A team of researchers, who have wider experiences in the field of land administrations and policies have claimed that rural landlessness is causing an increasing pressure on rural communities and worsening poverty and food insecurity in Ethiopia.
Commissioned by Forum for Social Studies (FSS), a non-profit organization, researchers have been conducted in the Amhara, Oromia, Southern and Tigray Regional States. Funded by the USAID, the research project claimed that landlessness requires thorough investigation where recent developments as FSS claim are showing significant problems and by extension crisis in some densely settled areas.
However, the government’s stance is that poverty rates are significantly dropping and landlessness or access to land is becoming moderate following the implementation of rural land registration and certification across the board.
The study dubbed “Land, Landlessness and Rural Poverty in Ethiopia” suggested that considerable number of rural communities is facing harsh realities coupled with demographics pressures, land degradations, the expansions of mega projects across the country.
Dessalegn Rahmato, senior project coordinator of FSS, who is one of the prominent figures analyzing land issues in the country, said that some 60 percent of the population subsists on less than one hectare of land. That according to Dessalegn is causing many youngsters to flee from native areas in search of livelihoods.
The increasing demand for lands by investors, the expansion of towns and cities, the development of infrastructures which include highways, railways, dams and the like have pressured rural communities to adhere tough times. Many who couldn’t have a means of living at home are migrating to foreign countries to end up in the hands of traffickers. “The landlessness in the country has made young farmers to face generational divide,” Dessalegn argued.
Associate Professor Tadesse Amsalu (PhD), who teaches at Bahir Dar University, pointed out in the study that was conducted in the Amhara Regional State that some 14 percent of the households in the region are found to be landless. Many farmers who don’t have access to land struggle to rent farms or try to sharecrops they have harvested with the landlords. More or less, similar stories hold true in the rest of the other regions.