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Essays on climate smart agriculture and land reform

Rampa, A. (2023) Essays on climate smart agriculture and land reform. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00112297


In an era of global warming, addressing key agricultural development challenges, including reducing food insecurity and feeding a growing population, while building resilience to the adverse effects of climate change and minimising further environmental degradation induced by the agricultural sector requires a transformation of agricultural systems. Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is a sustainable agriculture approach that can help guide such a transformation by orienting agricultural system actions towards the realisation of a triple-objective – sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, adapting to climate change, and contributing to lower the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Yet, high levels of inequality in the distribution of land, a key natural resource for agricultural production, and land tenure insecurity may limit opportunities for widespread farmer adoption of CSA. Policy interventions, such as land reforms, that can broaden landless and land-poor farmers’ access to land as well as to markets, infrastructure and advisory services, and that can enhance farmers’ tenure security, may not only help improve equity and efficiency but also contribute to build an enabling environment for CSA, thereby enhancing environmental sustainability. This thesis comprises three papers investigating associations between CSA and land reform, with a particular emphasis on lower-income country settings. The first paper (Chapter 2) introduces and describes a conceptual framework, the Climate Smart Land Reform (CSLR) framework, which builds on theoretical and empirical literature on CSA and land reform and uncovers associations between the two concepts. It describes a CSLR as comprising of four pillars, land redistribution, land tenure reform, markets and infrastructure, and Rural Advisory Services (RAS). These four pillars are considered, within the framework, to have the potential to foster CSA adoption and to generate positive effects on a range of social, political, economic and environmental objectives that land reformers may entertain, including the three CSA objectives. The CSLR framework represents an innovative way to conceptualise how land reforms can contribute not only to socio-economic and political improvements, but also to environmental sustainability. The second paper (Chapter 3) explores the linkage presented in the CSLR framework between the land tenure reform pillar of the framework and the three CSA objectives by examining the land registration and certification programme undertaken at the end of the 1990s in Tigray (Ethiopia). The use of a difference-in-differences approach applied to an original panel dataset constructed from Earth Observation data reveals that the reform has led to progress on the three CSA objectives. This suggests that land tenure reforms can contribute to the achievement of rural development objectives, including objectives associated with climate change. The third paper (Chapter 4) is dedicated to the study of the South African land reform. It includes a historical summary of the causes and of the process that led to its launch, as well as a critical analysis comparing land reformers’ initial intentions with the actual implementation of the land reform. This analysis exposes key issues that have hampered the realisation of land reformers’ original intentions, including the implementation of inadequate measures for the transfer of land and for the provision of support services to land reform participants. Building on these findings, secondary data from a farm-household level survey are used to analyse empirically the association between the land redistribution and RAS pillars of the CSLR framework and CSA adoption. Results from the estimation of binary response models show that land redistribution participation was associated with a higher likelihood of adopting CSA, but only in the absence of RAS, thus providing evidence of the inadequacy of RAS in fostering CSA in the South African land reform context and confirming the need to enhance efforts for the establishment of a well-coordinated, multi-stakeholder and participatory RAS system.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Gadanakis, Y. and Rose, G.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Agriculture, Policy & Development
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:112297

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