Land Access, Land Rental and Food Security: Evidence from Kenya
Constrained access to land is increasingly recognized as a problem impeding rural household welfare in densely populated areas of Africa. This study utilizes household and parcel level data from rural Kenya to explore the linkage between land access and food security. We find that a 10% increase in operated land size would increase household total food consumption per capita, cereal consumption per capita, non-cereal consumption, and home produced food consumption by 2.6%, 2.1%, 2.7% and 5.4%, respectively. We also find that land rental is the dominant mechanism that poor rural farmers use to access additional land for cultivation. However, the levels of long-term land investment and land productivity are significantly lower for rented parcels than for own parcels even after household fixed-effect and parcel level observed characteristics are controlled for. Furthermore, land rental markets do not allow farmers to fully adjust their operated land size to their desired level.
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