Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Land Use Policy
Title The geography of Zambia’s customary land: Assessing the prospects for smallholder development
Volume 55
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 49-60
URL http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837715300041
This article utilizes available spatial data to quantify the amount of customary land in Zambia and to
examine the prospects for agricultural commercialization in those areas, in terms of population densities,
market access conditions, and agro-ecological suitability. We find that approximately 51–54 percent of
Zambia’s land remains under customary tenure and, by implication, available for smallholder utilization.
However, populations are clustered in 5 percent of the customary land with reasonably good market
access conditions. Good market access conditions are generally located in regions with high levels of
rainfall variability due to historical infrastructure investments. High density, market accessible regions
are witnessing a rapid increase in land commodification, land alienation, and declining fallow rates. Land
and economic development policies must be attentive to the changing dynamics in customary land areas
in order to ensure the future viability of the smallholder farming sector.

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