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How to align formal land rights with farmers' perceptions in Central Asia?

Zarema Akhmadiyeva and Thomas Herzfeld ()

No 38, IAMO Policy Briefs from Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO)

Abstract: Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan still undergo the process of establishing a land legislative system, implementing agricultural reforms that aim at increasing land productivity. The effectiveness of these reforms is often dependent on the level of law enforcement that varies in accordance with whether political elites in these countries have an interest in enacting certain reforms. As a result, legal land rights and farmers' perceptions of land rights may contradict each other and may create an uncertain and insecure environment for the farmers. Based on the findings of a farm-level survey conducted in 2019 in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, this policy brief claims that legal rights and farmers' actual farming practices do not coincide in many cases. Deviations appear in both directions: 1) farmers engage in activities which they are not allowed to be, and 2) farmers do not use all the opportunities provided by the national land legislation. These deviations indicate the ineffectiveness not only of land policies but of administrative monitoring and law enforcement mechanisms, too. Policy makers are recommended reconsidering the legal restrictions of land use in how far they are necessary to reach policy objectives. Furthermore, governments should reform the judicial system in particular enabling farmers and land users to appeal to courts for dispute resolutions in an effective, transparent, and fair manner. Finally, international donors should support future research on land rights and tenure security to improve policy design.

Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-cis and nep-law
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