IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Who owns the land?: Perspectives from rural Ugandans and implications for land acquisitions


  • Bomuhangi, Allan
  • Doss, Cheryl
  • Meinzen-Dick, Ruth


Rapid growth of demand for agricultural land is putting pressure on property rights systems, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where customary tenure systems have provided secure land access. Patterns of gradual, endogenous change toward formalization are being challenged by rapid and large-scale demands from outsiders. Little attention has focused on the gender dimensions of this transformation. Based on a study of land tenure in Uganda, this paper analyzes how different ways of defining landownership—based on household reports, existence of ownership documents, and rights over the land—provide very different indications of the gendered patterns of landownership and rights. Although many households report that husbands and wives jointly own the land, women are less likely to be listed on ownership documents, especially titles, and women have fewer land rights. A simplistic focus on title to land misses much of the reality regarding land tenure and could especially have an adverse impact on women's land rights.

Suggested Citation

  • Bomuhangi, Allan & Doss, Cheryl & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth, 2011. "Who owns the land?: Perspectives from rural Ugandans and implications for land acquisitions," IFPRI discussion papers 1136, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1136

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carmen Diana Deere & Rosa Luz Durán & Merrilee Mardon & Tom Masterson, 2004. "Female Land Rights and Rural Household Incomes in Brazil, Paraguay and Peru," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2004-08, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    2. Carmen Diana Deere & Cheryl Doss, 2006. "The Gender Asset Gap: What Do We Know And Why Does It Matter?," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1-2), pages 1-50.
    3. Cheryl Doss, 2006. "The Effects of Intrahousehold Property Ownership on Expenditure Patterns in Ghana," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(1), pages 149-180, March.
    4. Behrman, Julia & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth & Quisumbing, Agnes, 2011. "The gender implications of large-scale land deals:," IFPRI discussion papers 1056, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela & Pradhan, Rajendra, 2002. "Legal pluralism and dynamic property rights:," CAPRi working papers 22, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Otsuka, Keijiro & Place, Frank, 2001. "Land tenure and natural resource management," Food policy statements 34, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. von Braun, Joachim & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela, 2009. ""Land grabbing" by foreign investors in developing countries: Risks and opportunities," Policy briefs 13, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela & van Koppen, Barbara & Behrman, Julia & Karelina, Zhenya & Akamandisa, Vincent & Hope, Lesley & Wielgosz, Ben, 2012. "Putting Gender on the Map: Methods for mapping gendered farm management systems in Sub-Saharan Africa," IFPRI discussion papers 1153, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Gottlieb, Charles & Grobovsek, Jan, 2015. "Communal land and agricultural productivity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86311, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item


    Gender; land acquisitions; Land tenure; landownership; Property rights;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1136. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.