Worrying levels of food insecurity show that there is still much to do in tenancy reforms
Some types of property titles and other tenure reforms in communities that live in forests in Indonesia, Uganda and Peru have usually improved people's lives, but food insecurity remains a widespread problem, a new study notes. The research, presented in a new InfoBrief, was part of the Global Comparative Study on Forest Land Tenure Reforms of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
The researchers divided into three groups the different types of regimes where the study was conducted: forest lands owned by Indigenous Peoples (IP) and local communities; designated forest lands for IPs and local communities or state lands; and customary or informal lands. They conducted surveys in 55 communities in three countries: 22 in Peru, 16 in Uganda and 17 in Indonesia. A total of 2075 household surveys and 164 focus groups with men and women were conducted separately, in addition to 136 interviews of key informants to village leaders. The results showed that, in terms of livelihoods, making some reform is almost always better than not doing any.
However, even in communities with some form of formal land tenure, researchers found surprisingly high levels of food insecurity. Between 38% and 57% of the people interviewed living in the sites of the main reforms had problems feeding their families for part of the year, compared to 41% - 84% of customary tenure sites. In addition, although many people observed improvements and others no change, between 20% and 33% reported declines in agricultural income since the reforms began.
"I think it's an incredibly high percentage," says Larson. "Obviously, these are rural communities and often marginalized groups, but it is surprising that so many people experience some kind of food insecurity during the year."
This issue has been poorly prioritized in discussions and research on land tenure, despite being an important issue. “Food insecurity is a huge problem. It has the potential to undermine the security of people's tenure, their future and their ability to remain on their land in the long term, ”says Larson. The researcher adds that when people cannot feed their families, they often send young people outside the community to look for work.
“That does not create a safe community or self-determination or long-term cultural survival. The ability of communities to keep their cultures and livelihoods prosperous in the future will be affected if livelihood issues are not addressed. ”