Land seizure and its impact on women’s rights

The following text is drawn from an article written by Kathambi Kinoti for AWID.

For several years now, Africa has been experiencing an increase in land seized and sold to foreign interests for commercial reasons, to the detriment of farmers, and more specifically of women.

In Africa, a billion people, i.e. 70% of the population, live off the land. Women not only cultivate the land, they harvest the crops and prepare most of the foodstuff for both household consumption and the local markets.

But women can only work the land through their husband, following a patriarchal system of landed property. Women work the land for the benefit of the family, but do not have any title deed.

According to Oxfam, in the course of the last 10 years, non-African societies and governments have acquired at least 227 billion hectares of land in Africa, to grow foodstuff or biofuel, or to extract minerals for international markets. The acquisitions are mainly done without the knowledge or informed consent of the affected communities.

The land grab threatens food security as well as access to water (also a woman’s task) and results in a loss of income. Further, it entails an even heavier workload for women. This to fill the needs of energy of Europe, among other!

The complete original document is available upon request to Caroline Roger at: