Institut für Ernährungswirtschaft und Verbrauchslehre

Social capital, land tenure rights, and investment in soil-improving and conservation practices

Agriculture is one of the most important sectors in developing countries. It needs for a successful future facing the challenges of population growth, reduction in expansion possibilities and climate change to be productive and sustainable; hence outputs need to increase and at the same time natural resources need to be protected for future use. Yet in the past 40 years low agricultural yields and a slow growth of these have been observed in Africa. The sustainability of agricultural yields requires the maintenance of soil fertility. Soil inherits a resource base which when not replenished in the future risks of giving no return. 

Yet the farmer to invest in long-term practices needs to be endowed with diverse assets acting as preconditions, such as land tenure rights. However, the results for the effect of land tenure rights on investment in Africa are ambiguous and highlight the importance of context playing a role in investment decisions. Decision-making of the farmer is embedded in a social setting and might influence challenges and provide preconditions of action. Sustainable agricultural intensification requires a complex approach, for this capacity building of the farmer is crucial in that he is endowed with necessary knowledge and skills. 

Knowledge about the environment as a precondition of action sometimes does not exist. Search and information costs add to costs of investment. Investment decisions might be subject to collective efforts, indicating the importance of social networks in various terms. Yet the linkages between social networks and land tenure rights have rarely been studied, in addition neither how transaction costs are influenced in turn determining farmer behaviour. 

Therefore the main objective of the current study is to gain insight into assets of the farmer, i.e. social networks and land tenure rights and its interdependencies influencing investment in practices, leading to sustainable intensification of agriculture in order to derive suitable policy implications.


Beginn: 01.09.2009
Projektleitung: Prof. Dr. Awudu Abdulai
Bearbeitung: Daniela Lüth , MSc.