources. And a variety of studies have already established that when women have control over family resources, families are more likely to use those resources to meet the educational and nutritional needs of their children.
The study’s findings suggest that gender-sensitive homestead development programs can lay the foundation for long-term food security. Programs allocating homesteads to landless families are currently operating, with Landesa’s assistance, in three Indian states. And Pakistan has launched a small pilot micro-plot program based on the Indian model. The Indian national government has launched, with Landesa’s help, a $200 million initiative to provide two million landless families with secure rights to land. More than a million Indian families have benefited from these partnerships.
To read the study, which is a part of an IFPRI’s Gender, Agriculture, & Asset Project, follow this link: Download PDF
To read the larger study from IFPRI, which includes research on eight interventions from Africa and Asia follow this link: Download PDF